Thank you, Bono.
We are now in the place in our culture, specifically the part of our culture that identifies itself with Jesus, where we can talk openly and lovingly about AIDS. Where we can, with compassion, come alongside those whom HIV is claiming. Where we can, with great love, seek to stem the assault of the greatest pandemic the globe has ever seen. By and large, the church is a latecomer to the discussion. And scoff as you might, we can be thankful to Bono for bringing it to the forefront.
Here’s how our church, which is only one in 400,000 churches in America, is trying to play a role:
Tonight, we are hosting an AIDS Awareness Forum with World Vision President Rich Stearns. We are inviting our church and community in, seeking to increase our understanding, as well as dialogue practical ways to respond.
Landing near World AIDS day, we are partnering with World Vision to host their award-winning interactive exhibit called Experience AIDS at Overlake December 12-15th. Our goal is to see 4000 folks be impacted by that tactile learning experience. The Mayor of Redmond has declared these dates AIDS Week in Redmond, Washington, so get on it, people.
We are seeking to strengthen existing partners on the field, and to build new ones as well. Right now we have a team in Kenya, serving and strengthening the orphanages and schools of Christian Ministries in Africa, specifically built for AIDS orphans. A team is preparing to head out in December (led by my wife) to the ministry of Itemba Letu in South Africa, which is many things…an AIDS orphanage, a breast-milk bank to feed their infants non-contaminated breast milk, and an extensive education club that seeks to come around grade-school students and teach them of their intrinsic worth as children of God. Living Hope is another ministry in South Africa that Pastor Josh led a team to this summer. We are developing ministry partners in Thailand and India to work with this issue in places where the problem is rapidly becoming toxic.
Through hosting the AIDS Experience, and through our specific challenge with our upcoming Christmas Eve Offering, we want to give over $100K to AIDS relief. We call this initiative: Advent Conspiracy. Just one church, one drop in the bucket, one bucket in the ocean, but it’s an ocean filled with love.
We can’t do everything. None of us can.
But each of us can do something. Conspire with us.