I had a chance to speak at Eastpoint Church in Spokane Valley, WA for World AIDS Day -- I tried to address what I believe are the underlying issues that keep people in the USA from being concerned about HIV/AIDS and especially attitudes in the Church. Eastpoint did an awesome job at hosting, including their drama team! So grateful to Pastor Kurt Bubna and the staff and also to Alissa Clary who is a member at Eastpoint but also has been an Assistant and Friend to me in the Ministry!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
This was day two of the conferences. Established to help people break out of stigma and to be able to speak boldly about their diagnosis and also their faith in God, if they choose to. The day starts with people at tables of four to six. Each person takes 5 minutes telling their story. We then move to "charting it out" and each person takes a piece of Art Paper and graphs out a timeline -- from birth to present. They use colored pens, pencils, paint, crayons, pictures from magazines, newspapers, stickers and whatever else they choose to express there story. They then tell their story to the table again.
After lunch we transfer from the Chart to paper -- and "Write It Out" moving them to a more formal presentation to the table. Afterwards we have a time of prayer and worship for "His healing & Your story" for God to come and touch the hearts of those that are working through these things. This is usually a powerful time of people being set free from shame and guilt and many things.
The last session is Called Stand & Deliver -- where in each person has the opportunity to come up front after the chairs are placed Theatre Style -- and to share their story with the whole room. This is a thrilling time as people work through the nerves -- of which we openly acknowledge as being "normal" -- and where most people thought 2 or 3 might do it -- we had a whopping 26 out of 48 -- and only because we ran out of time. Some shared with great boldness others with laughter and some with tears. You could see that many of these people had never shared this information with anyone out loud. The reality that they were doing it was emotional for some.
I was thrilled with the results -- when the day was over -- they were changed. You could see it on their faces . . .they were going out in the world Different.
I praise God yet again for taking what was a terrible situation in my own life and turning it around to be used for others in the rest of the world.
Enjoy the photos . . .
I had the privilege of partnering with Nireekshana, yet again, to conduct some conferences for those living with HIV/AIDS. I write in greater detail down a couple posts -- but we had two-day back to back conferences . . .Diagnosis to Hope and Telling Your Story. So thankful to Dr. Sujai & Dr. Lavanya, and to all those that helped make this possible. Sanpath, Mary, Dr. Benjamin, Sandeep, Kiran & Deva, Helen and the counselors and visitors. Especially for the prayer and sacrifice of time and energy to make this possible. We had a team of 23 people come down by bus from Visakaputnam which is an overnight journey -- and so glad they came! Please scroll down to see the rest of the D2H pics.
First of a two-day set of conferences . . . I don't know where to start. God blessed all of our efforts and we saw people changed from when they came in. There was worship, and teaching and testimonies -- we had times of laughter and times of sadness -- but mostly the goal was to let people know, "You are NOT your diagnosis, You are who the Word of God says you are!" "Fearfully and Wonderfully made." There were six sessions that were set up after the stages I went through in my own life dealing with HIV/AIDS, Accepting the Facts, Applying Faith, Managing Your Bodies, Positive Communication, Managing Your Spiritual Health & Life In Christ. We even had a time of communion for those who wanted to participate and then a time of prayer for all.
There were some challenging parts of the day as people reflected on choices in their lives and then there were times of Joy as we looked at Gods love and how he meets us at the Cross with the power of forgiveness.
So thankful to everyone who helped make the day possible from setup, translating, organizing, prayer, counseling, hospitality and just being present. Here are a few shots of the day . . .
Here are a few different shots. Some are of a couple little girls around JSK and another shot with their mom. There is a shot of a woman who is a patient at JSK who stopped on the street as we passed by and another shot of a very tired and poor woman . . . smiles and sadness line the streets.