How we began
The undertaking of About-Face Missions came about through a series of events that can only be attributed to God. A chance Facebook connection between two Texas based Christians, each having a passion for missions, resulted in an idea which one month later led to the formation of this group. David Shelton and Missionary JRB (abbreviated for security reasons) met in April of 2011 originally as co-volunteers for Global Media Outreach through Facebook, and since working in the same city, met for lunch – a friendship began.
David had been volunteering as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach for a couple of years prior. The Lord had connected him to an orphan teen named Ronald in Uganda the previous year. After observing how Ronald’s life had been drastically changed by Christ and was struggling to survive without family in a third world country, David and his wife felt led by the Lord to help extend the love of Christ to him by becoming surrogate parents, putting him through boarding school and mentoring him online.
During this time, David mentioned to JRB that high school was expensive for Ugandans and that many of the children, orphaned because of HIV, were forced to drop out of school. This touched JRB such that he began praying about helping in the same way should it be the Lord’s will.
Shortly after, JRB became aware of a 19 year-old boy named Stanley who was friends with Ronald. Both teens had been involved in a gang selling drugs to try to survive and to pay their school dues. Ronald had an encounter with God and met Christ. Soon he dropped out of the gang, in spite of the fact that it could cost him his life. 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, for lack of money.
Although JRB knew God had called him to help, he was unable to shoulder the cost of such an undertaking by himself. After some thought and prayer, God led JRB to post the situation on Facebook to see if friends would be interested in helping. In less than three days, a dozen Facebook friends had come to help, allowing Stanley to return back to high school less than two weeks later in May, 2011.
Shortly thereafter, the Lord gave JRB an idea and desire to move forward. He thought, “If the Lord 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 God's work in real time?” This led to the idea of About-Face Missions, (AFM). The Lord used this 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! JRB went on to become the President of AFM.
JRB and David Shelton partnered together in early summer of 2011 to form AFM ministry based primarily from Facebook contacts. The name came to them partly as a play on words since this began as a Facebook ministry. They felt strongly that God had called them into international mission work and to share the gospel, demonstrating the love of Christ, through helping the needy as they were able.
About this time both David and JRB had recently what they called a 'radical life-change' to give up life of living for sinful self, and to serve the Lord with all their heart. Both men will tell you that they both had 180 degree turns in their life directions...an about-face! This is a military term that means to turn around. So naturally it made sense to call this new ministry About-Face Missions.
As the work grew and built more relationships with pastors in less developed countries of the world, they were led to incorporate in May 2013 as a Texas Non-Profit and become a fully functioning 501c3 NGO founded on the principles of Christ as seen in the Bible. Thus began AFM Ministry, Inc, doing business as About-Face Missions as recorded and filed in Dallas County, Texas USA.
Today AFM is helping those who are working in Kenya, Uganda, Philippines, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Peru and SE Asia through our continued support of former AFM president JRB. We have continued to utilize Facebook and the Lord continues to bring volunteers – both in going out and supporting those who go.