This is a busy season for our ministry. We have sent 23 people to Africa over two different trips in the last two months; 10 guys are finishing up our initial RAGBRAI missions trip, a 475 mile bike ride across Iowa to bring awareness to the plight of the orphan Man Up style; and we our sending out our first ever team to Central America on Tuesday.
In addition to these trips, God is doing so much more behind the scenes. Man Up and Go is now an official 501(c)3 ministry; we have a new website we are about to launch; and most importantly, we are seeing tremendous progress in Africa with our ministry partners.
Since 2011, we have sent 13 teams to Africa to serve orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27). Over that time, we have ministered to over 8000 orphans and 1000 widows or single mothers. Our mission has been simple – LOVE BIG. Love big on orphans, love big on single mothers, love big on the fatherless. No real agenda, just be the hands and feet of Jesus.
As our ministry partners have come to trust us and we them, relationships have blossomed and friendships have been born, cultivated, and strengthened. We have been tasked with more and more responsibility, in large part because of our commitment to the mission – to “Man Up” to our God-given privileges as sons and daughters of God. Man Up and Go isn’t necessarily a mantra for men – it’s an attitude that drips and sweats Philippians 4:13, regardless of gender:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
We are Christians committed to the GO! of Matthew 28:19:
Go therefore into all nations…
The Christian experience isn’t just about bible studies and coffee shops, home groups and church sleepovers. To be sure, those experiences are good and important for the fully-orbed believer. But, the GO! command of Jesus forces us outside the walls of our churches and Christian circles, and into the huts and unpaved roads where the fatherless dwell. This call haunts us at Man Up and Go and thus we plow forward, tilling the ground, sowing seed, putting in work, in hopes that a harvest is around the corner.
This is really what’s so exciting about this time period in our organization. The seeds planted from the past 13 trips have been nurtured and watered by our pastor partners in Africa, and the tiny buds of fruit are beginning to show. Men are coming to Christ in our conferences, women are learning to provide for their families after having been abandoned by their husbands, and children are getting food and education that they didn’t have four years ago.
Of course, these successes have very little to do with us. We have simply overheard a call similar to the one Isaiah heard in chapter 6 of the book he wrote:
Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Who can I send? Who will go for us?”
So I said, “Here I am. Send me!”
The sovereign Lord of the Universe is responsible for all good things, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him above (James 1:17). But when His people are listening for His call and are willing to act, then the gates of Hell are pushed back, and the Kingdom of God continues to gain the ground in the foreordained purposes of God. Remember…
For we are God’s workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.
As we share more and more stories and pictures of what the Lord is doing in Africa and elsewhere in the coming months, we hope that you will continue to pray with us, that we might see the number of orphans in the world decreased, and the number of families built increased. Please pray for us, pray for those with whom we interact, and ask that God will sustain us as we pick up our harvesting tools. The trees are starting the bear fruit in our ministry; the fields are bringing forth food.
May we be ready for its yield.