For Madi Vincent, 17, a trip to Ghana earlier this year brought a new reality to months of hard work she had already done in Charlotte.
Vincent, who is homeschooled and lives in the University area, met Matt and Tammy Garrett in 2010 at a homeschool event in Charlotte raising money for a project in Ghana.
"I thought what they were doing was great, and I wanted to learn more," Vincent said. She also had an idea: to hold a benefit concert to raise money for an orphanage project in Ghana.
At that time, The Father's House was still in the works, a plan that the Garretts and several others had to build a home for boys who were forced into slavery on Lake Volta in Ghana. The boys, some as young as 4, are kidnapped into slavery or sold by their families.
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Vincent emailed Tammy Garrett, although she hardly knew her, with her idea for the concert. Vincent's parents gave her their support.
But she couldn't move forward until she found a venue that would hold more than 1,000 people.
"I emailed all of the big churches in the area," Vincent said, "but I wasn't getting any emails back. I was just really frustrated."
Tammy Garrett then emailed Vincent the Bible verse Jeremiah 33:3: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Vincent didn't know how that verse would help until she searched the website for Northside Baptist Church in the University area. "I looked down and their address was 333 Jeremiah Boulevard."
She went against all of the advice she received about approaching a church staff member with a short note. She wrote the church's senior pastor a two-page email with all of her ideas.
Within an hour, the pastor replied with an invitation to meet. At the meeting, he told Vincent the church's leadership already had OK'd the concert, and she needed to pick a date.
Vincent and eight other teenagers have organized the May 13 concert, called Ghana Rock, which will feature Christian bands Josh Wilson, Kristian Stanfill and Unhindered. All proceeds will go to The Father's House.
In January, Vincent traveled to Ghana with a team that rescued eight boys from Lake Volta through a complicated series of negotiations. The eight are the first residents of The Father's House, which has room for more boys.
Vincent had researched child slavery on Lake Volta before her trip, but she said even that didn't prepare her for seeing preschool age boys rowing fishing boats while their masters lazed around.
She was there when the eight boys settled into The Father's House, noting that the youngsters were so used to working that they didn't know to play in their free time at their new home.
When it came time to return to Charlotte, Vincent wasn't ready to leave.
"My mom said, 'Now you know what you're doing in Charlotte is going to make such a big difference in these boys' lives,'" she said. "I came back from Ghana and was ready to go, and I was on fire even more than I already was."
Vincent hopes the concert raises $25,000, which will pay for a year of living expenses for the eight boys - including their food, clothing and education.
The concert leadership group has made information displays for the concert that will detail how the money will be spent.
Vincent already plans to return to Ghana and visit the new residents of The Father's House. And, she says, there is more work to be done.
"It's exciting that we rescued eight boys, but there are so many more who need to be rescued," she said.