THE GEESE ARE BACK .... Seasons of life and HIV AIDS
Time for holiday thoughts and watching the Geese enjoy the water again. Just like clockwork the birds know the seasons and I am hoping that as humans we can do that too and know the seasons of our hearts and reach out to others in the process!
As I try to listen to the SEASONS of my heart and learn from the geese about their sense of flying through here each year as they migrate .. they gather in community *see the pic.. they also swim alone sometimes and in small groups sometimes and in a row sometimes.. they make lots of noise sometimes -- and renew themselves with looking for food, water, swimming and flying. I am guessing they must know instinctively how to fly in their V's.
By December and January many geese will be coming through Grand Island as we are the Great American flyway here in Central Nebraska --- then the Sandill cranes come again in March to eat, dance and mate which is a PHENOMENON and ritual that has been done for eons. They almost look prehistoric as they flap their wings dancing.
Time to think about fall turning into winter, holiday plans and World AIDS Day coming Dec 1 as a new journey in my life this past year .. rather accidentally really! WE had an AIDS awareness weekend with Bishop Fritz and Etta Mae Mutti three years ago (quite accidential too) and it seems that things just keep "happening" ever since -- turning into advocacy!
I head to a volunteer dinner tonight for NAP Kearney (NE AID Project) (http://www.nap.org/ ). This whole year has been a new kind of journey and goose hunt at times, angst at times, ultimate frustration at times and then break throughs with new folks, new connections, INFO and communication to find ways to provide funds for emergency funds at NAP kearney in our area.
In this search I have met many caring and good, passionate people along the way! I have also fallen into leading the new NE UMC HIV AIDS task force since early sept after getting news the SPECIAL SUNDAY Dec 6 offering was approved end of August! so we have made progress in a few mos as a task force and in one year of advocacy by some of us at TUMC!
So we have a NE UMC HIV AIDS Task now this fall and we have created a grant for local churches and groups to form coalitions with groups like NAP Kearney ( http://www.nap.org/ )
We have gathered twice for meetings this fall -- and do our most immediate goals.. mainly our task will be to disperse funds from offerings in December now! Churches apply for grants due each nov 1 - called the Working for an AIDS - FREE world GRANT --
25 % of all offerings will stay in NE now for the first time in an account for NE local AIDS projects, hence the year of requests, petitions, emails, questions, new information, new friends, new conversations, advocacy, justice and new awareness of those battling HIV AIDS in NE and around the world.
Also Dec 6 has been approved now as a Special Offering Sunday in NE UM churches for taking the UM Global AIDS fund ( http://www.umglobalaidsfund.org/ ) for more info! I am excited to say the least!
We are working to see if this can continue beyond this Dec 6 through requests we have made again. We will know on that late January!
And free offering envelopes for this special offering in the whole UMC are available now through cokesbury publishing and they are FREE; last year we made our own envelopes and they must have heard this WISH from others too as it is a reality now!
Our World AIDS Day Task force has been planning for Dec 6 with Baskets of LOVE silent auction, Mini Benefit Concert, Light for the journey Service, Hearts of HOPE quilt, Cards of LOVE for alternative holiday giving, books to sell "52 Ways to Create an AIDS - Free world" by Don messer (who is in India now as an AIDS Ambassador himself! He is chair of the UMC fund in his RETIREMENT.. what a retirement project!)
If you want to be an AIDS ambassador and make sure your church is taking this offering, let me know! I can send in your name to General Bd of Church and Society so you get info! Linda Bales will be sending you an AIDS newsletter etc. I hope you will join me today and start telling the stories, making baskets of love, having bake sales, reading books, benefit concerts, lighting candles to remember those who have died and are living with HIV AIDS, giving out AIDS ribbons, bracelets... hearing stories like MARTA's story that will be going out this week via email! It is a Nebraska story and Marta is a friend I have gotten to know on the journey this year!
Marta's brother died of HIV AIDS when he was 34 years old. His name is TIM AND NOW HIS STORY IS FREE LIKE A BIRD TO FLY AWAY.. and help others! If you have stories in your congregation around HIV AIDS, let me know and maybe we can get one more story out next year or you can start collecting stories too in Local churches!
MARTA loves the song HOW COULD ANYONE? by Libby Roderick when she thinks of Tim. It is on u tube or you can order her CD from Alaska I found out! So i hope you can sing it or find someone to sing it! I am glad to know about a new songwriters i enjoy on other justice issues too! (see her website: libby roderick)
Marta consented to tell her story and is on our new Task force in NE. I hope you will do ONE thing for persons with HIV AIDS this month like Marta who wrote her story to share with everyone -- it can be a small thing like talking to a neighbor about HIV AIDS or giving an offering Dec 6, or starting a World AIDS day task force!
That is how we change the world.. one person and one thing at a time! A faith response can be many things: like giving offerings, volunteering, reading a book, signing a quilt, starting a support group for persons with HIV AIDS, starting a World AIDS day task force, becoming an AIDS Ambassador.
Thanks marta for telling your story so courageously to share with others -- and time to go gather things for my baskets of love silent auction ---- and check out the geese!
Thanks to the geese too for helping me realize again that the SEASONS are changing amid my projects and thoughts! Also time for some house cleaning after days of ignoring piles and stuff!
Marta's story title is : Marta's story: You are a Wonderfully and Beautifully Made! Don Messser wrote he is taking Marta's story to INDIA now on his trip on behalf of the UM Global AIDS fund -- so look what has happened with one simple story! The power of story is great --- with folks who we have marginalized !
What a good thing -- to remember the stories as we approach Thanksgiving to tell more stories in our families and gatherings. It has been a year of new understandings on our journeys.
I set out accidentally a year ago to find funding for NAP kearney -- and now we have the TUMC Emergency HIV AIDS fund for a whole year to give direct aid to clients at NAP kearney who have emergency medical needs -- our fund has been giving about $200 to $300 a month all year!
Time for REPLENISHING this fund and giving to both funds --- and time to watch the geese again this winter to get centered! And watch the offerings come in as a faith response to HIV AIDS and persons battling this disease in NE and around the world. (did you see the U 2 concert online in CA? wow is all i can say ------- and they have info on HIV AIDS too)
To give to UM global AIDS fund go to the link above or in your local church for NE Advance #558! To give to the TUMC Emergency HIV AIDS fund make your check to TUMC, in the memo put Emergency HIV AIDS fund .. send to TUMC, 511 N Elm, Grand Island, NE 68801 and think about how you can make a faith response to HIV AIDS today!
Also remember those battling HIV AIDS now this Thankgiving! HIV AIDS is treatable and preventable but the numbers are growing in NE even as people with HIV AIDS are living longer. We can urge testing too and condoms -- and our LOCAL church has been approved as a testing site! Our first HIV AIDS testing was done a week ago at the Health Fair our church sponsored in our hood in Grand Island! Miracles do happen! (of course it took an application too).
What a difference a year makes! Do one thing if you can this month for those with HIV AIDS and their families even if it is indirectly through offerings in the UMC!
And am now remembering the Rainbow Giveaway suncatchers that Marta and her friends, and her mom made for the Rainbow Giveaway this summer too! Their family is one that just keeps giving and marta's story is one of those gifts even after all of their pain of losing Tim!