Many of you know that I spent almost all of 2008 in South Africa. During this time I was an intern for the ministry Thrive Africa. It was an incredible year. If you want to see what I did there and the impact it had on my life you can check out my blog from that year at: http://mattinsouthafrica.blogspot.com/
Since I left in December 2008, Thrive Africa has experienced some unbelievably difficult pressures on their ability to operate their ministry. The most obvious is the economic downturn that hit the states. Thrive Africa relies almost solely on generous donations from and partnerships with people and churches in North America. If the donations stop, Thrive will shut down. It’s that simple. And lately the money has been drying up. They have started a capital campaign to raise $80,000 by this summer. You can get all the lowdown at: http://www.impactsouthafrica.com/
Let me be very clear. I believe in Thrive. I believe in its vision, its mission, its leadership and what it is doing and it is without a doubt effective. These guys aren’t out there helping poor people to make themselves feel better. They are attempting to change the face of a nation and thereby a continent with life changing spiritual and leadership education. And to my knowledge they are the only long-term organization doing this in a township area of roughly 2 million people. You can find out more information about thrive at: wwwthriveafrica.com
This is bigger than just keeping a few North Americans in Africa. Thrive employs over 50 nationals on a full-time basis. In a country with an unemployment rate of nearly 25% this is a big deal. They teach thousands of students every year in local schools about important and taboo topics such as leadership, purpose, sex and AIDS. I personally visited an orphanage on a weekly basis when I was there. I was able to watch kids grow and learn as we spent time, played, taught and loved them.
If the money stops, if this capital campaign fails, all that is over.
I am a competitive person. When I am part of something it becomes my team. I want to see it succeed and do well (you could even say “thrive.” I’m sorry I couldn’t contain myself.) This was true when I was doing high school sports, collegiate sports, with ESI now, and of course with Thrive. Four of my fellow interns are long term staff with them now. I want them to be able to fufill their calling from God with Thrive.
What can you do? Pray and Give. The websites above indicate how. I know many of you don’t have the personal experience I have had at Thrive so you have to trust me on this but please. Give. It will truly make all the difference. Can you imagine what it must feel like having a vision to change a country and the only obstacle is money? The soil is fertile, the workers are there and continuing to come. All that is needed is the senders. To help with this campaign Thrive has recently set up an online store where you can buy, amongst other things, African-grown fair-trade coffee. Proceeds go to Thrive. You may not care about South Africa. You may not KNOW about South Africa. But I bet someone in your life likes good coffee. Check out http://www.thriveafricastore.com/
This is important. And you can help. Give to Thrive Africa today.