Some may know me and may receive a mission letter similar to this. Some may not receive this as a hard copy so I want to just put it up here to make sure everyone can get the information!
I am excited to announce that I will be traveling back to South Africa for ten months! God willing, I plan to leave in August and travel to Johannesburg to work alongside my mentor, Charl Van Wyk, interning as a youth minister. Charl is a native South African and a lifelong minister. I have had the pleasure of working with him three times for short term missions in South Africa since 2015. Charl is a Godly man, a stellar role model, and a true inspiration to me. He contracts with various churches in South Africa to start, repair, or grow their youth ministry programs. I am excited to work alongside him and live life as a true, full-time youth minister for a year!
Many of you know that I first went to South Africa and fell in love with the South African people the summer between my junior and senior year of high school at Wesleyan (2015). That is when I first met Charl and he invited me back to serve that Christmas (2015) on the Plettenberg Mission trip. It was an amazing experience and I was drawn back to SA for a third time in 2016 for the three-week Plett Christmas mission. It was then, this past Christmas, when I felt the Lord calling me to more. I decided to explore the option of taking a year off from college and following where the Lord was leading me in South Africa.
I returned to the states after Christmas full of excitement and my parents supported my decision to take this past semester off from college to work and save money to use to self-fund a portion of my trip and prepare. I have been working at Chick-fil-A, teaching and coaching swimming, and also volunteering alongside the youth minister at Johns Creek Baptist Church learning more about youth ministry and that has been a huge growth opportunity for me from a maturity and faith perspective. My plan is to serve in South Africa with Charl from August 2017 until May 2018 at which time I will return home, work over the summer, and head back to school that fall. While I will be behind my peers academically, I believe the Lord is calling me to this year of service and I am excited to see all He has in store for me!
The preparation and financial implications of this longer mission have exceeded my expectations. To fund my 10 months in South Africa, I estimate a financial need of $12,000 US dollars. This should cover my flight to Johannesburg and 10 months of very basic living expenses. The money I have worked for and saved will be used to supplement my basic living needs and any incidentals that I encounter.
While in South Africa, I hope to have saved enough to be able to visit some areas of the countryside outside of Jo’burg also. I also plan to work alongside Charl on the Plett Mission again this Christmas as part of his core leadership team. For those who have followed my missions before, you know all about this trip; however, for those who may not, this mission is held on the coast of South Africa (Plettenberg) where we essentially direct and operate a Vacation Bible School hybrid program and love on South African kids for about a month. I am so excited to do this for my third year and my first as part of the core leadership team!
For donations, I am pleased to finally say that I have officially partnered with Scripture Union Pennsylvania. This means that all donations to my trip are tax deductible. I have been working closely with Blaine Bergey, the Chief Financial Officer for Scripture Union Pennsylvania. He has informed me that if I gather checks written to Scripture Union with “Grayson Blount Mission Trip” on the memo line, he will provide tax return certificates to the addresses of the corresponding checks. This is great news because figuring this part out has been the biggest obstacle for me in preparing for the trip. If you are interested in making a charitable and tax deductible donation, checks or cash (with an address for the tax return) can be mailed to my primary residence at 3600 Ivy Rd. NE Atlanta, GA 30342. Just to be completely clear and transparent, anything money spent over the 10 months outside the scope of the basic living necessities will be from my own personal funds. I want all contributors to feel confident that any contribution is being used carefully and wisely. If you choose to donate, receiving funds by July 1 will help me tremendously as I plan and prepare and secure living arrangements in Johannesburg.
Regardless of whether you choose to support me monetarily, I do ask that you please keep my travels and preparations in your prayers. I will be keeping this blog very active throughout my travels, posting pictures and stories of what I see and experience. I also have a new Instagram account dedicated to my missions with the handle @followgrayson.
I would love for you to join me on the new and exciting journey. The next twelve months will be filled with uncertainty, anxiety, and a lot of smiles, so I really hope you will join along on the journey with me and watch the Lord show Himself in glorious and mighty ways!