Tanner Looft, 18, had been growing his hair out for several years, but it wasn't until his senior year of high school that he entertained the idea of cutting it.
Looft decided to have his curly brown hair cut to raise money for missionaries. It wasn't a typical fundraiser, however—Looft's hair measured 28 inches long when it was cut on June 19.
The hair was donated to Locks of Love, and all money raised was donated to Speed the Light through his youth group at New River Assembly of God in Red Wing, Minn.
"I simply wanted to use everything I had to glorify God in some way," Looft says. "Even the most simplistic things can be used to glorify God in a huge way. I mean, I cut my hair and we raised a good chunk of money for a missionary somewhere to get around much easier."
"Students like Tanner are looking for a cause to be passionate about. Speed the Light gives them the opportunity to make a difference with their giving and their sacrifice," says Chet Caudill, director of Speed the Light.
"Whether it's providing clean water by buying water well drilling rigs in Africa, giving hope to girls trapped in sex trafficking through the ministry of Project Rescue, feeding the hungry and helping those impacted by disaster through Convoy of Hope, delivering communications equipment that sends the gospel message via the internet, radio or television around the world, or supplying a much-needed vehicle to a missionary who would otherwise walk or depend on public transportation, together we are speeding the Light of Christ to those lost in sin."
Although Looft doesn't plan to do this again, he recommends others to step out in faith and plan the fundraiser. "Anyone could do this; it just takes some time and prayer," he says.
While Looft's original goal for the fundraiser was $5,000, he is happy with the $4,000 that was collected thus far—and the donations are still coming in. The response from New River Assembly has been encouraging, he says.
"We have always been a giving church, but this year I think it's different," Looft says. "It's not just giving because we get a plaque on the wall—it's that we are supporting the expansion of the kingdom of God by tithing and giving to STL. Its become more serious, and more joyful in giving."