#PRAY127 07.27.20

Man Up and Go, like all organizations, has faced tremendous challenges in 2020. Thankfully we have an incredible team of Board Members that are helping to steer and navigate these uncertain times. Truly, they are only uncertain inasmuch as we don’t know the details – we do, however, know the God who holds everything together by His powerful Word.

Speaking of His Word, I love this verse in Proverbs:

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

Safety is a beautiful place to be. Not in the sense of completely eliminating risk, but in having confidence in who holds your destiny.

This is why having such God-fearing and Jesus-loving Board Members makes such a difference. I’m convinced it’s the reason Man Up is making any impact in the world at all. We have men and women leading the charge who are committed to God, committed to the Scriptures, and committed to the commands therein.

Here are the current members:

Mark is our current Board Chair. He’s the President of OneSource Insurance Group in Nixa, MO. He is married to his beautiful wife Stephanie and they have two children, Brynn and Maddox, and an adopted child from China, Tobias.

Eric is our current Board Secretary. He lives near the Quad Cities (IL side) and is married to Shannon and has 3 children (Gabrielle, Elijah, and Carver). He works in a leadership role for Athletico Physical Therapy in Eastern Iowa.

Jason lives in Clearwater, FL with his wife (Janna) and children (Will, Kylie, and Braden). He is a founder in The Sports Facilities Management, The Sports Facilities Advisory, Empower Adventures Tampa Bay, and Empower Adventures Middleburg.

Stephen has been married to his dream girl, Wynne, for almost 13 years. They have 2 precious little ones, adopted from Ethiopia, Camp and Asher, both 7. Stephen lives in Bryan Texas, is an entrepreneur, and loves his Lord and Savior.

Laney is a clinical social worker with experience working in Florida’s foster care system. She and her husband Matt are currently foster parents because of their passion for helping restore biological families and protect vulnerable children.

Craig is married to Kimberly, his wife of over 23 years and they have 3 boys; Braden, Dawson and Dylan. Craig is VP of Sales at OneSource Insurance Group and serves his clients as “Mr. Insurance.”

Jim is the only Treasurer Man Up has ever had. He is a 50 something father of 4 kids, husband to Nancy for 29 years (yes, she’s a strong woman), avid runner, and lover of the Lord – striving to do more than just exist in the time God has given.

Matt is our current Vice Chairman and will take over as Board Chair in 2021. He lives in Clearwater, Florida with his wife Amy and their three children. He works in Regulatory Compliance at ClearCaptions and serves in his local church at Lakeside Community Chapel.

Shane and Sarah, his wife of over 20 years, make their home in Clearwater, FL with their three children: Simone (14), Anthony (8; born in Bethlehem while the family was serving in Jerusalem), and Sophia (6).

Luke served as the Director of Operations for Man Up and Go before coming on the Board. He now works as a Chaplain in various baseball settings. He is married to Abbie and they just had their 4th child earlier in 2020.

Raul is the Owner and Founder of Ignite Chiropractic in Palm Harbor, FL. He is married to his wife Jessica and has four beautiful children, Adriana, Aria, Atlas and Asa.

Vicki has been married over 30 years to her high school sweetheart (Tom) and is the mother of 2 boys (Zachary & Logan). She was born and raised in beautiful Clearwater, Florida. She attends and serves at Calvary Church and works full time at Bouchard Insurance.

I didn’t have time to give their whole bios, but you can read them HERE.

For today’s #PRAY127 request, would you please pray for a couple of things:

  1. Please pray for one or more of our Board Members. Pray that they would have a rich relationship with Jesus, one that inspires and convicts them to love their families and communities well.
  2. Pray for our upcoming season of Board nominations and reviews. We would love to be more diverse as a Board, not just in gender and ethnicity, but also in skillset and wisdom.

Thank you again for your concerted and consistent effort in praying for this work God has given us. We couldn’t do it without you!

Regards,
Jeff Ford, CEO
Isaiah 1:17

P.S. Please pass this email on to those who might be interested in praying with us each Monday. They can sign up to receive these emails here: https://manupandgo.org/pray127.

Clearing Brush in Nixa

Earlier this month we found out about a foster family in Nixa, MO, who had recently moved into a new-to-them home to help with more space for their growing family. This past weekend we partnered with with youth group at Lifepoint Church in Ozark, MO, and braved the heat to help clear brush for this foster family.

A couple of hours of work but a huge impact and result. Thanks to our Co-Chairman Dustin for leading the charge on this important project and helping a family who is selflessly helping the kids in the Nixa/Ozark/Springfield area!

Check out the photos below:

Mid-Year Review

Depending on your individual circumstances and whether or not you’re a half-glass full or half-glass empty kind of person, 2020 has proved to be either incredibly challenging or an opportunity to grow.

For Man Up, it’s been both. Because of COVID-19, we’ve had to cancel trips for all of 2020 and miss out on two fundraisers. But on the “opportunity to grow” side, we have seen the Lord open up door after door this Spring to fight for the fatherless in own backyard.

  • In April, Man Up volunteers delivered over 12,600 chicken tenders to 237 foster families in the Tampa Bay area at a time when uncertainty and quarantining was at its peak.
  • In May, our Man Up 100 Cohort in Springfield, MO, partnered with Hillbilly Smokers to feed 300 foster parents and children in a drive-thru line at North Point Church.
  • We wrote and received a $5000 grant from the Tampa Bay Rays/Rowdies to feed foster families and provide housing security via rent or utility assistance.
  • We gave away a brand new 2021 Elantra to a single foster mom (of 9 when we first met her!) who takes in the kids no one else wants.

I could go on. Just know that as we continue to operate our international initiatives – to ENGAGE the fatherless through child sponsorship, EMPOWER single mothers through Fair Trade, and EQUIP men to lead through our Authentic Masculinity Program – we are also fighting for the fatherless currently sitting in the child welfare system right here in the U.S.A.

God has sustained us this far, and we are believing Him to continue to expand our footprint at home. If you believe in fighting for the fatherless either at home or abroad, we invite you to help us fuel the fight this summer during a time when donations traditionally lag.

We do this work because Jesus tells us to – thank you for standing with us!

Sincerely,

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Jeff Ford, CEO

Isaiah 1:17

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#PRAY127 07.20.20

The Apostle Paul wrote some things that are just hard plain to gulp down. On the one hand, he seems like the super Apostle to which no one could ever measure up. But on the other, if you really read his writings, he did not view himself as “super.” Perhaps therein lies the power.

For instance, in 2 Corinthians 11:30, he wrote, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” Later when asking the Lord to remove the “thorn” from his flesh (whatever that was), he wrote,

In American culture, maybe the hardest thing to do is admit weakness. We exalt strength, excellence, vigor, determination, perseverance, and glory. Yet Paul said if he was going to “glory,” he would glory in those things about himself that were weak. Why? So that Christ could be front and center as his strength and key to walking in victory.

The reality is that each of us are gifted in some areas and not so gifted in others. Some things we naturally endure, others we don’t. Even when it has nothing to do with “giftings” and is simply an issue of temptation, we often act as though nothing could make us fall…we have it all under control. But do we really? My guess is most of us resonate with the idea projecting a façade to a watching world that belies the inner turmoil with which we wrestle.

That’s what you have to love about Paul. He boasted in Jesus, which means mean that power rested on him even to admit his weaknesses. He didn’t have it all together; he knew it, and he verbally shared it. My guess is he wouldn’t have had the biggest selfie presence on Instagram.

All of that by way of introduction to today’s #PRAY127 request. We have to admit some weakness and thereby boast in Christ as our strength. I learned on Friday that one of our Coordinators had used some funds designated for one project to instead help several families in need of basic necessities. His intention was to provide loans for these needy families and pay it back to the original account, but the families, as of Friday, had paid nothing back.

In this particular culture (and I’m leaving out specifics on purpose), “designated” funds are not a high priority.

For instance, if $1000 was given for a building project, they would think nothing of it to spend

$800 on the house and the other $200 on food or rent or whatever else they need to survive (or help others survive). In their minds, they were fully faithful in their use of those funds. After all, how important is a building if you can’t live in it from starvation?

For Americans, if we give $1000 towards a building project, we are protected by IRS giving laws in ways that we can be reasonably confident that every dollar given pays for some bricks and mortar. As a 501(c)3, we have a specific accounting software that helps us track designated giving. It’s something we as a culture take very seriously. (Probably because one of our idols in America is money, but that’s a different prayer request!)

What to do?

Thankfully, this coordinator told us the truth about what happened. As he was feeling guilty about his actions, it leads me to believe that sin was committed, factoring culture out of the equation. I believe this has to do more about failing to tell me than it does the actual use of the funds. In cross cultural work, sometimes it’s hard to get the exact meaning.

But in telling me, he was obeying Scripture – “Confess your sins one to another” (James 5:16).

You know what the other half of James 5:16 says? It says, “Pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

So we come to you now, our faithful team of prayer partners. Will you please pray for us as leadership in the Man Up organization so that we know how to deal with our brother? The Scriptures also say, “If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). We want to deal with him graciously, humbly, knowing that we were once “dead in trespasses” and sins. Who of us hasn’t sinned? 

Of course we know that all of our decisions have consequences, good or bad. The money is not a large amount to Americans – maybe $450. But in this culture, that might be 4-6 months of wages. It’s significant. Please pray for this brother, who is no doubt experiencing relief from confession but now must wait out the next steps. We love him and his family so much. 

Today we are boasting in our weaknesses so that Christ’s strength may make us strong, united, one in Him. Thank you for seeing this organization and this mission as it is – fraught with human frailty and not always hitting the mark. Pray we would always love Jesus and always make Him first.  

Regards,
Jeff Ford, CEO
Isaiah 1:17

P.S. Please pass this email on to those who might be interested in praying with us each Monday. They can sign up to receive these emails here: https://manupandgo.org/pray127.

#PRAY127 07.13.20

I hope this email finds you well. As the cases for COVID-19 increase around the country, and in some places dramatically (like where we’re based in the Tampa Bay, FL area), it seems we are all grasping about trying to find our way in this “new normal” of masks, social distancing, and quarantining.

With all of the navigating, the reality remains that the children removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect are doing a navigating of a different kind, as they learn what their “new normal” is away from their biological mom and/or dad.

Later today our team will be handing out over 800 meals to foster families in the Tampa Bay area. In partnership with the Grace Family Church (Lutz, FL), World Vision, and the USDA, we have secured boxes of fresh perishables that will help keep these kiddos fed.

For the next 8 Mondays, we’ll be handing out these boxes of fresh food to families all over the Bay area (seriously, if you saw the map of we’re they’re coming from, it literally covers hundreds of square miles!).

Will you please take a minute to look over the below list and pick out a name or two and for your #PRAY127 commitment today, just say a quick prayer? Prayer for them, pray for their biological children, pray for their foster children…pray that God gives them strength and wisdom to endure tenuous times.

Karen Sarah Alvin Karen Waleska Cindy André Nichole Mandee Dominique Sue  Michelle  EILEEN  Jenny  Clare  Pamela Wendy  Meagan  Sharon   Ginger   Jessica Marie Lynn Sorymal Adrianne Laura Missy  Heather  Mishel  Jessica  Myra  Traci  Cassie Christine Shannon Karen Emily Amy  Kelly  Jolene  Diana  Teaira  Cheryl  Denise Alicia Jenn Lori Serena Roberta Melodie  Tawana  Tricia  Katya  CherylI  Neabelle April JoAnn Sarah Crystal Beatrice Hali Hannah Amber  Yvonne  Alyssa  Wilma  Amy  Jennifer  Kara  Paula  Regina  Amanda  Jacqueline   Eleanor   Chelsey Kyle  Shari  Lee  Anne  Jessica   Jessica   Tantanisha   Tabitha   Tammy  Rebecca Grace Lori Melissa Brittany Lindsey  Karyn  Rosemary  Maggie  Lola  Coryn Denasyquita Whitney Katie Monica Nicole Larmie Cherie Shernette  Kelly  Marcy  Renee Nacole Jennifer Kimberly  Adrian  Pamela  Deborah  Ammiejane  Martha Veronica Brittany Vanessa Jamie Krisi

As always, we covet your prayers, we know God hears them, and we believe in their power. May the Lord bless you mightily today as you seek His face!

Regards,
Jeff Ford, CEO
Isaiah 1:17

P.S. Please pass this email on to those who might be interested in praying with us each Monday. They can sign up to receive these emails here: https://manupandgo.org/pray127.

#PRAY127 07.06.20

Thank you once again for standing with us in prayer this Monday. This morning I was messaging our AMP Coordinator in Ethiopia, Sami.

Not that I would receive a reply, as Ethiopia has shut down the Internet across the country. (This is typical whenever there is any kind of unrest.) I messaged him primarily because I wanted him to know that there were those of us in the United States who were praying for him, the men in the program, and the country of Ethiopia at large. Hopefully he’ll be able to receive the message soon!

So what should you be praying for specifically? Why is the country shut down?

In short, just like we have racial tensions in the U.S., there are tribal tensions in Ethiopia. For decades, the Oromo people have claimed oppression from stronger political forces within the Ethiopia government. One of the Oromiyan political activists, a well-known singer who sang about the oppression in his songs, was murdered while driving in his car last week in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Since then, over 80 people have died in protests and the government has shut down communications in the entire country. This is a common tactic to squash potential rebellions or mobilization among its citizens.

For Sami and our men meeting in the Authentic Masculinity Program, it means another hurdle to cross as they’ve been dealing with COVID-19 and the uncertainties of meeting in a place where folks do not have as much access to testing.

As you can see from last week’s meeting, the men were meeting in small groups, wearing masks provided by our Fair Trade partner, Carry 117, and were practicing social distancing. The had just completed “Man as Worker” and “Man as Husband” in the curriculum, learning how to be God’s men in those areas.

Will you please pray specifically for Sami, the men, and the entire nation of Ethiopia this morning? Please pray God’s peace upon the people and wisdom for its leadership. I am amazed at how hopeless the world seems right now if it were not for my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the solid rock on which I stand.

Regards,
Jeff Ford, CEO
Isaiah 1:17

P.S. Please pass this email on to those who might be interested in praying with us each Monday. They can sign up to receive these emails here: https://manupandgo.org/pray127.