So . . .
I was totally opposed to facebook for the longest time, especially because of the riskiness I encountered with myspace. One of the students at church set up a group on facebook for our youth group and I decided to jump on. They love the fact that I am now telling this story.
Derek was the small group Bible study leader on the floor which I served as an RA at Messiah College. We were great friends. He graduated a year early and was really smart. I’ve been trying to get a hold of him since we last saw each other in August of ’08. Finding a guy with the last name of Armstrong is not easy on google or yahoo.
Around the same time I first began facebook I got a sense that we need to do something to specifically help those with AIDS in Africa. I shared for weeks on the reality of AIDS in Africa and how we as Christians need to do something for them tangibly and spiritually. We prayed and waited. I told the students we would fast from media instead of food for 30 days instead of hours and it’s been interesting (I say that because I am journaling about it now). But I told them to think and pray on it, that it wasn’t quite time to riase funds yet.
The time to start the fast was nearing and I was going to explain it the next Wednesday only to resort to giving the funds to WorldVision (they do a great job!). So along comes facebook 6 months after I first log on and I get invited to be Derek’s friend by way of a picture of him with a cheetah! Crazy! The pic was on my phone and I showed my girls, but didn’t think much of it other than to quickly email him and tell him what I’ve been up to for the last 8 years (3 kids and the like!).
He writes back saying this:
“I am in Ethiopia….been here since last January doing some missions work with Mission to the World, the Presbyterian missions arm….I work with a care and treatment project for those families with HIV/AIDS….taking care of about 1200 people right now in the capital. . . here I am, doing on the ground public health and sharing Christ’s unbelievable love with those around me….I am just privileged to be here! Each day is full, but definitely rewarding…We host medical teams from the states, and do holistic care for these families…I also do some labwork (I have gotten really involved with tuberculosis, that is what I worked with while at the state health dept. lab/epidemiology dept.)”
I was blown away. It was like things clicked. I get chills just writing it. God knew why we waited. Of course the economy is in shambles right now so it’s a bit more difficult to raise money, but it’s been powerful to witness His timing and Sovereignty in this. I hope the students recognize the amazingness as well. God is in charge. And what’s more, He care about people – especially the least of these.
If you’d like to help Derek, go to his site . . . he’ll only be there until late winter ’09.