Find out how God has given life to a place that was once the worst village in all of Togo, West Africa

Meet David Whetstone, founder of Mentor Leaders, and William Koatidja, the Togolese Field Director and National Pastor from the little village in Northern Togo West Africa we’ve told you much about already — the village of Gbentchal. Continue reading

Africa fundraiser t-shirts are for sale, and we’ve even added a kid’s design

T-shirts are back and we are offering two final designs! This one, designed by Anna, is our favorite. You’ll notice it’s the shape of Africa, with a heart over Togo. If you’ve seen photos of our trip, you may recognize the van, and the quote is one of our favorites by Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Continue reading

Learning to See

africa01 0171_edited-1Waking up in the village of Gbentchal on the morning of August 8th was an exciting thing for Anna and I. We arrived so late the night before that it took no time at all to crash once our heads hit the pillow. All fears of bugs, mosquitos and any other critters we’d worried about quickly vanished. A much needed rest under our trusty mosquito nets was had, and with the rising of the sun came the sounds of excited little voices outside our hut. They knew a few familiar faces had returned to see them, and they couldn’t wait.

The beauty of being in a world so far removed from our own is that so many of the things we do as routine back home cannot be done. The result – messy hair (no electricity for blow dryers and flat irons), no makeup (you’re just gonna sweat it off), wrinkled clothing (no electricity = no irons), and dust-covered regardless of how recently you got a shower. It might not be all that pretty to look at, but really, it quickly begins to matter very little. It became quite nice, once we got used to the routine – waking up and stepping outside, water bottle and toothbrush in hand, we didn’t have far to go, just a few feet so we wouldn’t spit where someone may walk. Throw the hair in a ponytail or a hat, throw on some lightweight clothes, slip on the flip flops and voila, we were ready for the day. I have to tell you, this was something I quickly decided I could get used to.

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Meeting The Village That Would Change Our Lives

A Red Carpet Welcome

by Tami Nantz

I have to admit, the entire process of just getting to Africa rendered me fairly useless. Prior to leaving home, I was literally numb. Here I was – the mom – taking my daughter thousands of miles away to a place that I, frankly, was scared to death of going myself. I knew many of our friends thought we were crazy, and I had absolutely no clue what to expect.

None.

All I knew was that God put the desire in my heart to go. (and for the record, I knew it had to be Him, because I’d asked Him so many times to never send me there!)

Like Anna said in her portion of our front page introduction, everyone that didn’t think we were nuts for going in the first place was telling us that this trip would change our lives. Honestly I was a little bit scared about what that might mean. How would it change my life?  Would some huge thing happen? I had no clue, but I admit I was more than a little bit curious. Continue reading

Headed for Togo

by Tami Nantz

How two crazies made it to Africa in one piece.

IMG_2587On August 5, 2014, Anna and I boarded an Air France flight around 8:45 p.m. enroute to Paris, France, our first leg of the journey. Check-in was uneventful and getting through security was the easiest I’ve ever experienced. Air France was, hands down, the best flight I’ve taken in all my years of flying. The plane wasn’t even half full, seats were very comfy, and the [mostly male] flight attendants were friendly, helpful, and a tad easy on the eyes. (which, let’s be honest, never hurts)

I learned two things on this rather lengthy trek across the ocean. First, I do not care for plain, unsweetened french yogurt, but it’ll do when it’s the only thing they have to offer your gluten-free eating self. I had no clue Air France offers gluten free meals, but I now know they can be ordered in advance. That would’ve been super duper helpful to know ahead of time, but I am thankful we planned ahead with granola bars and beef jerky. It was ever so yummy paired with that unsweetened yogurt. The second thing I learned was that it’s always a great idea to take earplugs for an overnight flight…the very adorable bubbly, rambunctious children sitting behind us DID, in fact, get a good night’s sleep. Eventually. We, however, weren’t quite so successful. Continue reading

VIDEO: Our Visit to the Village of Gbentchal, Togo 2014

by Anna Nantz

Below is really barely a glimpse into the two weeks we spent in the country of West Africa in August. There isn’t a more beautiful group of people on the planet than those men, women, boys and girls who live in the village of Gbentchal. We are so excited for you to meet them!