Dominican Republic Partners Visit the U.S.

We recently had the privilege of hosting our Dominican Republic partners, Pastor Kendar Robles and his wife Hozanna, in our Clearwater (FL) office. Kendar pastors Iglesia Bautista Getsemani in Santo Domingo and Hozanna directs a children’s education and formation ministry, Centro Cristiano de Capacitación y Ayuda Infantil (CECCAI, for short), out of the church. Together they serve as our Dominican Republic partner. If you sponsor a child in the Dominican Republic, then it is Kendar and Hozanna who have direct contact and impact with your child.

While Kendar and his wife were in the Clearwater area, they spoke in several different venues with hopes of securing more sponsors for the children they serve. Kendar and Hozanna have been serving for 20 years in Los Tres Brazos, specifically focusing on the “basurero,” or trash dump community, where many are living in destitute poverty on top of a marshland of trash.

We’re thankful to have been given so many opportunities and venues to allow them to share their story. We’re grateful for church and community partners like Building 28, Calvary Church, Religious Community Services, and others who welcomed them with open arms.

It is an honor for us to partner with Kendar and Hozanna and be a part of securing the food and education for some of the most vulnerable children living in the Dominican Republic. Please continue to pray for them and with us as we seek more sponsors to come alongside of these children.

Authentic Masculinity Program – Phase 2 Rolled Out in Uganda

Recently we led a small team to Uganda, headed by Luke Sawyer, our Director of Operations, to spend time with the 57 men who are currently enrolled in our Authentic Masculinity Program. This trip was a huge encouragement to us as Luke and the team were able to sit with almost all of the 57 men, many of their wives and families as well, and hear about the growth and benefits of their first three months in the program.

Over the course of the preceding three months the men spent time walking through Biblical Masculinity with our Authentic Masculinity Coordinators. Some of the feedback includes the following:

“For the last 27 years down the road in history I had never told my woman ‘I love you’…through this program of Man Up and Go I came to realize telling my woman ‘I love you’ is a need. Love cannot be of any use when you don’t express it with one another.” – Kiko Grace, Jinja Cohort

One of the wives made the following comments:

“I have seen a number of changes (in my husband). First in how much time he spends with me and our children. Since the program began I have seen a change in how much time he spends with us as well as how much he is helping with family chores. He has been helping with the cooking, the laundry, and cleaning the house, which has never happened before.” – wife of Wandera Ema, Bulangira Cohort

Luke and the team launched the men into the second phase of the program, which focuses on sustainable business from a Christian perspective. These men will be walking through the process identifying and addressing the root causes of poverty, asset mapping their communities in search of material and human resources, crafting and developing their business plans, and ultimately identifying what income generating activities (IGA) are at their disposal. At the end of these next three months they will apply for a loan and start investing in their provision for their families.

Please pray for these men, their families, and their growth in Christ as they seek to live out Authentic Masculinity and protect and provide for their families.

November 24th – 2nd Annual Fall Football Fling Thing

Save the date! If you live in the Tampa area, we invite you to join us at our 2nd Annual Fall Football Fling Thing to be held at Glory Days in Palm Harbor, November 24th.

It’s Rivalry Weekend, so we’ll be cheering right along with you as we watch our favorite teams get after it on the gridiron. Enjoy good food and beverage with friends and family as we celebrate the ministry by raising funds to fight for the fatherless while watching our favorite games.

We’ll be giving away prizes throughout the day and the BIG BOARD will be back! You’ll also get to experience an Immersion Experience you won’t want to miss. This event is FREE and you can have all you want to eat and drink (non-alcoholic)! Come any time between 3:30 – 10:00 PM.

RSVP to: RSVP (at) manupandgo.org, or call us at 727.266.0226 to let us know you’re coming.

Update on Incident in Uganda

We’re providing another update from the recent incident that occurred with our Man Up team in Uganda. You can read more about that HERE.

All we can say about this update is praise the Lord! We are happy to report that despite a brutal head-on collision with our team’s van that had lost its braking power, then hanging for another 100 meters or so before the emergency brake could be applied, Michael, the motorcyclist, only has a small skull fracture. The neurologist at the Kampala hospital informed Michael that as long as he avoids stressful situations for the next month or so and controls the swelling with medication that he should have a full recovery. (Below is Michael being released from the hospital.)

It’s incredible to think that (1) Michael looks as though he will have no long-term damage after such a horrific accident, and (2)  that he happened to be from the same tribe as our driver’s, Pastor Andrew, wife Juliet. This helped alleviate concerns and calmed a mob-like crowd who wanted to show mob-justice to what that thought was a hit-and-run crime. Thankfully, by God’s grace, the only real damage done was to the man’s boda boda (motorcycle) and to our van, both of which can be fixed.

While fixing the boda turned out to be pretty easy (about $200), unfortunately the van is a little more extensive. Below is a copy of the estimate for the bill, just over 5,000,000 Ugandan shillings (over $1300 U.S.). Along with Michael’s medical expenses and paying for his missed time at work, Man Up is now on the hook for at least an extra $1500.

Obviously this was not in our budget. If you would like to help us cover these expenses – Michael’s boda boda, his medical expenses, or our van expenses – we would be very grateful. You may do so by going HERE and choosing “Home Again Ministry” from the drop-down menu.

Thank you again for your prayers and for your support during this time. The good news is that the report back from our Director of Operations is the team is having a very productive trip capturing stories and implementing Phase 2 of our Authentic Masculinity Program. We give God praise for His loving provision!

Thank You for Your Prayers

Yesterday we put out a prayer request on all of our social media channels and we want to thank you for praying! We are certain it was you prayers that helped diffuse what was a potentially explosive situation for our team members in Uganda. Now that we feel our team is safe, here is what occurred.

On Wednesday, October 3, a team of 3 Man Uppers, including our Director of Operations, was traveling with our partner in a van from the airport in Entebbe, Uganda, to Eastern rural Uganda where we would be interacting with our Authentic Masculinity Cohorts and doing projects to help with the children at Kerith Children’s Home.

At some point mid-morning there was a loud “pop” in the van and the driver, our friend Pastor Andrew, realized that the brakes had stopped working. After weaving in and out of traffic frantically, the van was about to collide head-on with a tractor-trailer truck. At this point, Andrew weaved right to avoid this collision and unfortunately hit a motorcyclist (a boda boda) head-on instead. The man’s head shattered the windshield and our team thought he would surely be dead.

Instead, he was alive and able to hang on to the grill of the van for some 50-100 meters as Pastor Andrew was able to get the emergency brake to stop the vehicle. A large crowd immediately formed around the van, shaking it angrily. As you can imagine, from on onlookers vantage point, it looked like a hit-and-run (common in Uganda), or possibly even a terrorist attack. The crowd had no way to know the truth, that the brakes went out.

The crowd pulled Pastor Andrew out of the van and were intent on stoning him (many of the men had grabbed stones). Our team jumped into action praying for the situation. Thankfully, the police were nearby and after a half-hour, were able to convince the angry  mob that mob justice was not an issue. In cultures of mob retribution and retaliation, the law is oftentimes irrelevant.

A precious man in the crowd who saw the truth was able to guide our team to his vehicle and transport the team to the police station. After several hours, our team was sent on its way and Pastor Andrew stayed behind with his wife to sort out the details with the man who was hit on the boda boda.

By God’s grace and sovereignty, Pastor Andrew’s wife happened to be of the same tribe as the young man on the boda. It also turned out that the man’s mother went to the same church as Pastor Andrew’s wife’s sister – wow! Because of these tribal and faith connections, and because of the prayers of the saints, the situation resolved amicably. Man Up paid for the young man’s CT scan at the hospital and also for the repair of his boda boda, which unbelievably was not totaled in the accident.

At the time of this blog post, we are still awaiting the results of the CT scan, but Man Up will be sure to help this man on his road to recovery in whatever way we can. If you’re interested in helping cover his medical expenses or the cost of his boda repair, you may do so HERE.

With all this being said, our team, though shaken, is strong and vigilant. They understand the gravity of the situation and are very thankful for the prayers being offered up on their behalf. One of our biggest concerns was that mob justice would potentially revisit the team once they left the police headquarters; this, thankfully, did not happen. The Lord is gracious and compassionate and He hears the prayers of the saints!

The team has now moved on to their destination in eastern rural Uganda and have had a great day interacting with the men in one of our Authentic Masculinity Cohorts there. The devil doesn’t want this work to move forward, but the Lord has different plans – we are overcomers in Him! Continue to pray for our team there. We will keep you updated on our social media channels regarding the boda boda driver as we know more.

(one of our Authentic Masculinity Cohort members in rural eastern Uganda)