As a kid we all want to explore and play outside. Even in a world of video games and virtual reality children still want to go outside and play. Our foster families have so many children they are caring for and sometimes the kids need an outlet for all their energy!
With COVID-19 dominating the news and restricting travel the past year, the focus of Man Up and Go has, in some respects, turned domestic. However, our programs internationally are still in operation, even if hampered somewhat by Coronavirus restrictions.
Man Up recently sent a team to East Africa as part of their Climbing Kili for the Kids trip, giving them a chance to reconnect with our partners there in person for the first time since March of 2020. Here’s a quick summary:
Ethiopia Authentic Masculinity Program (AMP) Update
Our CEO travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was able to meet the 7 men enrolled in AMP for the first time. In this inaugural Cohort batch, what impressed him the most was the camaraderie which had formed among the men.
“We went to lunch with these men and had them share their experiences with AMP. Each of the seven men talked about the brotherhood that had developed among the group, saying it was something they’d never had before,” said Jeff Ford, Man Up CEO.
During a global pandemic in which so many restrictions and mandates of isolation have been handed down, we count this as a huge victory for these men and for the reduction of fatherlessness in the future. The enemy wants us isolated, but strength is found in the community of God’s people. These men are more equipped than ever to handle life’s challenges and the temptation to abdicate personal responsibility when the going gets tough.
Jeff also had a chance to meet with Man Up AMP Coordinators Sami and Tamirat. Tamirat is in charge of teaching the men and Sami oversees the administration of the program. Despite a number of challenges, we are proud of these men and give God thanks for all they’re doing to pour into and equip men to lead during these tumultuous times.
Side note, if you’re ever in Addis Ababa, make sure you head to Kaldi’s Coffee Shop…after all, the Ethiopians founded the coffee bean.
Uganda AMP Update
The team met up in Entebbe and from there drove about 6 hours east (and a little north) to the village town of Pallisa. Here they met up with Man Up’s AMP Coordinator Eliazar and visited several of the men’s businesses that had been started with the microloan from Man Up. The challenges were greater here, as police strictly enforced social distancing laws and curfews (sometimes with canings and jailings). Despite this, several of the men were thriving in various businesses:
Casava (common food) Production
The following day the men spent time with Geofery, Man Up AMP Coordinator in Kibuku and Bulangira. They had a chance to visit with 35 men enrolled in Man Up’s AMP there, saying a few words of encouragement as well.
After that they were able to visit some of the projects from these men:
Moses has produced over 30,000 bricks, 3 times the area average
Roman used his loan to invest in materials to make motorcycle seat covers
Other men invested in what was already life-sustaining in their communities – animals
Even Mushrooms (not an animal, but still pretty cool)
We believe God has put an innate desire in man to provide for his family. Sometimes the woman is the breadwinner, but in Africa, it’s nearly always the man. Equipping these men with microloans and the mental and spiritual fortitude to pay them back is preventing more children from growing up fatherless, and for this we give God praise.
Child Sponsorship Update
Finally, the men were able to check in with the children and Kerith Children’s Home. Although their time was short – and although the gifts from sponsors were on a baggage delay from Amsterdam – the men report the children were doing great!
Since they didn’t have the sponsor gifts (don’t worry, they eventually got there), they popped into town and brought sandals and matoke (banana) as substitutes.
The men got their African dance on with the kiddos too (don’t judge the skill level):
For those who sponsor kids at Kerith, seeing them is always a treat:
Because of the travel restrictions in the world due to COVID-19, the trip was a difficult one logistically. We’re thankful God allowed our men to make the visit and to see how He continues to move around the world, even in a pandemic.
For the second time in three years, Man Up and Go sent a team to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa. They also visited Man Up’s ministry partners in Uganda and our CEO was able to spend some time in Ethiopia with partners there as well. In all, the trip was a tremendous success!
Why Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
On the surface, climbing the world’s tallest free-standing mountain has nothing to do with orphan care. But when viewed holistically, it actually makes perfect sense.
One of the foundational verses Man Up hangs its hat on is found in John 10:10, where Jesus says, “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” In God’s infinite wisdom and perhaps for reasons known only to Him (at least fully), He has put in the heart of man a desire to explore and subdue the world around him. We know this from the very first chapter of Genesis, where God said, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it!” (v. 28).
What does “fill the earth” mean if not GO explore it? What does “subdue it” mean if not to MAN UP over it and in some capacity, bring glory to God?
Lest you think that’s a stretch, remember what happened at the tower of Babel…man disobeyed God’s original command to “fill the earth” and instead chose to settle down and build a tower to the heavens (Genesis 11:4). In fact, their reasoning in part was because they didn’t want to be “scattered across the face of the entire earth” (v. 4).
Yet that’s exactly what God wanted. And since God always gets what He wants, he confused their language and “the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth” (Genesis 11:8).
While climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t a direct takeaway from God’s intent for mankind, the revelation of who He created us to be helps explain why we desire to explore; to create; to make; to name. All of this is from a Creator God who by the very essence of who He is, pioneers something new.
Why All the Theology?
Why do we lay the groundwork of theology? Because at Man Up and Go:
We believe everything begins with, is sustained by, and ends with an almighty powerful Deity who created human beings as His highest and greatest achievement;
We believe He personally loves that which He created;
And we believe that when His created beings love Him back by doing things His way, everything in life aligns.
This is the bedrock of why we operate – without it, nothing else makes sense.
Since we believe Jesus is this “almighty powerful Deity,” when He says He came to give His created beings “abundant life,” we at Man Up take His word for it. Since the mountain is there, why not climb it?
A 2019 Climbing Kili trip participant said during his experience, “Absence of challenge degrades a man’s soul.” The reality is – the challenge is found in trusting God when He says, “Spread out on the earth and subdue it,” versus settling down and playing it safe. The mountain is an opportunity in our 21st century world to experience what those first few humans must’ve experienced as they set out to explore the world and make their mark on it, just like God asked.
It’s an opportunity to live out John 10:10.
Fighting for the Fatherless
Theology continues to ground us in the second reason we climb, and for most folks, the more practical reason – to raise funds in our fight for the fatherless. Not only are we fighting for the fatherless (Isaiah 1:17), but we’re practicing biblical generosity by personally giving or raising dollars to fund the mission (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Although we only had 5 participants, the organization netted about $15,000 that will fund projects like those mentioned in this short video below:
We believe trips like these, when done in humility and reverence for our King, honor Him and help others. That’s why we’re doing it again in 2023. If you’ve ever wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, here’s your chance. Fill out the application now and start your fundraising – you won’t regret this decision!
Climbing Kili not your speed? What about taking a week to ride 500 miles across the state of Iowa on your bike? RAGBRAI is back for 2021, and if you’re a cycling enthusiast who wants to cycle for a purpose, make sure you log on to our trip interest Zoom on March 25 at 8:30 PM EST.
As we settle into 2021, we at Man Up and Go want you to know that God is opening doors only He can open. Just like the Apostle Paul had doors open to him in ministry (1 Corinthians 16:9), the same is happening to us as we look to prevent fatherlessness right here in the United States. While we cannot go into details just yet, please know we’re working hard behind the scenes to break the chains of generational fatherlessness like never before.
The reality is we have a different kind of pandemic going on in our world: fatherlessness. 80% of single parent households are headed by women. We’ve simply made it too easy for men to walk away from their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. The programs we’re implementing later this year will address this issue head-on, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
In the meantime, we’re looking for mentors all over the country who are willing to give of themselves for about 5 hours a month. If you would be interested in becoming a mentor for a young man who has aged out from foster care, please fill out this
short form. This will help us keep you in the loop as more info becomes available.
Enjoy the rest of this February update, and please let us know how we can be praying for you.
Jeff Ford, CEO Isaiah 1:17
Check out the current numbers above from ourMan Up 100 program. For those who aren’t yet aware, Man Up 100 is designed to recruit 100 men in a given area to serve and support foster and adoptive children and families.
Man Up’s impact in serving and supporting foster and adoptive children and families continues to grow. This past month we had several special deliveries of food and diapers to many of the awesome foster families enrolled in our Adopt a Family program. Check out some of these smiling faces (we promise the kiddos are smiling under those hearts too!).
We’re also pretty good at setting up play toys for our families like this trampoline pictured above, which is always a welcome addition! Any time the kiddos can get some fresh air (even if it’s 3 degrees?), it’s a win for foster mom and dad.
Did you donate to Man Up and Go last year? You should’ve received your tax statement from us either in your inbox or in your physical mail box. If you didn’t, please email us or call us at: 727.266.0226 and let us know.
It’s been tough for our international Authentic Masculinity Program (AMP) Cohorts during the pandemic. Recently our Cohort Coordinators in Uganda met in person and reported the following:
Because of restrictions by the government, the men were not allowed to meet in-person for several months.
Harsh methods by the government in Uganda – including caning and imprisonment – made starting/growing businesses challenging.
The inability to meet made it difficult for our men’s businesses to market and attract new customers.
Despite these setbacks, the men are hopeful. We know God has called men to protect and provide for th r families, and in developing nations, economic opportunity is often limited. The Man Up program has provided stability and optimism, even in a pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopia Cohort has learned to adapt – meeting outdoors, adjusting meeting times, and adjusting business proposals. Thankfully, just recently the men finally completed their business plans and received their loans. This after nearly 1 full year of participating in and completing Phase 1 and 2 (it should’ve taken 6 months, but for a pandemic).
Here are some of the businesses they’re starting: Coffee, honey,, cow butter, shoe wholesaler, shoe retailer and etc.
Believe it or not, we are sending a small team to East Africa this week. Yes, it’s been incredibly difficult to meet all the necessary COVID-19 protocols. However, rather than looking at them as setbacks, the 6 men in this team are looking at it as an opportunity to grow!
They will be once again climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and visiting our partners overseas. If you are a child sponsor and sent in your child sponsor gift, our guys will be delivering it next week some time.
Thank you for praying for our team as they travel.