Eugene Cho

world aids day: we must care and act

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.

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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These are crazy, turbulent times. Fight the good fight. Run the race set before us.

But we also need you for the long haul. Don't burn out. Discipleship and justice work is a marathon. Learn to take care of yourself. Don't play the victim. It's far too tempting to blame others. Be rooted in prayer, Scripture, and community. It's okay to pause, critical to rest and retreat, and godly to practice Sabbath.

#NoteToSelf Everyone loves the idea of  reconciliation...until it involves truthtelling, confessing, repenting, dismantling, forgiving, and peacemaking. Charlottesville. So heartbreaking and infuriating. We weep and mourn over the hatred in the hearts of these white nationalists. We weep and mourn but we can't be defeated.

As I stare at this photo that's making its round on the internet, I'm reminded of the utter importance of showing up. I'm grateful for the news media, law enforcement, clergy, and peaceful protesters that are currently there to report, protect, pray, and protest.

And this is an invitation to us. May we not be mere bystanders. May we keep pressing forward. Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Commit to truth-telling, justice, reconciliation, peacemaking. Follow the ways of Christ. Every day. And it's important to note that we don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. In fact, it's more important that we do this exactly where we're at. May we live out the call to reconciliation in our churches, workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, and around our dining tables. Lord, may it be so... We don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. We have to do this wherever were called to be.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. /// Thanks to those who let me know that the photo wasn't actually from today but rather from last month in Charlottesville. - https://www.facebook.com/FrankSomervilleKTVU/posts/1551137301616258:0 Grateful for a spontaneous, last minute trip with Minhee to my old stomping grounds - San Francisco. 48 hours of visiting this special city that I called home for so many years.

Pic 1: Went to the Cliff House restaurant where we got engaged about 21 years ago to make out. Oops, sorry, I meant...to reflect on God's faithfulness over these many years.

Pic 2: Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge because it's such an iconic place - with some of the most incredible views.

Pic 3: Enjoyed a glass of some Cabernet Sauvignon and pretended to be wine connoisseurs at a vineyard.

Pic 4: Had lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Sam Tung, which boasts some of the best chicken in the country. And of course, we ate at In-n-out.

Pic 5: And finally, celebrated with the good folks at @thefreedomstory where @onedayswages received their annual Freedom Award. What an honor.

Grateful. Thankful for this sabbatical. Breathe.

Show yourself some grace.

We can't do everything for everyone in every situation. Do what you can and do it with a joyful heart.

Amen A family that eats sushi together stays together.

Seriously, I don't ever remember eating so much as a teenager but these kids eat and eat and eat. Perhaps, the reason why this kid is pushing 6 feet tall. Grateful for a special treat with the family at @JaponessaSeattle.

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