Nine of the 11 who will be going to Moyo in May. Rob Barber, Maggie Stevens, Shannon Luther, Chris and Amy Compston, Tony and Amy Blankenbeckley, Kathy Whitely and Mark Maynard.

Nine of the 11 who will be going to Moyo in May. Rob Barber, Maggie  Lawentmann, Shannon Luther, Chris and Amy Compston, Tony and Amy Blankenbeckley, Kathy Whitely and Mark Maynard. Below: Jon and Rob VanHoose.



ASHLAND, Ky, – Can I tell you about my community?

It has a heartbeat.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

It’s beating in rhythm, loud and clear for all to hear.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

It’s beating to the sound of generosity.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

Let me tell you about my community.

About the middle of December, the Amy For Africa (AFA) mission – an organization close to my heart – began an aggressive fundraising campaign to raise $52,000 in four-and-a-half months.

Impossible, you say? No way, you say?

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

Hear that heartbeat? That’s your community.

AFA was provided with an incredible opportunity in November with Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit organization out of Charlotte, N.C. Samaritan’s Feet gave us 26,000 pairs of brand new Skecher’s shoes to put on the feet of children in Moyo, Uganda, an area AFA has supported since May 2013. The fundraising goal of $52,000 came from the cost of shipping the shoes – $2 per pair.

As Amy Compston, the face and feet of AFA likes to say, $52,000 is a “great big number.” But we serve an even bigger God.

Nothing is more true.

Less than three months into this fundraising campaign, the finish line is not only within sight but the tape is about to be broken. It’s probably going to happen this weekend.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

The heartbeat of this community is the reason why. You have reached deep, you have been compassionate, you have made it happen.

Are we encouraged?

Yes, and we are overwhelmed.

We never doubted it was going to happen. Really, we didn’t. When Manny Ohonme, the CEO of Samaritan’s Feet, told us he was going to give us the shoes, the other four who were in the circle with him – Amy and her husband Chris, me and my wife Beth – never blinked. Amy cried. The rest of us stood amazed (probably with jaws touching the floor).

But we never questioned if we could raise $52,000. Not for a minute, not for a second.

That’s because we do serve a great big God and live in a community that has a great big heartbeat for service.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

We said at the time the offer was extended that, well, we don’t know how it’s going to happen but we’re going to watch God amaze us.

He has in so many ways besides fundraising.

We’ve seen people give when they had no busy giving given their financial state. We’ve seen children gathering coins and putting them in baggies to help, we’ve seen school children vested in what we’re trying to do at schools. For example, third-graders at Fairview Elementary donated more than $400. They have fallen in love with children just like them but 7,000 miles away.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

Our friends have given and our co-workers have given. Many people we don’t even know have given. We’ve had people give in honor of coaches, in memory of friends and give just to give. Their hearts were touched.

The civic clubs reached deep, high school basketball coaches coached barefoot to bring awareness to the fact that these children in Moyo have never owned a pair of shoes. A local hair salon is having a 24-hour hair-a-thon starting Friday morning and that fundraising effort has already more than doubled the original goal. It will likely take us past the goal.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

People have given and given and given.

Can I tell you about our Christian community?

Numerous churches in the area have partnered with us and privileged us with sharing their pulpit for a Sunday. The generous congregations of this area supplied thousands of dollars to this mission effort.

More than that, though, are the prayers of these same people. They have overwhelmed us with kindness as we kept pressing toward the finish line.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

I say finish line but that’s only for getting the shoes to Moyo. We have more expenses once we arrive in the middle of May for a two-week stay. Gas is $8.50 a gallon so transportation has a price. We will also be paying Africans to help us load and unload shoes in numerous locations. Expenses are many and so are the needs of the Moyo region and the UCE. Eleven members of Team AFA will be going – all at their own expense – to put the shoes on the feet of these children and to tell them about the God that made it possible.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

We don’t see this an end but more of a beginning to what’s ahead for the Amy For Africa mission.

Do you hear that heartbeat?

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.