February 2021 Update

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.

Regards,


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 rang in the new year by putting up a privacy fence and gate to a backyard for another foster family. Anyone who’s had kids under 2 knows this is a mission critical project. ©

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.

We continue to praise God for all that He’s doing in and through theAuthentic Masculinity Program.

#PRAY127 12.14.20

Instead of a prayer request, what a great praise report we have this week! Check out what the Lord did last week at our Fall Football Fling Thing – over $35,000 raised to fight for the fatherless. Wow!

We’re asking you to join with us this week in praise and adoration towards our very good Heavenly Father, who sees what we need before ask.

We’re also asking you to pray for those who sponsored the event (listed below), because they believed enough in us and the mission God has given us to help fund the event so that everything raised at the event could go towards our programs that fight fatherlessness. 

Amen, amen, amen! 

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 11.30.20

This is a take-your-pick kind of week as you pray for the ministry of Man Up and Go.

Coming off of a Thanksgiving where, despite the challenges of 2020, we have much for which to be thankful, we look towards the first week of December as we have three meaningful events scheduled.

  • Wednesday, December 2 is our Man Up 100 Tampa Bay quarterly gathering . Please pray that we might continue to recruit men to the cause of fighting for the fatherless. Currently we have 60 men enrolled for the current term. We have 21 foster families that we serve every single month, which means 70 kids are impacted. The more men we have to serve, the more families we can help.
  • Saturday, December 5 is our Man Up 100 Springfield (MO) quarterly gathering. Just like in Tampa, we pray for more men to enroll. We have 25 officially in the Springfield cohort, but we know there are more men who need to join the fight.
  • Saturday, December 5 is also the date for our annual Fall Football Fling Thing in the Tampa Bay area. Due to COVID, we’ve changed venues to Keystone Ranch, a 4-acre outdoor ranch with plenty of social distancing opportunities. We’ve also made this an online event, as we’ll be streaming live both on Facebook and YouTube.

This is our one big fundraiser of the year. 2020 has definitely been a hard one in terms of raising funds, so please pray with us that God’s people are moved to give. Our goal is $25,000. We have a $10,000 match, which means we need to raise $15,000 this week. Tomorrow is #givingTuesday and we’re opening up the Big Board, so folks can give all this week.

Thank you for praying – we’re believing God for a big week!

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 11.23.20

This past weekend we had the privilege of delivering pre-cooked Thanksgiving meals to foster families and caregivers in our Tampa and SW Missouri locations.

In total,

Big shoutouts to GrowLife Church and First Baptist Church New Port Richey for teaming up on this project – we love seeing the body of Christ working out James 1:27 together!

One of the great challenges in life is to remember, internalize, and actually believe that no matter the circumstance, there is something for which we can be grateful. For kids – well, for most anyone – this can certainly be elusive. Kind of like a Bears’ Super Bowl victory. (Woe is me.)

But unlike this passing world and our life in it, a life which James says is “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes,” we can be sure that whatever God says will come to pass.

Peter wrote that “The word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:25), and the prophet Isaiah (40:7-8) before him wrote,


The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever

So when the Psalmist (118:1) writes, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever,” we can be sure that there is always something for which we can be grateful – His love.

It stands the test of time, it was here before us, and will be here long after we turn to grass.

Since this is the case, will you join us this Thanksgiving week in praying for the hearts of the families and children we serve, that they might all have an attitude of gratitude this season, rooted and grounded in Gospel love and the hope of a future where there will be no more tears, no more crying, no more pain, and no more sadness (Revelation 21:4)? What a future indeed!

You see some of their faces here. Thank you for this #PRAY127 request. Have a grateful Thanksgiving this year – yes, even in 2020!

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 11.16.20

There’s a verse I came upon recently in Galatians:

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another (Galatians 5:13, emphasis mine).

In America, it is natural and culturally acceptable to talk about freedom as perhaps life’s highest virtue. We abhor the idea of slavery and recoil at the thought that someone other than “self” might violate personal autonomy.

For example, how many times have we heard this – “It’s my life…I can do whatever I want!”?

In general, as Christians, freedom fits perfectly with our worldview, as we see here in Galatians 5

– we were called to freedom. Yet there’s a catch – we can’t use our freedom as an excuse to

indulge the flesh. That is to say, it’s my life but I can’t really “do whatever I want.”

In fact, what’s our freedom supposed to yield? Love demonstrated through serving each other.

Yet we in the West have taken the biblical ideal of freedom and turned it into a license for serving ourselves, not others.

Today, as I’m thinking about this verse…

  • I’m also thinking about the 18+ million fatherless kids just in the U.S. alone.
  • I’m also thinking about the 400,000 children who are in foster care right now.
  • I’m thinking about the 20,000 children who will age out of foster care this year without a family.
  • I’m thinking about how 70-90% of human trafficking victims have spent time in foster care.
  • I’m thinking about how the Super Bowl is not far away, and that many of those 20,000 will be prostituted out for the very first time, somehow convincing themselves that it’s okay because at least their traffickers give them a place to stay and put food in their belly.

In light of this, my #PRAY127 request this week for us is two fold:

  1. That we would pray for those in foster care today, that God might be a Father to the fatherless to them, as we know from Scripture He is.
  2. That the church would continue to wake up to this reality, and take serious the words in Galatians 5:13 – Serve one another in love.

Once again, we give God praise because of your prayers. Thank you. We are convinced they are effective and powerful (James 5:16)!

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 11.09.20

ast Monday I was participating in a charity event with Habitat for Humanity (okay, it was a golf tournament!), so that #PRAY127 request took a brief hiatus. However this week I’m happy to share the results of our first ever Awaken Tampa Bay event!

You’ll recall that we had spent nearly two years planning a Wait No More event with Focus on the Family that we had to cancel due to COVID-19. That was back in March of this year. After working with Focus to come up with an alternative, we decided to conduct Awaken Tampa Bay– Taking Up the Cause of the Fatherless, an online and in-person round-table discussion by experts in the foster care system.

If you missed this event, you can watch it on our Facebook page.

Although we only advertised it for just a couple of weeks, there was a strong showing of interest. We had about 80 in person attendees at Calvary Church, and another 300 who registered in some capacity online. Overall there were about 1100 views on the night of the event, and as of Monday November 9th, we’re up to nearly 2000 views!

Even more encouraging, of those who attended, here are those who expressed interest in:

  • Adoption – 12
  • Foster care – 9
  • Guardian ad Litem – 57
  • Supporting foster parents – 90

We are now in the process of following up with these families. Will you please pray that the Holy Spirit would convict? More so, since we know the Holy Spirit does convict, please pray that the Church of Jesus would respond in faith to this conviction.

It was an exciting evening that we pray continues to catalyze the Church in Tampa Bay and beyond. Psalm 31:3 says of the Lord, “For Your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;” our #PRAY127 request today is that He would do this for the Church around the area of fighting for the fatherless.

Thank you for praying friends. We love you so much!

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 10.26.20

Before I get to this week’s request, if you prayed for our Board Summit last week – thank you! We onboard 8 new board members and spent the majority of our time thinking about where God wants us 5 years from now. Primarily, we answered this idea: “When people are asked by someone about ‘Man Up’ in 5 years, they will respond, ‘Oh that’s the organization that…'”

Our time together was awesome! The Lord was with us and guiding us, and we’re excited about what lies ahead. We’re as clearer as we’ve ever been – more to come later.

When you hear about a non-profit having to bass a budget, it probably sits a little funny with you if you’ve never thought about it. The reality is that non-profits must not only accomplish their mission towards the end beneficiary (those receiving the services the non-profit provides), but it must also find a way to fund it.

For this week’s #PRAY127 request, we have an event that’s right around the corner and while it was a long time coming, we haven’t had a ton of promotion of this particular event.

As you may know, Man Up had partnered with Focus on the Family to bring their Wait No More event to the Bay area. We had several leaders’ meetings in 2018 and 2019 and the word was getting out, and then – COVID.

After postponing the March 28 gathering, we had to change the ethos of the event, since COVID will not allow us to gather in large groups. Focus on the Family has been gracious to allow us to build on the foundation they laid. Since we can’t have them in for this event, we have planned a similar but shorter and online-friendly event we are calling Awaken Tampa Bay – Taking Up the Cause of the Fatherless. You can expect a thoughtful evening of round-table discussion where subject matter experts in Tampa Bay will discuss not just the state of child welfare, but specific action items to take.

Please pray that God gets His people’s attention with this event, that the folks He wants in the room or online will be present either in person or LIVE online.

As always, it is a joy to know you are praying on behalf of the organization and all that God has put on our hearts.

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 10.19.20

Later this week the Board of Directors for Man Up and Go will meet for our yearly Summit. It usually happens in November, but we moved it up a little earlier this year to ensure we had plenty of time to affirm year-end requirements such as electing officers and passing budgets.

When you hear about a non-profit having to bass a budget, it probably sits a little funny with you if you’ve never thought about it. The reality is that non-profits must not only accomplish their mission towards the end beneficiary (those receiving the services the non-profit provides), but it must also find a way to fund it.

In the for-profit sector, the beneficiary of the service or product is also the funder – when you do a good job with your service or product, you ensure revenue to continue your business. Not so in the non-profit sector. We must find a way to inspire those who are not direct beneficiaries of the services we provide to indeed still fund those services.

Which leads me back to the Board Summit this weekend for Man Up and Go. We have come to the end of a 5-yr vision that took many twists and turns along the way. It’s time to set a vision for the next 5 years, and our Board is responsible for stewarding not just the vision of fighting for the fatherless, but also the ability to fund it.

Would you pray for the Board of Directors as we meet this weekend, October 23rd and 24th? We have new Board Members who will be attending and introduced to Man Up on an organizational level like never before. The current members will be listening to a vision for the future and have the heavy responsibility of guiding that vision. (Check out our Board Members and their bios.)

Pray that God would give us clarity and focus, that we would run after things near His heart, and that we would trust Him for the outcome. We want to be thoughtful and wise, laying out a plan, but also faithful and trusting, giving God “elbow room” to show up in whatever way He wants.

Please also pray that the technology would work, as we will Zoom in nearly half the Board. We have a limited amount of time and want to make the most of it.

We often look at prayer as preparation for the work, but prayer IS the work (Luke 10:2).

Thank you for praying!

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 10.12.20

If you take your cues from the culture, it’s no wonder we’re confused. In days gone by, it was the educated class, the elites, the nobles, the scribes, and the religious priests – these are the ones who set the tone for how living occurs in a particular nation at a particular time. It took time to shift a culture, mostly because mobilization wasn’t aided by modern technologies.

But in the instant age of social media and Venmo and Amazon, where things move digitally in just a day (I mean, how many products are available for free 1-day shipping with Prime?), the culture shifts happen rapidly. Couple this with the devaluing of religious relevance and especially monotheism (the idea that there is only one way to God), and you see how the elites could persuade the masses to make the shift quickly.

It’s no question our elites are more Lady Gaga than Luther, more Kardashian than Calvin.

How did the shift happen? Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, notes the rapid reversal of cultural acceptance on human sexuality (including gender identity) in the 2nd decade of the 21st century and puts it this way:

“The first thing [that happens is that] what was condemned must be celebrated. The second is that what was celebrated must now be condemned. And thirdly, those who will not join in the celebration will be condemned.”

This brings me to our #PRAY127 request for today. It used to be in the United States that a man’s noble task of working hard and providing for his family, both materially and spiritually, was a virtue. Today, a man trying to live out biblical values of faith and family is so foreign and absurd to the cultural elites that anyone who does not openly mock such a conviction should be immediately “cancelled.”

The reality is that most men, apart from the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, have already jettisoned biblical masculinity in favor of cultural masculinity. With such a strong cancel culture among the elites – who convince the rest to fall in line or else – men have found it even easier to let women do the work God wants them to do. (By the way, this has nothing to do with whether or not women are given a fair shot in the work force – our biblical values tell us they should.)

So if women want to take over, what’s the big deal? Why not give men a pass?

In the prophet Hosea’s time, the northern tribe of Israel had embraced idolatry so forthrightly that their women “commit harlotry, and brides commit adultery” (Hosea 4:13). This was referring not just to running after foreign gods, but also participating in ritual prostitution. Yet how did God respond?

I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men themselves go apart with harlots, and offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.” – Hosea 4:14

You see who was held responsible? It was the men.

When a nation goes awry, when a community goes awry, when a home goes awry, it is the man who is responsible.

Of course this is not to say that women bear no burden. Only to say that God reserves a greater judgment for the men who failed to lead.

Leading is hard. But God has told men to do it with boldness, integrity, faithfulness, and trust. If you know a man who’s struggling to lead this morning, will you pray for him today? If you don’t know one, pick the one closest to you as he’s probably had his doubts recently. Please pray that men all over the United States and in the world will lead as God has intended – humbly, graciously, and in deference to others.

It will take courage to withstand the advances of the culture. But as Christians, we know this is nothing new, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we stand as emboldened as ever.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:13

Thank you for praying!

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 10.05.20

Today’s #PRAY127 request will be a quick one. Typically we hold our annual Fall Football Fling Thing fundraiser in November at a restaurant with lots of TV’s and great finger food in a casual, come-as-you go atmosphere. However, with COVID, we want to make sure we’re being safe while at the same time not allowing COVID to undermine our need to fund the fight for the fatherless.

That’s why I’m asking you to pray with us starting today. Two months from now we’ll have our 4th Annual Fall Football Fling Thing in the Tampa Bay area, December 5th, and we’re going to be holding it in several smaller venues across the area. The idea is to have host homes with smaller numbers so as to minimize potential exposure to COVID-10.

Not only that, but we’ll also have a few other locations around the nation where host homes will gather. We’ll still have the Big Board and some great prizes to giveaway, and we’ll be going LIVE at a broadcasting location in the Bay area as we check in with our host homes around the country.

It’s going to be different, something we haven’t done before, and it’s always a little nerve- wracking. So thank you for praying with us. Specially, please pray:

  • That we can logistically put all the pieces together.
  • That we can communicate the need effectively.
  • That folks will be inspired and give financially to the work of the Man Up ministry.

One praise to report – we already have our food sponsor! (Thank you United Health Care!)

And thank YOU for praying – this may not seem like a big ask, but I can’t tell you how thankful I am for your commitment to take this before the Lord.

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.