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 climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa, to raise funds and awareness for the fatherless (read more about why we do this HERE).
Five adventurous souls took off from the U.S. on February 23 to visit Man Up’s partners in Uganda and then climb the mountain. Two missed flights, one delayed flight, one missed connection, 6 delayed bags, and 22 COVID tests later, the men successfully trekked up and down the highest free standing mountain in the world, aka the “Roof of Africa.”
In all, each of the men successfully completed the adventure and were proud of their accomplishment, not just for themselves, but for the Lord and for the recipients of those who would benefit from the money raised. Here are some of their words:
“A trip I will not soon forget as I was pushed physically, mentally and spiritually. What an opportunity to see and experience the challenges God places before us – as a means of growing me in my faith and trust in Him, as witnessed in the lives of AMP participants, and as experienced personally by reaching the heights of his wonderfully created Mt. Kilimanjaro!” – Jimmy L.
“Despite my inexperience in the mission field, a global pandemic, and my preconceived notions of a dangerous place, I felt God calling me to Man Up and Go. I had to fully surrender myself to trusting Him and allowing Him to be both my physical and mental strength as I experienced one of the biggest obstacles – a literal mountain – in my life.” – Jared F.
“Trip of a lifetime: supporting men who are prioritizing their faith, family, and financials while also challenging our fitness, fellowship and faith on one of God’s great creations (Kilimanjaro)!” – Jason C.
“Traveling globally during a pandemic, multiple COVID tests, climbing the tallest mountain you’ve ever seen, seeing lives and families transformed for God’s glory….with God all things are truly possible!” – David D.
“The challenge of the climb so closely mirrors the challenges of life. Patience, endurance, perseverance, love, and hope – each of these were necessary to get to the top, and each of these are necessary to navigate life in a manner God wants. Truly inspiring!” – Jeff F.
While we won’t give you a play by play of everything that happened, some of the obstacles incurred on the mountain include:
No luggage (fear we wouldn’t have the proper gear)
Headaches starting on Day 2
Nausea, vomiting, gastro issues, dehydration
(You wanna come next time, right?)
Snow…LOTS of snow
All the more satisfying for the men when they have the following photos upon which to look back. We hope you’ll enjoy them and consider climbing Kili with us the next time around, in 2023!
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.