The Importance of Parents

This morning’s post comes to us from CARE for AIDS African Operations Director, Ryan Arnold. 

I’m sitting in the airport in Pensacola, about to board my first of three flights which will put me back in Nairobi Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, EST). There are many thoughts going through my head as I prepare to go back. One of them is a reflection of my time spent in the Florida Panhandle the past two weeks: “I can’t wait to get back to Africa and get out of this heat and humidity!” But, seriously.

On a more serious note, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the past few weeks States-side. This morning, before my Dad drove me to the airport, and after a hearty “farewell America” breakfast that involved no less than five pieces of bacon on my plate, my family spent a few moments in prayer over me.

I sat at the kitchen counter with my sister, grandmother, and parents praying over me. In that moment, I was immensely grateful for my family, and especially my parents. As they stood behind me, hands on my shoulders, I thought about what a blessing it is to have these godly, loving parents behind me. It is strange to think about how I have lived long enough to see my parents grow, but I was thinking this morning about how I have. My parents have continued to grow in wisdom, in love and faith for God, and in love for people. It started when they first decided to adopt and my brother Jonathan came into our lives, and it has continued up until now. These past two weeks at my parents house, I have seen them in action in their new ministry in Pensacola where they are, per usual, making their home and our family a place where any one feels welcome and everyone has a place around the kitchen table for as long as they need it or want it. I have the privilege of coming from a big family.

My parents only gave birth to three children, which is very practical, but through adoption, they added four more, and they have opened their hearts and their home to countless others who have become family. This is the perfect picture of how God welcomes us all into His family. I am extremely grateful for the love and wisdom I have received and still receive from my parents, and for the example they give of how to live out our faith: faith expressing itself in love.

As I reflect on this, I remember the mission of CARE for AIDS, to which I am returning. We are in the business of orphan prevention. We are keeping parents alive so they can be to their children what mine have been to me – sources of support and love, and examples of faith and right-living. Keeping these parents alive means that children are being raised in a way that will break the cycles of disease and poverty in their families. Because of my parents, I am returning to this work with a sense of awe, remembering how important parents are in the lives of children – even when their children become adults and move to other countries.

 

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Nancy and Duncan

This morning’s post come to us from Donor Engagement Officer, Bryan Farrar.

Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. – Psalm 119:116

“God sustains me.” Nancy says, sitting on the bed of her cramped one room apartment, her husband sleeping just behind her, “Without Him, I would not be alive”. A simple, yet powerful statement that is the core of the CARE for AIDS program.

Three years ago, Nancy and her husband Duncan came to Kayole from rural western Kenya, hopeful for a better life. They were in their mid-twenties, young and newly married. He had secured a job roofing houses, she found work washing clothes. They set off to start their new life together, but things didn’t go as planned.

Soon after she moved to Kayole, she began to get sick more and more often. She ended up in the hospital, where the doctors tested her for HIV, and she found out she tested positive. Unsure of how she contracted HIV, Nancy struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide. She worries what will happen to her children if her health fails. The ARV medicine have made her sick, and her work is hard on her body. Their dreams of a better, more secure life have been seemingly crushed.

But God continues to sustain Nancy. Though she’s only in the beginning of the CARE for AIDS program, things are getting a little better. Her health is improving because she’s learning about the proper nutrition to take with her medication, and she enjoys her one on one time at the church with James, the spiritual counselor at the CFA center in Kayole. In short, her ambitions are being revived. She is excited to see her 5 and 7 year old children get an education, and dreams of opening a childcare center in Kayole to help other working families in the neighborhood.

We’re looking forward to hearing how Nancy’s life changes as a result of the medical and empowerment seminars she’s a part of through CFA, and how she begins to create a better future for her children over the coming years. Pray with us for her and her classmates in Kayole.

 

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Carry Them

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the story of the friends who lowered the paralyzed man through the roof of a home where Jesus was preaching. In Mark 2 we hear the account;

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'”

The passage goes to to say that Jesus then healed the man’s physical ailments, and he was able to pick up his mat and walk home. The thing I love most about this passage is the audacity of the paralyzed man’s friends. Not only did they carry him to Jesus, but they made a way when there was no other way for their friend to be brought before the Lord. And when Jesus heals him, he says it was because of their faith- the collective faith, not just the faith of one man.

This passage speaks volumes to me about the importance of community- especially when I think about our clients in the CARE for AIDS program. So many of our clients find themselves in positions where there seems to be no way forward. Death is before them and, alone, they lose hope. But then a community of other men and women, including CARE for AIDS staff staff and fellow clients, surround them and help carry them to the feet of Jesus.

Our hope at CARE for AIDS, above all else, is to empower communities to carry their friends to Jesus when there seems like no other way. Join our team this week in praying for community at each of our 27 centers throughout Kenya, that every client and future client would be surrounded by a community that would not only point them toward Jesus, but would find a way to carry them to be healed at the feet of the Lord.

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