Brody Swearingen, an 11-year-old sixth-grade student at IKM-Manning, will host a showing of “Facing the Giants” in Manilla on Saturday, Aug. 9, to raise money for Kingdom Cares International.
Brody Swearingen, an 11-year-old sixth-grade student at IKM-Manning, will host a showing of “Facing the Giants” in Manilla on Saturday,

Aug. 9, to raise money for Kingdom Cares International.
July 14, 2014


"For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor.' "

- Deuteronomy 15:11

One 11-year-old from Manilla has taken this command to heart.

At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, Brody Swearingen will host a showing of "Facing the Giants" in the Band Shell Park in Manilla to raise funds for Kingdom Cares International missionary ministries, an organization that is actively working to build schools and medical clinics in Ghana.

Brody was galvanized into action when former Iowa State University basketball player, and founder of Kingdom Cares International, Jake Sullivan spoke to a packed IKM-Manning High School auditorium in the spring of 2013.

Sponsored by Manning's C3 organization - promoting Christ, community and celebration - Sullivan spoke about his own experience finding faith; the creation of Kingdom Hoops Academy, a basketball camp segment of his Kingdom Cares ministry; the poverty he witnessed on mission trips to Ghana; and the decision he and his wife, Janel, made to adopt three children from that country.

One story that particularly touched Brody was about a boy in Ghana who had lived with a broken leg for two years because he did not have access to medical treatment.

"He realized how much is taken for granted," said his mother, Beth Swearingen.

Sullivan challenged his listeners to find ways to make a difference - no matter their age.

"When Jake challenged me, God touched my heart," Brody said.

"There are kids starving while we're eating," he emphasized.

He wanted to raise money for his peers across the globe, fighting battles he had never imagined. But he wasn't sure how. So he prayed, grounded by a gentle reminder from his mother - "God doesn't call the equipped, but equips the called."

Brody began to learn more about the Ghana and its orphans - his cousin, Jobe, is from the country, one of three children adopted by Doug and Dawn VanderWeide, and was able to share his experience.

Brody's best friend, Kyler Rasmussen, is also preparing to embrace two new siblings - a process continually lenghthened by a slew of red tape. IKM-Manning's head girls basketball coach Gene Rasmussen and his wife, Jen, decided to adopt after Jen and their daughter, Kali, returned from a mission trip to Ghana. Kali and Gene also participate in Sullivan's Kingdom Hoops program.

Brody also connected with a teenager in Ghana, Daniel, using Facetime to talk across borders and timezones. Daniel's Ghanaian bags will be sold at Brody's event - Daniel hopes to use the money from selling the bags to attend college so he can return and work with children in one of the country's orphanages. He has also used the funds to purchase supplies for a nearby school and medical care for his sister, and hopes to start a microloan program for women in his neighborhood.

Brody hopes to offer attendees a live message from Ghana - he plans to call Daniel before the opening credits.

Brody has spearheaded awareness efforts, supported by a strong group of friends helping to create flyers and signs, said Beth. It's only a matter of time before he will be the man in the mission field, she added.

"I'm very proud of him," she said. "He's involved and excited. He wants as many to know as he can reach."

Sullivan, who founded Kingdom Cares with his wife in 2008, said that it is rare to see an individual act so wholeheartedly on his challenge, citing Brody's efforts as proof of what young students can accomplish.

"It's a pretty cool deal," he said. "He reached out on Facebook and painted a vision of what he wanted to do. I'm excited he's been inspired to use his gifts for the Kingdom."

Sullivan's organization will open its first big orphanage in the city of Asikuma this summer, he said. He will be traveling back from Ghana on Aug. 9 but hopes to attend Brody's event that evening, provided his flights aren't delayed.