The Greatest Need

The following blog post is written by Stephen Elder. Stephen went on the first ever Man Up and Go mission trip and serves on the Board of Directors for Man Up and Go. He lives with his wife Wynne in Bryan, TX, and has two beautiful Ethiopian children. 

“The Greatest need in the world today is Fatherhood.”

Those were the words spoken by Pastor Samuel in Kampala, Uganda, on the first Man Up trip back in 2011. I have never forgot them, and they couldn’t be more true.

Men have trouble defining what it means to be good father in this day in age. We have lost our way as fathers. Families worldwide have suffered as a result of men not realizing the responsibility of fatherhood. I believe the majority of the turmoil in the world today is tied to directly to fatherhood or lack there of. Here are some stats to ponder:

  • 63% of teen suicides come from fatherless homes. (5 times the national average) SOURCE: U.S. Dept of Health
  • 90% of all runaways and homeless children are from fatherless homes. (32 times the national average)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes. (14 times the national average) SOURCE: Justice and Behavior
  • 85% of children with behavioral problems come from fatherless homes. (20 times the national average.) SOURCE: Center for Disease Control
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. (9 times the national average.) SOURCE: National Principals Association Report
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. (20 times the national average) SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Justice

These stats are all tied to fathers not doing their job. Back in the day our calling was better understood and much clearer; we did not have as many distractions as we do today. Men were warriors and farmers. We worked the land and fought for our families and freedom. We spent all of our time working toward building a better future for our families. We stood our ground and loved our children and wives; we didn’t flee when things got hard. Today as fathers we are faced with so many temptations to run away, be lazy and not care. This is the world we live in, where fatherhood is trending toward selfishness and carelessness, resulting in broken families. Fathers are wanted. Fathers need to be present. Fathers need to care. Fathers need to hug and kiss their children. Fathers need to put on display how to treat others with respect and honor. Fathers need to show their kids how to be in a relationship with Jesus. In order for men to take hold of all we have been called to as fathers, we have to understand and apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, and then you will see the trend reverse.

God is calling all of us, all we have to do is say YES. I said yes in 2010. Little did I know that the adventure he was taking me on was one that would end up in my wife Wynne and I adopting 2 kids, Camp and Asher, from Ethiopia. I took my first trip to Uganda and Ethiopia with the Man Up movement in 2011 and returned to the States wrecked. God showed me first hand how bad the orphan crisis really was and the need for fatherhood. I saw hundreds of little empty souls begging to be embraced by a man so that for one second they could feel loved. Men, I pray that you would be broken for this. It broke me, and when I realized the need for fatherhood in the world a raging fire and passion was born in me to fight for the Man Up and Go cause.

 

I realized quickly that skin color, nationality, and gene pools have no bearing on what a family is – my definition of family quickly changed after I was broken. Being broken is a good thing because God has so many more pieces of us for him to work with. I pray that you would be broken by the need for fathers today. Don’t spend another second standing idle, missing the opportunity to grab hold of who God has called you to be. God is pushing us to be men of character. This task is hard, warrior – are you gonna fight, fathers? What say you?

Our passion at Man Up and Go is to see the Gospel take root in men’s lives so that they would care for their families and lead in their communities and be responsible fathers. “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord,” says Romans 15:2. Without knowing the way, we will never truly have an impact. We know the way and God has laid out the plan, we just have to execute. God has given us the tools necessary to equip men for fatherhood, so that is what where we are headed – to equip and empower men.

This task is not an easy one but we are committed to seeing 20,000 families impacted by 2020 throughout the globe. Will you help us in our 20k by 2020 goal? You may do so by giving your tax-deductible gift HERE.

We are called to care for the orphan and the widow in James 1:27. The other part of James 1:27 is refusing to let the world corrupt us. Fatherhood has been corrupted which has led to disastrous statistics in the U.S. and in the World. In 5 years time there will be close to 1 billion children in the world without fathers. Men, are you ready to take back has been corrupted and stolen by the world? Will you join our fight and help fill the void in so many families today with the Hope of Jesus? It’s going to take time, money, sacrifice, desire, passion, and a willingness to die to self. I pray you’re up to the challenge.

In this Christmas season, I hope you’ll pray with us to see more men around the globe MAN UP to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers.

A Burning World

The following blog post was written by Mark Acre. Mark has gone on multiple missions trips to Africa and currently serves on our Board of Directors. He and his wife Stephanie live in Nixa, MO; they have three children, one of whom they are currently in the process of adopting from China. 

“Where men refuse to step into the space that they are called to fill, the world burns!”

When I was 6 years old my father left my mom.  She was left to provide and care for my two younger sisters and I.  She had to do so with a job that paid her $4.18 per hour, which meant she brought home around $134 per week.  Despite our tough financial circumstances and the struggle of being a single parent, she never faulted as a mother.   She was always able to provide for us so that we were never hungry or in need of the basic necessities.  Watching her resilience as a single mom and her steadfastness in God, I learned how to forge through any of life’s many challenges.

But let’s take a look at what could have happened to my sisters and I as a result of growing up without a father in our home…

  • There are 710 Million children all over the world who go to bed without a father figure in the home.
  • 1 in 3 children in the United States go to bed without their biological father in their home.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.  (Justice & Behavior)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report)
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.

And the stats could go on and on…

Below is a chart that illustrates the increasing trend of single mothers being forced to fill the void that men leave when they decide to abandon their responsibility as a father.  As you can see the issue is not getting better.

The one differentiating factor that I always point to that kept my sisters and I from being one of those statistics was that my mom always pointed us to our Heavenly Father.  We stood on the promise that He would never leave or forsake us and just as Jesus said in John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  She continued to keep her faith in God and she cast the vision for our family to rely solely on Him in all circumstances.  Thank God for good Mommas!!!

 

Because of my upbringing I am constantly reminded of the way that my mom had to fight and sacrifice for her children.  I remember praying a prayer in college that God would somehow put me in a place to be able to be a testimony for fatherless children and to be an encouragement to the mothers who raised them at some point in my life.  Now 12 years later, enter ManUp and Go into my world.  As a man who takes great pride in being the husband to my wonderful wife of ten years, Stephanie and the father to my children Brynn, Maddox, and Tobias, I am honored to play a small role in what God is doing through ManUp and Go all over the world.

So you may be asking yourself, who is ManUp and Go and what are they doing to reduce the fatherless population worldwide???

Our mission is to shape a better future for fatherless children by making Jesus known, being a father to the fatherless, and equipping each man to take personal responsibility for his faith, family, and community.

We will accomplish this with the following strategies

ENGAGE the current orphan population

EDUCATE the next generation

ENCOURAGE our ministry partners

EMPOWER single mothers

ENERGIZE the Church

EQUIP men to lead

Since 2011 ManUp has:

  • Personally loved, played with and ENGAGED over 8,000 children worldwide
  • Adopted 13 children internationally (and growing…)
  • Currently EDUCATE over 150 children at the Bethel Junior School in Uganda
  • Purchased hand made products from and ENCOURAGED over 1300 women
  • Facilitated vocational training to EMPOWER over 30 women with sewing and hairdressing skills
  • Conducted men’s conferences to ENCOURAGE AND EQUIP over 3,000 men to be the man that God has called them to be
  • We have impacted the United States, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nicaragua, Haiti and have trips planned to Kenya and the Dominican Republic

ManUp and Go Goal!!!

By 2020, we want to reach 200,000 men and equip 20,000 families through our men’s empowerment program.

How Can You Help???

There is no doubt that the crisis that we face of children not knowing what a father or husband should look like causes great damage to various aspects of their lives for generations to come for both boys and girls.  Now that you see the problem as we see the problem I would like to ask for your help. Our desire to drastically reduce the number of fatherless children in the world is a BIG God sized goal, but we serve a very BIG God who can do immeasurably more than we can ever possibly dream or imagine!!

The first way that you can help is by PRAYING with us.  We believe that all things are possible with God and we continually pray for God to guide us as He sees fit and that his Kingdom would benefit from all that ManUp and Go is doing in His name.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

The second way that you can help us is by joining us.  If you are interested in becoming a part of the movement that God has started through ManUp and Go then simply click on the GET INVOLVED tab to request more information on how you can do so.

Lastly, I would ask you to strongly consider partnering with us financially.  ManUp and Go has established relationships with people just like you who have the same heart for the men, women and children that we are called to minister to.  Through your tax deductible gift you will strengthen the family unit all over the world and give the fatherless hope for a better tomorrow for generations to come!  All you need to do is click on the DONATE tab to give quickly and securely.

May God bless you and your family however you decide to partner with us!

Men Live in the World, Strong Men Change It

The following blog post is written by Roger Gibson, Man Up and Go Founder and Visionary. Roger currently serves as the Senior Director of Adult and Family Ministries for the Assemblies of God National Office. He is married to “Kiki” and has three children. Read Roger’s bio HERE.

He was deemed too short, too slow, and considered by his owners to be lazy. His owners quickly gave up on him and wrote him off as useless until a very special man came into this horse’s life. Instantly, the gentleman saw tremendous potential and knew this horse was very special. Nobody else could figure out why he decided to invest his money and time into a horse that was clearly a loser. But he didn’t care what others thought.

He knew when he looked at the horse in the eyes that he possessed a tremendous amount of potential, determination, and desire. All he needed was the right kind of leadership, solid training, and an opportunity to be the next champion. The horse went on to become the legendary winner, Seabiscuit, who inspired hope for so many during the Great Depression.

My wife, Kari, and I spent a year and a half living in Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti, and Nicaragua serving and caring for orphans. During that time, we listened to a lot of their stories. Every story was unique, but they all had one thing in common; their story began with a tragedy from the loss of a parent(s) due to diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis, extreme poverty, natural disasters, war, abandonment, severe abuse, religious persecution, and more. Even though each situation was heart breaking and complex, I learned something that forever changed my perspective of the most vulnerable people group on earth.

“Both Scripture and social science affirm that the very best environment for a child is a caring family.” Jedd Medefind – President, Christian Alliance for Orphans

While in Ethiopia, I led a Bible study for 12 weeks for boys and men ranging in ages from 13 to 25 years old. There was wide spread in the ages, but they each had desire to learn more about what it meant to be a Godly man. They eagerly came to our meetings with their Bibles, pens, and paper ready to learn from the book of Daniel.

For me, the book of Daniel is the ultimate warrior’s guide. It’s filled with men who displayed big faith, courage, and prayer. I was surprised by how successful it was. As I looked into their eyes, I could clearly see how they were soaking in every word I said. Not a single boy missed a meeting.

Because of the success of our study on Daniel, I then decided to do take the boys through a special study on how a man loves his wife and children. What was so shocking to me while walking through this study was just how uninformed these boys were about this topic. Sure, there’s a distinct cultural difference. But I wondered if this group of men ever thought about or pondered upon what they were about to learn. It never crossed their minds to resolve conflict in a constructive manner, as opposed to using their fists or just abandoning their families. It made me think about the quality of examples they have had. Who were their fathers? Did they show them any love? Even though I had them for a very short time, and it would take years of counseling to allow these boys to heal, it was my mission to be their role-model and raise a new generation of dads.

Nothing was as memorable as our very last meeting. My good friend, Don Henry, came to visit us for a week in ministry. The week prior, we concluded the study, but I promised the boys I would do a special blessing ceremony. In their book, The Blessing, my father-in-law, Gary Smalley, and Dr. John Trent illustrate numerous studies on how crucial it is for a boy to hear this to signify their passage into manhood.

One of the most important jobs as a dad was giving this to my own son, Michael, when he turned 13 years old. I couldn’t leave Ethiopia without extending this to my group. I gave them a quick explanation on the meaning of blessing and closed in prayer not really thinking much about it.

The next week, Don and I showed up and discovered a room full of boys and men who wanted to experience their own blessings. This simple commission had spread like wildfire throughout this small community. Again, I explained what it means to have a blessing. During the invitation, all of them stood and formed a line to receive their blessing.

It was such a sacred and meaningful time. We prayed a personalized prayer over each man, anointed them by putting the oil on their foreheads, and prayed blessings over their lives. For me, it was an overwhelming experience to see the need for men to learn what it means to be a Godly man.

Man Up and Go’s desire is to be a part of the solution. Rather than being a Band-Aid that can easily fall off, we want to heal and protect the broken. Our objective is to shape a better future for orphans by making Jesus known, being a father to the fatherless, and equipping each man to take personal responsibilities for his faith, family, and community. We want to see less orphans and more families. We believe the best offense in the orphan crisis is to focus on the men in countries where the most vulnerable children reside.

A lot has happened in the days, months, and years since our first trip to Ethiopia and Uganda in 2011, which inspired the award-winning documentary film, Man Up and Gothat featured five men from Missouri who pledged to love and protect the fatherless. This film also inspired the non-profit, which bears its name, Man Up and Go founded in 2014.

Today, I am proud to say that over 8,000 children have been reached in Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti, and Nicaragua. We have ministered to over 1,300 women and equipped 3,000 men with the tools they need to be righteous men of God. And the best news of all is that it is just the beginning.

By 2020, we want to reach 200,000 men and equip 20,000 families through our men’s empowerment program.

The program we started in Uganda is designed to give men the necessary education and training to love, provide, and protect their families. Why men’s empowerment? Unfortunately, we have a generation of men who lack positive male role models in their lives. This is a worldwide pandemic.

If we want to break the cycle of fatherless homes, we need to run full speed towards the finish line of reaching the next generation of men. We love and advocate for women’s empowerment due to the failure of men to live up to their purpose. We have partnered with Convoy of Hope because of their great success with their program.

But, if we truly want to change homes, communities, and countries, we have to reach the men.

Man Up and Go invites you to join in the journey to create less orphans and more families through our Reach, Equip, and Release strategies:

  • Reach – we have partnered with local churches through our conferences and events in reaching men with the gospel and inviting them to learn the skills in becoming a good husband, father, and community leader.
  • Equip – our desire is to see every man live the dream God has birthed in his heart. By empowering the local churches, we are providing resources for classrooms, small groups, and mentoring opportunities for education, job creation, health care, spiritual and family development.
  • Release – our prayer is to raise up a generation of men who will teach their sons through their living example about what it means to love God and others. To be a servant leader in their home, church, and community.

Think back to my original word picture in the start of this article. Imagine you received a tip that the next great CEO, President of the United States, scientist with the cure for cancer, physician capable of healing the most rarest of diseases, evangelist capable of leading thousands to the Lord – or even the next Nelson Mandela, Billy Graham, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John D. Rockefeller was in your reach of influence?

Would you take them under your wing?

Would you give them a shot at accomplishing their greatest potential?

Would you believe in them?

The truth is, the field is ripe with potential. Just like Seabiscuit, each boy or man currently benefiting from Man Up and Go has what it takes. They just need the proper training and an opportunity.

It’s a big prayer request, but we believe in a big God who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever dream of.

Would you like to join us in helping save families and raising up a generation of world changers?  Man Up and Go has partnered with caring people like you to provide for men, women, and children to make a better tomorrow by loving and protecting the fatherless. Together, we can encourage the world to follow God’s design for the family and provide lasting and healthy homes for every child.

Through your gift today you will help many families to stay together. There’s never been a better time to make a gift, so don’t wait! Please use our DONATE page today for your tax-deductible gift.