TELLING YOUR STORY
Telling Your Story is the 2nd in a trilogy of programs that were created to help those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. 1) Diagnosis to Discipleship, 2) Telling Your Story, 3) Returning to Life. These all came out of the phases that I have walked through as someone living with AIDS and also were developed in part with my colleagues Andi & Sheeba Eicher of Jeevan Sahara Kendra in India.
Telling Your Story was specifically designed to address the issues surrounding Stigma in peoples lives and in the lives of their communities. To help get people in touch with their own personal stories and also to be able to express God's story in their lives. Revelation 12:11 states, "They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony." This lets me know that there is power in the story of Jesus' work in our lives and when we tell it we are strengthened and others can be touched and drawn to Him as well. We use creativity and art to help draw out peoples personal expression and journey and also there is quite a bit of time to share their story - first with the four people in their group spontaneously, then after charting out a timeline using Art to express and then writing out their story and sharing more detail and finally standing in front of everyone and delivering in front of a microphone. Most people are very scared about talking in front of others -- but I share some of the tools that have helped me both when I was in the Theatre and also as a speaker myself. It was and is thrilling to see these individuals step up in front of the group and get past their fears and speak with honesty and boldness and sometimes through tears and then to be applauded by their peers.
This year almost every person made it to the front and spoke their story.
There is a section in the program called "His healing & Your Story" it is a time set aside for ministry -- where we allow the Holy Spirit to come and touch people in their places of hurt or regret or even a time to confess their sins and ask the Lord to bring cleansing in their hearts and lives. It is a powerful time where many individuals experienced a real liberty as the counselors helped walk them through these delicate places.
Pastor Praise Nkosi came from Johannesburg to translate for me and we worked in Conjunction with Oasis Church, where Emma who leads up their support group and oversees the Seed of Hope as well. Along with Zama who facilitates the Seed of Hope Support group. We finished the night off with a sit down meal for them, which was beautifully decorated by Karen and then they were each given a gift of a "God-Tag" which is a scripture on metal on a chain and a nice leather journal and a pen so that they could continue to record their story.
It is such an honor to walk with those who are taking this very brave journey in this country -- and to be able to see the Lord show up in such personal and powerful ways.
I feel like this trip has been worth every ounce of struggle I might have gone through in the last year -- just to see these individuals walking in a new way -- priceless!