"HE IS ALMOST TWELVE.
LOVES SOCCER...AND PIZZA.
WANTS TO BE A BIOLOGIST...IF HE LIVES LONG ENOUGH.
HE IS POSITIVE!
"SHE JUST GOT HER BRACES OFF.
HAS HAD THREE CRUSHES...SO FAR THIS YEAR.
IS ALREADY THINKING ABOUT COLLEGE...
IF SHE MAKES IT.
SHE IS POSITIVE!
Reach Ministries of Tacoma is the focus of our services this week at Calvary. REACH is an organization that doesn't just undestand the stigma, pain, fear and dispair that assaults a child, who, through no fault of their own, have contracted HIV/AIDS, it seeks to do something about it.
Providing opportunities to experience life as children and to show the unquenchable, unconditional love of God, REACH touches the life to these children and their families through advocacy, mentoring, camps and high school programs.
The worldwide pandemic of HIV/AIDS is not, in contrast to common misperception, exclusive to homosexuals, intravenous drug users or people in Africa. It is a reality that affects many - often innocent children and youth. The effects of the disease and its associated life-threatening illnesses are made worse by the isolation, loneliness, fear and stigma they experience.
REACH seeks to network and mobilize medical professionals, individuals, and groups to donate their time and resources to serve those in need in the name of Jesus.
One day, when Jesus was just beginning his public ministry, a man with leproosy came along and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." (Luke 5:12ff) Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. You have to understand, leprosy was the first century equivalent of HIV/AIDS in many ways. Lepers were considered unclean. People feared and ostracized them, fearing they too might contract the disease by touch or association. Lepers, it was believed, were being punished for sin. For Jesus to reach out in love, compassion, grace and power to touch and cleanse the leper was radical. No conditions. No prerequisites. No judgment. No stigma.
HIV/AIDS victims are similarly ostracized, judged and feared. Yet so many have been stricken with this disease through no fault or act of their own. An infected partner or parent, a contaminated transfusion needle, or some other cause has left children in modern day leper camps as orphans or victims.
REACH offers the touch of Jesus. REACH offers Christians the opportunity to be the tangible, visible expression of Christ's love. Or, as Mother Teresa once said, "to be a small pencil in the hand of God writing a love letter to the world."
Last fall, I had the chance to stand surrounded by over 100 children in a small village outside Lusaka Zambia. Dirty hands and faces reached out to touch and to be touched. Over half these children were either single (one parent) or double (both parent) orphans due to HIV/AIDS. No doubt, some of them were infected as well. My heart was broken to see how starved for love and for touch these kids were.
The reality is that we don't need to go overseas in order to positively (pardon the pun) affect the life of a child who is, in some way, a victim of HIV/AIDS. There are opportunities for that love, that compassion, that grace to be shown here in our own backyard.
James says, "religion that God finds acceptable and pur is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." REACH MINISTRIES is practicing religion that is pure and acceptable to God. We can partner with them by showing the love, hope and courage that comes from knowing and following Christ.