OK, the big news has been announced. You have heard from me, Steph, and our eldest daughter Caitie relaying her thoughts as well as the thoughts of our kiddos moving to Kenya. At this point, I know for many of you, you may have more questions than answers. This is my attempt to clarify. If I do not address every question you have, please feel free to ask. Steph and I are an open book. First, let me try to clarify some regarding About-Face Missions. AFM MINISTRY dba About-Face Missions is an international ministry connecting Christians with global indigenous pastors assisting and supporting these servants in their God-given missions to carry out the Great Commission and serve the needy. AFM was founded in 2011 by Jim Ball and David Shelton. Jim is now a full-time missionary evangelizing unreached people groups. David is now serving as AFM President and Director. AFM is ran by an all-volunteer staff of seven folks from various locations in the US. We are a 501c3 so all donations made to AFM on our behalf or the behalf of any of our other supported ministries are tax deductible.
There is a core of regular donors giving monthly to AFM in various amounts from $15 and up. These folks are financially supporting the 12 current AFM supported ministries in Kenya, Uganda, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and the Philippines. The current money coming in to AFM each month is already pledged to the current supported ministries. In order to build and operate the orphanage, AFM Mercy Foundation Children’s Home, it will require new donors to partner with us in single donations or recurring monthly donations. We have very small operating costs at AFM because we are ran by volunteers who do their AFM work from home. The bulk of our operating costs are the fees that it takes to send money overseas. Therefore, nearly every single dollar donated goes directly to support those being donated to.
The affiliation the Bys’ have with AFM is now two-fold. I will continue to be a volunteer on the AFM staff as I have done the last two years. My volunteer role will somewhat change now with a focus on helping oversee and support the AFM ministries already operating in East Africa. In addition to that, we will now be serving as full-time missionaries. Donations made on our behalf to help us in our mission of building and running an orphanage next to AFM Mercy School in Kaya, Kenya will be made through AFM. 5% of all donations will go to AFM as an administration fee. This type arrangement is normal with full-time missionaries in order to have an agency take care of the paperwork and other administrative duties, allowing the missionary to spend their time doing what God called them to do instead of doing admin (that in my case they despise and are severely beaten down by…haha). Most mission agencies charge somewhere between 10-20%, so I feel very fortunate that we will only have 5% deducted for AFM to do this necessary and unavoidable work.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the father, is this; to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18
Our (the Bys family’s) vision is based on James 1:27 and John 14:18. We believe that it is God’s will that we would be the hands and feet of Jesus in the Kaya, Kenya community; serving orphans and widows there. God willing, we will purchase 7.5 acres of land directly next to AFM Mercy School. On that land we will build what will serve as both our home and orphanage. This is where we will raise, disciple, feed, clothe, and love our current children that go with us as well as every single orphan that God enables us to. Our home will be there home. They will be our family. We will care for them both physically and spiritually as long as God allows. The needs there are great, with a preliminary estimate of 70 orphans in the immediate area that pastor Kennedy is aware of. The rest of the land will be used for raising livestock and farming in order to help support the orphanage and Mercy School. Secondary to that, I will also help support other AFM ministries already running in East Africa including Mercy School, the school in Sangalo, Sharon Bible School, and Samson’s orphanage in Moi’s Bridge. Our daughter Caitie, along with Steph, plans to set up a birthing center in the distant future.
Some of the sweet kiddos attending AFM Mercy School
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
Our plan is to spend the next few months raising financial support while at the same time making preparations for the big move which should occur in February 2017. We are working on getting passports, designing the orphanage, selling our belongings, collecting books and shoes to take with us (many of the children there do not have any), and making travel arrangements. I will continue to work my full-time job until we get about a month out from our move date. We are now in the process of selling the home we own in Garland, TX. Any money left after paying off the mortgage will go towards the land purchase and building the orphanage.
We believe that the task God has called us to is a monumental one. One which we can never accomplish on our own. One which will test us, and oh do we look forward to the test. To count every minute of it joy as we face these trials ahead of us. We will continue to trust in the Lord with all our hearts. We refuse to lean on our own understanding. We will acknowledge Him in all our ways as we trust Him to make straight our paths. We trust that God is preparing His people to help us accomplish this monumental task. Knowing that God has called us to this mission, we know God is preparing His people in Kenya that will help us. Knowing that God has called us to this mission, we know God is preparing His people that He would have partner with us both in prayer and financially.
We ask that you, our family in Christ, our biological family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, anyone reading this…that you would prayerfully consider partnering with us in 1 or more of 3 ways:
1) Pray for us. Spurgeon said “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” There is much power in prayer and we ask that you will regularly pray for our family and the community in which we will be living.
2) Support us. An endeavor like this requires some folks to support us financially and we trust God to let those who should, know. Please prayerfully consider whether God would have you to regularly support us. No matter the amount, big or small, we will greatly appreciate it and will put it to good use for the cause of Christ. Tax exempt donations can be made at aboutfacemissions.com/ourministries/bysfamily. Another great way to support us will be to help us with various fundraisers we will be having between now and the time we move.
3) Visit us. We would love to have mission teams of any size come and see what Jesus is doing in Kenya! We will have space at our home to accommodate you in order to keep costs of mission trips low.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this. God bless you!
Jeff, Steph, and family