Eugene Cho

world aids day – who cares?

world-aids-day

Today is World AIDS Day. We must care. Every one of us…we need to take a step closer to learning, growing, giving, shouting, singing…each of us playing a part.

You can learn more via the ODW blog about World AIDS Day: Turning Grief into Action.

Do you have any good resources to share with others? Words of encouragement, advice, etc? How are you taking a step closer towards caring & acting?

One of the best resources to learn more about the HIV/AIDS crisis is UNAIDS. And from that site:

  • Approximately 33.4 people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2008.
  • 2.7 new people infected with HIV in 2008.
  • More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.
  • Africa has over 14 million AIDS orphans.
  • At the end of 2008, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide
  • In developing and transitional countries, 9.5 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 4 million (42%) are receiving the drugs.
  • Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

And of course, we need to be reminded that this isn’t just a global issue but a local and national issue as well:

Since the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic well over half a million people have died of AIDS in America1 – the equivalent of the entire population of Las Vegas. There are currently more than one million people living with HIV and AIDS in America and around a fifth of these are unaware of their infection,2 posing a high risk of onward transmission.

America’s response to the AIDS epidemic has produced mixed results. HIV prevention efforts have not always been successful and every year approximately 56,000 Americans are infected with HIV.

Couple other resources to check out: World Vision AIDS Experience | Creatify Interactive Global Map.

One Day’s Wages also cares and is doing its part ot act. While none of our current partnerships at ODW are solely focused on the issue of HIV/AIDS, each of their work impacts the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, or those at high risk of contracting it.

  • Charity: Water‘s clean water well benefit many families and individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.
  • HEAL Africa cares for women who’ve contracted HIV/AIDS through rape.
  • Not for Sale aims to prevent HIV/AIDS through rescuing girls who are in danger of being trafficked into brohtels.

A prayer for today and the days ahead:

God our loving Father, your son Jesus chose to be vulnerable in order to understand and identify himself with us. We are wounded in many ways and we implore you to heal us and make us healers with you, to help heal our broken world.

All: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the leaders of the nations and for all faith leaders. Given them courage and strength to take a lead in working to prevent the further spread of HIV and to care for those affected.
(Especially we pray for….)

All: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for young people, in their vitality and idealism. Bless them with good friends to help them accept themselves in all their vulnerability and challenge them with high ideals.
(Especially we pray for….)

All: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are sick and in pain, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS; may they experience your love through each one of us; may they find meaning and purpose in their lives and inspire others who suffer. (Especially we pray for ….)

All: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all those who work for development and justice; may they not be discouraged as they struggle to create a healthier world.
(Especially we pray for ….)

All: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we thank you that you have made all of us in your own image and likeness. Help us to be sensitive to one another and to build healthy and caring communities in your world. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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