This undertaking came about through a series of events that can only be attributed to God. A chance Facebook connection between two Texas based Christians who each have a passion for missions resulted in an idea which one month later led to the formation of this group. David Shelton and I met in April of 2011 originally as co-volunteers for Global Media Outreach through Facebook and since we worked in the same city we met for lunch and a friendship began. David had been volunteering as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach for a couple of years and God had connected him to an orphan teen in Uganda the previous year through the the email ministry. After seeing how Ronald really gave his life to Christ and was struggling to survive without family in that third world country, David and his wife felt led by the Lord to help extend the love of Christ to him by becoming a surrogate parents and putting him through boarding school and mentoring him via Facebook and email. David mentioned that high school was expensive for Ugandans and that many of the children orphaned as a result of parents contacting and dying of HIV were forced to drop out past primary school. This touched me and I began praying about potentially helping should the Lord so lead. I soon became aware of a 19 year-old boy named Stanley who is friends with Ronald and had been forced to drop out of school. Both had been involved in a gang selling drugs to try to survive and to pay their school dues. Yet Ronald had an encounter with God and met Christ. Ronald dropped out of the gang in spite of the fact that it could cost him his life, and Stanley saw the change in his friend and soon followed. He gave his life to Christ despite threats of murder from the gang leader. As a result of dropping out of the gang, Stanley was unable to continue school in 2010 as well, for lack of money. All this said, I knew God had laid a burden on my heart and I was being called to help, but was unable to shoulder the cost of such an undertaking by myself. After some thought and prayer, God led me to post the situation on Facebook to see if friends would be interested in helping. In less than 3 days time, a dozen Facebook friends had joined hands with me, allowing Stanley to return back to high school less than two weeks later in May, 2011.
Shortly thereafter, God placed an idea in my heart. If He could orchestrate such a "miracle" for a youth in Uganda using Facebook in connecting people, why couldn't it be used to connect Christians to those doing Gods work in real time? In short, God used this experience of helping Stanley to lead to the idea and formation of About-Face Missions. God also used the experience to amaze and bless Stanley along with his school administrator in Africa when he learned that a dozen Americans who had never met Stanley were committing to help him graduate! He too gave glory to God in seeing this!
Where are we going?
Who knows? Only God does of course. I have no idea but I do know the prayers of the group members are appreciated by the pastors and missionaries and that we have a solid core of believers who love to sacrifice and give to God. I also know the group members have been blessed learning what these men and women of God do and the conditions in which they do it. God has blessed us so far and we will continue to move forward and give God the glory and honor for whatever he wants to make of us! Aware that the potential for growing this concept was proving itself and cognizant of Jim’s and David’s frustration from time to time in communicating information to the group through Facebook, one of our members recently volunteered to help launch and pay for the costs of a website for one year. God bless my friend Brian’s insight and generous spirit. This avenue is going to make it possible to broaden our exposure to recruit many more Christians than Facebook permits. Some of the Facebook material is confidential and sensitive in certain countries thereby prohibiting us from opening the group to the general public. But a website will provide greater exposure for AFM and the ability to filter Christians directly into the small groups within Facebook without compromising or endangering the ministries, will allow new members to begin to get to know the group leaders from across the world, and should exponentially position thousands to begin to pray and even give if possible to people who are in desperate need of the resources with which many of us Americans have been blessed.
Update - As of Feb 2013, AFM is now supporting 15 ministries in developing Nations. In addition, about 100 children are being sponsored on a monthly basis plus we just started a full time elementary school fully funded by our organization from gifts from people like you! AFM Mercy Foundation School is a elementary school just completing it's first month of operation using one of our pastors Churches in Kenya as their school house, in which 76 more poor young children are getting free education and meals 6 days a week along with Bible school training on Saturday mornings!! We are looking for 10 to 15 supporters to donate $20 to $40 a month to fund a new orphanage and widows home near Kakinada India in the next month. We praise God for what He is doing and invite others to come get involved.
for more information on helping sponsor kids in this new AFM school in Kenya or the AFM orphanage in India, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Big NeWS! as of September 1, 2013: