Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sweet Moments

Some of my favorite moments during our Mercy for Mamas mission trips are when we do the basic exams on the pregnant mamas and the newborn babies. We don't do anything fancy. We check blood pressure and heart rate, listen to their heart and lungs, measure and feel for position, and then we also use the fetal doppler to listen to the baby's heart beat.

 Most of the mamas have never seen a fetal doppler machine before. The hospitals and clinics in Uganda typically use the old school Pinard Horn to listen to baby.  This is a great way to do it, but then the mamas do not get to hear their babies. I love to see the look on the mama's face when we explain that sound is her baby's strong heartbeat.
Example of a nurse using a Pinard Horn.
Often these "exams" are done in very interesting places and conditions. We've done checks on our bus, behind curtains in a church, and on the floor of a school room.  During this last trip, we did checks at one church in a very dark storage room. The women had to lay down on the skinniest benches I have ever seen and it was low to the ground. They didn't even really bat an eye at doing it.  I would have thrown a fit if someone asked me to do that at 8 months pregnant.
During the same outreach as the one pictured above, missionary Kathy Vaughan, was checking out one of the women's babies. This baby was born with a cleft palette and lip and was awaiting surgery. The baby had been sick with a bad cough and Kathy was trying to assess if he needed further treatment. After listening to baby, Kathy took off her stethoscope and let the mama hear her baby's heart. It was such a precious moment. Kathy is such a beautiful example to me of how to love and care for others with gentleness and respect.
And the best news of all...the mama pictured here listening to her baby's heartbeat had received Christ as her Savior at church the day before. She started coming to the church after coming to the women's meetings Kathy and her Ugandan team lead. She got plugged into the local church and saw the way everyone rallied around her to help her with her baby. All of these things put her on the right path to accept Christ.  She now has true hope and peace to carry her through the days ahead. This is what it is all about.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Double Blessing

During the recent Mercy for Mamas trip we had the great privilege of getting to hold several brand new babies born using our mama kits. It is always such a thrill and blessing to me to get to see these sweet little ones-- the fruit of our labors. These precious mamas have no idea how excited I get to see them with their babies healthy and strong. 
At one of our last outreach events, we did some basic check ups on the women.  We discovered several women were pregnant with twins. This is a huge honor in Ugandan culture! Some of them knew before our exams and others did not. What fun news to share! One of these women in particular looked uncomfortable and very near the end of her pregnancy. Her blood pressure was high and she looked dehydrated. We told her we thought she would deliver soon. I prayed for her and told her to go home and rest and drink a lot of water. 
The next morning we got a wonderful surprise! This sweet mama had come to the clinic late that night. She delivered two baby girls with no big complications shortly after midnight.  I guess she got her mama kits just in the nick of time! When we came in to meet her around 8am, she was dressed and wanting to go home! We encouraged her to hang around just a while longer to make sure everything was okay. I talked with her for a while and found out this was her second set of twins (and she had two singles in there too!) Several of us got the honor of praying for this mama and her babies before they went home.
I am so glad she was able to have a safe birth. She had the supplies she needed. She went to a medical clinic with an experienced and trained nurse to deliver. She received the love of Jesus by those who took care of her and her babies. 

Mercy for Mamas is thrilled that we got to be a small piece of the puzzle for this mama.  We marvel at every success story and make it our goal to help as many woman we can to have a similar outcome. Every safe delivery and new baby is a gift. I pray that we never forget the beauty and miracle of each and every birth. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thank you!

Thank you so much to all of the churches and individuals that have donated to Mercy for Mamas in the past month. It's been so exciting to see God continue to provide for our work.

Our mission team of 12 people leaves for Uganda in about two weeks. During that trip, we will pass out 2,000 mama kits to women all over the country. We will host outreaches in all different kinds of locations. We'll be everywhere from larger churches in the capital city to meeting with women under the gathering tree on a remote island. I love that our mission teams get to experience so many different aspects of life in Uganda. We'll once again host missionary encouragement dinners for women serving full-time in Uganda. We covet your prayers for our travel and safety and for the women we meet and relationships that will be built.



If your church collected money for Mercy for Mamas in the past month for Mother's Day, we'd encourage you to get those donations sent in to us as soon as possible. We've placed a large order for mama kits and we'll need every penny we can to meet the demands.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Welcome!

Lots of people learned about Mercy for Mamas for the first time yesterday (Mother's Day!).  If you fall into that category, "Welcome!"

It is amazing to hear the reports from churches all over the country about how they shared about our work yesterday during the services. They raised awareness about the need and they also raised a lot of money that will help us do our work. Hooray!

Also many of you gave donations in honor of your mothers, wife, friend, etc., which also raised awareness and led many women to hear about Mercy for Mamas for the first time.

If you are new, please check out our website and our Facebook page so you can see the scope of the work that we do. You'll be amazed at what every $7 donation can accomplish.

A Mercy for Mamas mission team leaves for Uganda in just 4 weeks (Yikes, that is coming up fast!). We will be working with thousands of women across Uganda. We would like to have close to 2,000 mama kits on hand to pass out during the trip and to leave with our partners afterwards. Your donation dollars truly make a difference and will help us best minister to these women.  Please be in prayer for our team, the women we will work with, and for the events we will host.



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Bond of Motherhood

     My daughter shared with me a couple of months ago about when they learned about reproduction in her high school biology class. She said when going over the female anatomy the teacher said, "Isn't it amazing to think that each and every one of us once grew inside a uterus?" One boy (probably just  being a smart aleck) said, "Not me, I was adopted!".  Oh my! But isn't God's creation amazing?! We all come from different backgrounds and have very different childhoods, but it is amazing to think that all of us grew inside a woman's body. God created mothers for us and each of us has/had one. 

      I don't know your history and your relationship with your biological mother. I hope it is a good one. But if not, I'm hopeful that God placed other important women in your life to mother you. There are so many types of mothers in this world. We have biological moms, adopted moms, stepmoms, foster moms, godmothers, mother-in-laws, grandmothers, aunts, and women who have mentored us and been spiritual mothers to us. We have rejoiced when God placed these special women in our lives and we have mourned at their passing. Motherhood of any kind is one of God's greatest gifts. 

     But motherhood is not easy. We also all know women who are stuck in the trenches of motherhood today.  I'm thinking of the new mother overwhelmed with her newborn. The mother with a house full of littles who finds it hard to believe that a day will come when they will all dress and bathe themselves (hang on mama, I promise that day is coming!). The mom trying to find the strength to power through the crazy schedule of homework, practices, and birthday parties. The mother to teenagers struggling to find the balance of independence, safety, and responsibility. The empty-nester mother trying to find her place and adapt to a new role. The mom struggling to make ends meet. The precious friend who would want nothing more in the world than to have a child and to experience motherhood. The mom who faced all of our worst fears and is now mourning the loss of a child. The mother balancing caring for her children and yet also caring for her own parents. The foster or adoptive mom who does not know if she has what it takes to heal this child's broken heart. The mother caring for a chronically ill or special needs child who feels like she has given all she has to give. We know these women. We are these women. We also know we could all use some encouragement. 

     With Mother's Day right around the corner, what if you prayed for God to lay on your heart the names of a few special women in your life you could honor and encourage? This could be your own mother, a friend, a mentor, whomever. You could donate a mama kit(s) (they are just $7 each) in honor of your special person. We'll give you a card that you can give them explaining your gift. Write them a personal note explaining why you choose them. I know this lady would be so honored that you thought of them and that you chose to help a mother in Uganda in their name. 

     Raising awareness and money for a non-profit is not an easy job. I live and breathe this stuff every day. I feel the weight of the need all of the time. I know that truly every gift brings hope to a woman in need. The tricky thing is getting you to understand and see that need too. When you see the photos and hear the stories they seem so far away and unknown to you. When I look at photos I see friends and people I have touched and hugged with my own arms. I see the tears in their eyes as they face the unknowns before them and remember the pain of the past. I hear their laughter and excitement as they talk with their friends.  I see the glimmer of hope in their eyes as they learn about pregnancy and birth and receive their mama kit. To me the need is real and pressing.


     I would venture to say that probably 98% of Mercy for Mamas donations come from women. Why is that? Is it because our mission focuses on women's needs? Maybe. But I also think it is because motherhood is a universal bond. Mamas all over the world face the same struggles of wanting the best for our children, worrying over them, and loving them unconditionally. As women, we cannot imagine what we could do if we faced childbirth without medical help or supplies. We hate the idea of women having to choose to feed their family or buy some gloves and a razor blade. Women should not be dying during birth simply because they did not have a $7 mama kit.  

     You can bring a smile and some encouragement into the life of a woman you see every day and you can also give hope and life to a mama in Uganda. It is such a beautiful picture of how we should do life every day. Loving God and loving others both near and far. 

     Make your donation by clicking the Paypal button below. You could even sign up to be a monthly donor by clicking "make this gift recurring" and you could encourage a different mama each month!! After we receive your donation we'll email you a Mother's Day card you can print off and give to your special person. If you'd like a more generic card to give, just let us know that as well. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Honor Your Mother (or any mother you know!)


Below is something I (Melissa) wrote three years ago, but as I read it this morning with tears in my eyes, I realized how relevant is still is to us. I thought I would share it with you again.
"Nearly four years ago, a beautiful Ugandan woman gave birth to a baby girl.  What should have been a moment of joy, quickly turned into a moment of sorrow for this family as this brave, strong mother  lost her life.  I know this woman was beautiful, strong, and brave because I see a bit of her every day in my daughter.  I get the honor of parenting this woman's beloved child.
When moments like Mother's Day roll around I will always think of Mercy's mother.  There are so many things I wish I could tell her.  There are so many questions that I long to have answered.  I wish she could share the joy of Mercy's laugh, her fiery temper and her silly antics.  I want her to know that her baby girl is thriving.  I want her to know her baby girl is loved.
Our Sweet Mercy at Easter 2013
Not only do I think of Mercy and her first mother, but I also think of the thousands of other women every day that do not get the opportunity to parent their children.  I think of the thousands of children orphaned every year because their mothers die senseless deaths.  I want to honor these women and children.

I think of the many amazing mothers I encounter every day.  Working moms, stay-at-home moms, room moms, and homeschool moms.  There are moms facing illness, moms parenting alone, and moms overcoming abuse. There are adoptive moms, biological moms, and step-moms. There are women dreaming of motherhood, those just starting out, and those nearing the end.   There are so many special women for us to honor.
This year for Mother's Day I am asking you to honor the women in your life.  Honor your mother, the mother to your children, or any mom you see that is doing an amazing job.  But let's make our gifts count.  Let's use this as a great opportunity to help women on the other side of the world.   I can't think of a better way to honor these women then by telling them you decided to give hope to a mama in her name."

I wrote those words three years ago, but they still ring true today. I'd love for you to honor your mother (or any other special person in your life) by making a donation in their name. It's so easy to do! Just click on this donate button. Make a donation in any amount you like (you can even sign-up to make it a recurring gift each month!).  When we receive your donation, we'll email you a card you can print off and give to your loved one.


Mercy for Mamas is a registered non-profit. All donations are tax-deductible.