Friday, November 19, 2010
Our team is on their way home to the US, currently awaiting their 15+ hour flight out of South Africa. We hope you've enjoyed being able to follow their travels via twitter more on this trip than any other. Many reports will follow in the days ahead as they return with stories of the families they visited, church leaders they encountered and the ways they clearly saw God at work among His people to care for vulnerable children and communities in southern Africa.
While you await those stories from Africa, here's one from the US that's just too good not to share. As Ryan, Nate, Julie, Ian and Steve traveled to Zimbabwe, Zambia (and a bit in South Africa) to encourage pastors and leaders in their work on behalf of children orphaned by AIDS, they also found a way to encourage and support a passionate advocate for these children here in the US as well. Keegan is a college student in New York who grew up in a church youth ministry which partners with Forgotten Voices. Keegan (along with a few friends) has found a creative way to raise awareness and funds for the plight of orphaned children served by Forgotten Voices. He has committed to not cutting his hair or shaving his beard...for 328 days. His increasingly "unique" look will raise many opprotunities to share with people WHY he's doing this, and thus share the needs facing communities in southern Africa. Keegan is also taking pledges from friends, family, classmates etc who are committing to sponsor him (10 cents, a quarter, a dollar...) for each day he goes without shaving. You can follow his progress on Facebook - just search for "328 Days of Beard".
So in support of Keegan's ongoing beard-growing fundraiser, Ryan, Steve and Nate also choose not to shave for the entire length of their trip in Africa. They took this photo on their last night in Zambia and wanted you all to see it!
Pray for Keegan and other committed advocates giving voice in unique ways to kids in southern Africa.
Pray for Nate, Ryan, Ian and Steve as they travel home, arriving early on Saturday.
Pray for Julie, who was scheduled to come home before the rest of the team, but was delayed in south Africa and is just now arriving back in the States this afternoon.
Pray for the dedicated African pastors, leaders, caretakers and Forgotten Voices staff who continue the day to day, often grueling and discouraging work of being the hands and feet of Christ to communities devasted by AIDS and other struggles.
Pray about how God may be calling you to respond - we greatly need your prayers, your financial support and your encouragement as we follow God's direction in the new year.
Written by Nate and Ellen Shaffer at 11/19/2010 10:27:00 AM