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Ista to volunteer in Zambia

West Fargo resident Zac Ista will travel to Zambia, an impoverished nation in southern Africa, to participate in a month-long volunteer program this summer. In July, Ista will fly to Livingstone, a small city near Victoria Falls in southern Zambia, where he will partner with the volunteer agency African Impact.

"I'm very excited for this chance to serve in one of the world's most impoverished areas. The HIV/AIDS pandemic and a lack of financial opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa have devastated nations like Zambia. I feel compelled to do something to help this frequently forgotten part of the world," Ista said of his upcoming trip to Africa.

In Zambia, Ista will work in a rural medical clinic and understaffed schools near Livingstone. The 2003 West Fargo High School graduate is particularly excited to work in classrooms in Zambia. "As a recent graduate of the North Dakota State University teacher education program, I believe I'll bring very useful skills to the students in these schools," Ista said. "I look forward to using my education to make a positive difference for the children in Livingstone."

Ista will speak about his volunteer trip to Africa at Faith Lutheran Church during worship services on April 26, at 5 p.m., and April 27, at 8:30 and 11 a.m. He will talk about the role faith played in his decision to volunteer in Africa. The following weekend, the Faith Lutheran Evangelism Board will sponsor a free-will offering to help Ista offset the high cost of traveling to Zambia. "Obviously, I did not reach my decision to go to Africa lightly," Ista said regarding the $6,500 required to go to Africa. "In the end, though, I knew it was more important to let my faith, rather than finances, guide me in reaching the right decision."

In addition to the support of the Evangelism Board, Ista will also receive matching funds from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. A special fund has been established to accept donations to help Ista volunteer in Africa. Donations are being accepted online at or via mail at African Impact '08, 1136 Westport Beach Way, Unit E, West Fargo, N.D. 58078.