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.
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.
2020 didn’t go like we thought it would. But really – does any year ever go like we think it will? In light of God’s complete sovereignty and absolute control over even the slightest detail (check out Isaiah 46:9-10), I’d like to submit to you that 2020 went exactly the way God wanted it.
The pandemic? Check.
The financial hardships? Check.
The job losses? Check.
The deaths? As hard as it is for our human brains to understand, even the deaths were ordained by God. (People are destined to die once and then face God – Hebrews 9:27).
All of life is in the Creator’s and Sustainer’s hands. And while we may have predicted something different for this year, the God this organization serves trusts that everything He does is for our ultimate good and His ultimate pleasure.
Yes, even in 2020.
With that in mind, we hope you enjoy Man Up and Go‘s 2020 Top 10 Moments below.