From Geoffrey to you: Let me take my foot out of my mouth! Aids the gay mans curse part II

Thursday may 21, 2009

Let me take my foot out of my mouth… AIDS: The Gay Mans Curse Part II

I got a few interesting responses to yesterday’s posting. One of them really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to apologize to you guys. The response read: “I am tired of hearing Americans don’t do enough. I guess I am just tired of getting slammed by both Christians and non-Christians to the point that I want to label myself “other” so I am not condemned by both sides.” This person gives their time and resources to worthy causes. I know your hearts and I know the support you have show for me as I have ventured not only to Africa, but through my journeys and works throughout America for the past few years of my life. I have served hand in hand and bumped elbows on the front lines with most of you at one point or another. I have also witnessed the overwhelming generosity and compassion that you feel towards others not only in your charitable giving but in your day to day lives. I do, in fact, realize that in one way or another I am preaching to the choir and asking people to take a stand who have not only taken a stand prior to my trip but have taken prisoners and covered ground. I apologize if that was how you felt after reading my last message.

I realize that many of you spend your time, money, and talents giving back to those who have nothing. In writing these messages my intention isn’t to keep on sucking dry the generous wells that have already given above and beyond. My intention is to prod those sitting in the pews on Sunday morning that are merely taking up space and warming a pew into putting their faith into action. Based on what I have read in the bible and learned in my short life, I believe that God doesn’t need complacent follows who’s world revolves around them, I believe God has called us to get out of the pews and to reach out to the have-nots and nothings. I couldn’t agree more with that response.

I did really well in school. Not to toot my own horn, toot toot, but I graduated high school with above a 4.0 grade point average. I may have excelled in my studies but I can almost assure you that most of my instructors would have preferred to not have me in their class. The instructor would take a topic and explain it for an hour even though I got it after the first five minutes. It was torture for me to hear someone rant on about something I already know. I am sure that those of you who tithe know what I am talking about whenever your church does a sermon on money.

I have met some of the most incredible and outstanding givers in my life. I have met people who have dedicated their lives towards a good cause. I have met people that have invested everything they had into a cause they believed in. I have served with people who were financially burdened but were still willing to contribute towards a cause. I have met people who have served food to the homeless even though that required them to wake up before the butt crack of dawn and drive over an hour every Sunday morning in order to be on time. I have met people who spend their Friday nights working with drug addicts. I have met people who literally got a credit card just to help others financially. I have met people who have taken their shoes off and given them to homeless people. God has blessed me with relationships with people who are the definition of benevolence, people who inspire me and open my eyes to areas in my life that need changing. The sad thing is that they are the few.

If you are reading my words and find yourself saying, “I am tired of hearing Americans don’t do enough. I guess I am just tired of getting slammed by both Christians and non-Christians to the point that I want to label myself “other” so I am not condemned by both sides.” That is because you have given and given and given and get tired of people telling you to give. It is because you consider others better than yourself and are moved enough to give. May God bless you. Based on my experience in the six different churches I have spent time serving in, 5% of the people always seem to do 95% of the work. The church is supported through volunteer work, finances, and resources by a very low percentage of the congregation. I have surrounded myself by benevolent givers and people that I strive to be like, so I realize that you excel in giving and caring for other people. The reason I wrote my last message was because only 3% of Evangelical Christians are willing to contribute anything towards children orphaned by AIDS.

3% are doing the work that the entire church should be doing. 3% are giving their time, resources, and money towards this cause. 3% are carrying the burden that every member of every church in America should be carrying. It reminds me of when I was in high school working on a group project. Many people slacked off and didn’t fulfill their duties and I ended up picking up the slack. Likewise, 3% of those proudly professing to be followers of Christ are picking up the slack and putting in the extra hours.

I know most of you are tired of hearing people talk about starving children in Africa. Tired of feeling immense guilt to the point of giving more money in addition to your generous donations. I know so many of you are tired of seeing the commercials late at night and the pictures at the check out stand in the super market, because you already give and contribute. All I have to say is God bless you and your willingness to give to a cause like this, people like you are truly making a difference and I am sorry that you have to hear the lecture from the teacher for an hour even though you got it after the first five minutes. I understand your annoyance with people like me constantly talking about how Christians and people aren’t doing enough, but I hope you understand why philanthropic workers throughout the world are incessantly asking for help.

Do any of you love someone? Is there anyone that you would give anything to protect? A child? Parent? Or Friend? Is there anyone that you would, without hesitation, lay down your life in order to save? Now imagine that your child, parent, friend and loved one are suffering. Imagine that they are deprived of food, education, medical treatment. Imagine that they are kidnapped, raped by an HIV positive man. Imagine they are forced into sexual slavery. Imagine they are beaten and forced to kill innocent children. What would you say if that were your loved one? If you watched your love one suffer, be beaten, abused, molested, taken advantage of and wither away day by day. What if there was nothing you could about it, what if you have given every penny and ounce of time you had left but you could do nothing about it. What if your neighbor had more than enough to end the suffering and to give your loved one the tools to resources to get out of the situation? Would you ask them for help? What if they ignored you? Would you ask them again? How many times would you ask? How much would you try to open their eyes to the fact that your loved one is dying a slow and painful death and they can help?

Over the past three months these people have touched my heart and I can honestly say that I love them. As I see some of the hardships that my new friends are facing, I try with everything I have to help end their suffering. I have only been here for three months and yet I have this overwhelming amount of love and compassion and immeasurable amounts of aspiration to help. I can now understand why the men and women who have dedicated their entire lives to helping AIDS orphans in Kenya, or children warriors in Uganda, or rape victims in Rwanda use everything they have to try to help them; they love them. The reason they run the late night commercials, the reason they have jars at the end of the check out stand in grocery stores, the reason that I rant on about how we need to help is because the people they love and I love are unjustly suffering and we hold in our hands the power to end it and to make a difference. What measures would you take in order to help the person you love the most? Now you understand why people talk so much about giving towards the AIDS epidemic, because the people they love most in life are suffering and, alone, there is nothing they can do about it.

The reason that I wrote my last message was because the people I love are suffering unjustly and alone I can do nothing and without resources Tumaini can do nothing about it but in the hands of my home land lay the tools and resources to touch change the gloomy future of them. I want to tell you about some of the responses I have gotten when trying to attain the resources to make this trip.

I had people tell me I shouldn’t go because it is pointless. Some people said that AIDS is God’s wrath on homosexuals. Others said that Africa has nothing to do with me and it is their problem not mine. Many people didn’t see the point in my coming here. The response I received in coming to Africa is very similar to the response of many people in regards to my running a homeless ministry. It is their fault that they are in that situation. I am wasting my time. There are too many people to make a difference. They want to be homeless. They are lazy. There is a stigma and negative connotation when AIDS or homelessness is mentioned in a conversation. The reason why this stigma occurs and why I received such “encouraging” responses, is because many Americans have calloused and numb hearts.

We have seen so many photos to half clothes starving children that they have lost their impact. We have heard so many statistics that we have forgotten that behind each number is a living breathing person. We have seen so many Oprah specials that we figure someone else is fixing the problem. Our hearts have grown cold, hardened, calloused and numb towards this epidemic. I will continue to write and push people to take action, not to guilt the benevolent into giving more, but to somehow break past the cold heart that has become hard, calloused and numb over time and reveal the heart of compassion we were born with. I am going to continue to push forward because in our hands are the tools and resources to ease the unjust suffering of those whom I love and care for.

We are always more than willing to point the finger and blame someone else for suffering and refuse to help. Not once can I ever recall Jesus asking someone how they became ill, blind, crippled or mute he simply used the power he had been entrusted with and healed them. If children are suffering because of a corrupt government, homosexuality, drug addiction or if it was from their own doing does it really even matter? I would think that what matters more is the fact that we can help but don’t. Remember the story of Lazarus from the bible? We know what happened to the rich man who had the power and resources to help but refused. Instead of making an excuse, those who can help and have refused to so far should step up.

I heard in a sermon by Mike Erie that we can potentially end world poverty. The U.N. estimates that about 86 billion U.S. dollars would provide water, medical attention, food and sanitation to the poorest of the poor in our world. If every Christian in the U.S. tithed ten percent (the amount the bible commands us to give) there would be an extra 87 billion U.S. dollars working towards the kingdom of God. The reason I wrote my last message and will continue to urge Christians to give isn’t to further burden the 3%, but is to be a catalyst to the remaining 97%… not to be cliché, but if everyone did their part this world would literally be a better place.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Carro’s recovery, she seems to be doing well
A good friend named Janet is blind, but there is a tiny chance that she may get some of her eye sight back
Medical Clinic, getting the word out and doing the last finishing touches
Funds for a generator
One more week until Stacy gets her wheelchair, pray it all goes well

I have two friends that love to argue about nothing. Today the girl was asking the guy for ten shillings which is like fifteen cents. He had already given her twenty five shillings and said he wouldn’t give her anymore. She started yelling at him and told him that Satan would burn him in hell. She said God would ask him why he didn’t give her ten shillings and then send him to hell. Then they both started trying to persuade me about how they were right and the other was wrong… I almost peed my pants from laughing so much
I ran today for the first time since I came here… I think I ran for about ten minutes up this hill and then I got the worst shin splints ever… they are still throbbing… I did feel like Forest Gump though
I set up my laptop to play a movie for my friend and left for a while… when I was gone he had hit a button and closed it on accident…. He just looked at me and told me he didn’t know what he had done
Apparently there are bull fights in Kenya.
My friend told me that when he was a kid him and his friends used to run up and smack the bull on the butt for fun… he did it one time and got rammed by the bull
Sometimes this whole not being able to speak Swahili thing gets old… everyday there is some sort of communication error somewhere
I went to a mansion yesterday…. You could fit five of my houses in it
You know how gasoline looks? How it has really crazy looking colors that change. I saw birds that have those colors…
There is a crazy woman in town that comes up to me everyday asking for money. Everyday she says something different…it cracks me up
Today was a sad day… ran out of M&Ms

Bottle cap… the kids here try to get me to say it cause I say it funny

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