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Experiencing Africa

The following blog post was written by Man Up and Go Director of Operations, Luke Sawyer.  

In early March I jetted off from Tampa to Entebbee International Airport for my first time stepping foot in Africa. While I have traveled a lot, even lived international, this was my first time being in that context. Since coming on with Man Up and Go back in January, I knew much of my work would revolve around Africa and specifically working with our partners in Uganda and Ethiopia, so I spent as much time as I could trying to get a good feel for the cultural context I was walking into as well as the realities of Western vs. African (a huge generalization) mindsets as it came to work, development, and financial investment. For those of you traveling to Africa I strongly suggest African Friends and Money Matters by David E. Maranz as an introductory text focusing on the complexities of this work.

The trip started with Jeff (our CEO) and I spending two days in Jinja with Pastor Andrew and his wife Juliet and their three girls. This was a great time for me as I was able to find out more about Home Again Ministries (watch the video with Andrew on Youtube), the interworkings of the organization, how finances were allocated, and then boil down into the nuts and bolts of the Child Sponsorship program as well as the Authentic Masculinity program that we will be rolling out in June.

Through this process, God brought Pastor Roy to the table. Roy and his wife relocated to Jinja recently from the church they were pastoring out in rural Uganda. Roy became the administrator at the school, and throughout my nine days in Uganda I spent more time with Pastor Roy than anyone else. I was able to accompany 15 players from the Wheaton College football team on the trip that Jeff was leading, and use that time to work through all of our partnerships in Jinja, Pallisa, and Kibuku. It was amazing to see, as Roy and I worked on the sponsorship program, and worked to identify new children for the program, how the players from Wheaton stepped up to fight for the fatherless.

Most of the children in our sponsorship program are orphaned, all are living in extreme poverty, and the sponsorship program secures their education, at least 11 meals a week, and a Christian education where they are loved by the school staff and presented with the Gospel both in word and deed on a daily basis. As a result of this Wheaton team, we have six new children on sponsorship and four who have never been in school before.

Jonathan is one of the children who was sponsored. I was able to sit in his family’s hut and explain the program, how Jonathan was sponsored, and how I was relying on them to encourage Jonathan to be in school daily and our goals for Jonathan. I received this report from Pastor Roy last week:

“Glory to God. Jonathan’s enrollment has drastically changed him. His self-esteem is also good. He often comes to my office just to say hello to me.”

 

We have many more children needing sponsorship, both in Uganda at our two centers, and in the Dominican Republic, if you would like to sponsor please write sponsorships (at) manupandgo.org.

Probably the most exciting part of the trip was working towards the implementation of the Authentic Masculinity program. This program sees men through a three phase, year-long process of intense discipleship, income generation, and microfinance. The goal is to see men, who formerly would abandon their families because of the shame felt in the inability to provide, step up to not only be the husbands and fathers they need to be, but fill the role of the protector and provider that we see in Scripture.

Jeff and I were able to identify three men to fill the roles of the Authentic Masculinity Coordinator in Jinja, Pallisa, and Kibuku. Please pray for Pastor Ssebaggala Aloysius Roy (Pastor Roy in Jinja), Kabugo Eliazar (Pallisa), and Geofrey Ochari (Kibuku) as they are currently working on surveying the baseline for our Key Performance Indicators, and identifying men who will be the first wave of the program.

After our time in Uganda, Jeff and I set off for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a quick 48 hour stop over to have some face time with our partners in Ethiopia. This was a fantastic trip as we were as well able to discuss how the Authentic Masculinity Program might impact their community. I believe the relationships we have there with Carry 117 and Glory to Glory Church (both in Korah) are going to yeild amazing fruit as this program gets established and running in Ethiopia. I can’t wait to be back in both of these countries in September see children fought for and men challenged to step in the gap.

Hope you enjoyed reading and reach out if you want to hear more (lsawyer (at) manupandgo.org), now I need to run and jump on Skype with Pastor Roy! Blessings!

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