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Issue No. 4 - December 2012

Welcome Home... Over the course of a year, while the noise and dust of construction took place next door, 24 children and three mothers lived together as one large family in the original main house of the Joy Home. On November 3, 2012, these same children and their mothers moved into three very private, astoundingly beautiful, newly renovated condominiums...living for the first time as three individual families. Move-in day was full of magic and thanksgiving. Upon inspection of his family’s new home, 8-year-old Moses exclaimed, “This looks like it was made for a President!” But there are no Presidents here. These homes were created for the precious, once-lost but never forgotten children of God. This is where they belong.

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A Child with a Destiny

The scene was a familiar one: women gathering for their weekly small-group meeting. As they arrived, they greeted each other, introduced themselves to any new members, and caught up on one another’s lives. After a few minutes, the group’s leader, Marianne, called the group to order and introduced Nancy and myself. She then asked if we had any questions about the group.

I have been involved in small groups for many years. I love the opportunity they provide to connect with people. I love hearing stories of how small groups have been a source of encouragement and support for people. So, when it came time for questions, I was eager to ask how this group had made an impact on participants’ lives. Listening to the responses, I realized that impact was a matter of life and death. The group is called “Mothers 2 Mothers,” part of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) program at Nazareth Hospital. Mothers 2 Mothers is a support group for HIV-positive women who are pregnant or have recently given birth to a child. Each week they meet to share with and learn from one another as they seek to prevent the spread of the 2

virus. Needless to say, for such a group, the stakes are high, but so is the gain. When asked about her experience, Jane reflected on the recent loss of her husband. At the time of his death, she made two discoveries: he was HIVpositive , and she was pregnant. Testing soon thereafter revealed that she, too, had a positive status. Given the grief of his death, the news of her status, and the risk to her unborn baby, Jane said she wanted to end her life and the life of her child. But then she was invited to join Mothers 2 Mothers, where she made yet another discovery: hope. That is what this group is all about. In seeking to prevent the transmission of HIV, the group seeks to encourage the transmission of hope: Hope that comes from discovering you are not alone. Hope that comes from finding companions to walk alongside you. Hope that comes from seeing a brighter future for your child and for yourself. Another woman, Sarah, expressed that hope by holding up her ten-month-old son David. Like all of the children born to mothers in the PMTCT program this year, David is HIV-negative. Looking up

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proudly at her son, Sarah said, “I am a part of this group because this child is a child with a destiny. You and I are also a child with a destiny because of a Child born to us with a destiny (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus’ destiny was to transmit hope – everlasting hope - into our lives so that we might have the privilege of transmitting hope into one another’ life. In Kenya, in the United States, and throughout the family of Christ. Sister to sister. Brother to brother. Mother 2 Mother.

-NICOLE LOCK

Nicole Lock is Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Snellsville, George. She and her husband James returned from their first pilgrimage to Kenya earlier this month.

The author, with her Kenyan friend, Phyllis.

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Tree of Lives Newsletter Issue No. 5 December 2012