(The following appears in our October 2015 Man Up and Go Email Newsletter. To receive correspondence from us, please Subscribe HERE.)
So much has happened since our original trip in 2011 to #lovebig on orphans in Ethiopia and Uganda. Many of those receiving this email were on that trip, and it changed you in profound ways. Since then, Man Up has sent 14 additional teams to GO! and love on the fatherless in five different countries. Everywhere we serve, our ministry partners and pastors make a similar comment – “there’s something different about the Man Up team.” Whatever that reason is, we thank God and give him the glory for allowing us to find favor with a number of influential pastors in Uganda. These men and their wives are putting a huge dent in the 2.5 million orphans there, and we want to run the Christian race alongside them as best we know how. From the capital city of Kampala, to the slums of Masese in Jinja, to the Muslim-dominated town of Pallisa in the rural northeast, there is no shortage of opportunity to see Less Orphans, More Families in those regions. What you may not know from posts on Facebook and Twitter is that somewhere along the way, a small team of leaders emerged to perpetuate a solely volunteer ministry. Doors opened, and a number of things happened:
- We built Bethel Junior School.
- We started sponsoring children.
- We helped build a health clinic.
- We purchased land for a tree farm that now has 1600 Eucalyptus trees on it to help provide money to operate Bethel Junior.
- We purchased a van for one of our ministry partners and for Man Up teams to use in-country.
- We were asked to facilitate men’s conferences and said yes.
- We were asked to go to Nicaragua and said yes.
- We sent 10 men 475 miles by bike across the state of Iowa to spread the message of hope we find in Jesus and in James 1:27.
And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We’ve sent short-term and long-term missionaries, we’ve built chicken coops, we’ve piloted a savings and investment club among the men, we’ve sponsored sewing, beading, and hairdressing vocational programs for widows and single moms, American lives changed from their missions experience, and the list goes on. All of this we’ve done on a solely volunteer basis. Until now.
In late 2014, after many meetings, much thought, and a lot of prayer, Man Up and Goregistered and received permission to function as an official 501c3 not-for-profit company. We took this step of faith because quite frankly, we believed God wanted us too; additionally, we hoped to become more efficient and productive as an organized force in Building Families around the globe. In February of 2015, we conducted our first ever Man Up and Go board meeting and have spent the majority of this year getting organized:
- A new website to show God’s work in the ministry.
- Providing clarity in the mission to which we feel called.
- Scaling and enhancing our missions trips processes to provide an excellent experience for the trip goer.
- New social media channels and a concerted effort to communicate with those interested in the problem of fatherlessness.
- Honing relationships both domestically and internationally for future growth.
- Providing ‘on-ramps’ to serve in the ministry without the commitment a missions trip demands.
- Focusing on ways to build champions for Christ in our cause: to serve and significantly reduce the number of fatherless children in the world.
Despite these strides, there are, quite frankly, more opportunities than we can handle. Currently we have only one part-time paid staff member. While God has done great things in our midst, we believe He has much more in store. Our big prayer is that beginning January 2016, we have the necessary pieces in place to roll out the following:
- A 12-week Men’s Empowerment Program that will provide biblically based curriculum on entrepreneurship, personal finance, family leadership, and job training, all aimed at mitigating the orphan problem in developing nations.
- An 8-week domestic Men’s Service Program aimed at inspiring men to GO! into their communities and carry out James 1:27.
- Employ our CEO full time to provide vision to the organization, structure around our initiatives, clarity in our message, and excellence in our implementation.
- Employ 1-2 part time staff members to help assist in our ability to scale.
- Aggressively pursue and utilize Google’s not-for-profit partnership program to attract potential Champions of the ministry to our website.
- Create strategic partnerships with small-to-medium sized churches to serve as a surrogate missions and orphan care department of the church.
Of course all of these initiatives take financial resources, resources we don’t currently have. Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed could move mountains. Our response is similar to that of the disciples: “Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17:5)! Since we believe God has called us to this work, we must also believe He will provide the means to fulfill it. To that end, there are many ways to partner with Man Up and Go to help us Champion the cause of the fatherless. If you feel God is leading you come alongside us in our vision to see Less Orphans, More Families, please visit our Individuals page on our new website for more information on how you can Learn, Serve, Pray, Give, and Share about and for the ministry.