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. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Giving Hope to Young Mothers

Mercy for Mamas partners with several crisis pregnancy centers throughout Uganda. Some of these centers are residential facilities. Others are drop-in community centers. The Comforter's Center is a drop-in facility outside a large slum in Kampala. This center does amazing work and has done so for many, many years. We've partnered with them now for five years and we supply about 300 mama kits to them each year. They sent me a couple of testimonies today to share with you.
 One young mother Hellen shared, "When I talked to my boyfriend he told me that the pregnancy was not his since we had just met few months. I became desperate and confused of what to do. In fact after he denied the pregnancy, I thought of having an abortion as life was so hard for me. But thank God, this did not happen. When I visited the center, I was counseled and encouraged to choose life for my baby. A few weeks to my expected date of delivery, I went back to the center and I was given a mama kit and most of all, they shared a prayer with me which gave me courage and strength to deliver well." Hellen now is a proud mother to a beautiful boy named Jeremy.

Meet Edivinah. Edvinah shared, "At that time, I and my boyfriend were going through a financial crisis and had no money to buy baby requirements and most of all the mama kit. I was worried how I was going to deliver without a mama kit. The financial situation we were going through caused worry and fear within me. I thought that I would not be able to deliver my baby. The counselor encouraged me through sharing the word of God with me and through several visits, I became very strong. I visited the center again and I was given a mama kit.  On 21st Jan 2016, I delivered a bouncing baby boy whom we named Andrew. I give glory to God and thank the center for the great support."

These young mothers faced great fear during their pregnancies They were scared and needed hope that they and their children would be okay. They found that hope through the work of The Comforter's Center. This center offers great spiritual counseling as well as classes on parenting, health and vocational skills. Many women from the slum come to this center because they know they will find kind people willing to help. They also come because they know they can get a mama kit. By providing the mama kits to this center, we help to show mercy and give access to better healthcare to these mothers.  Every $7 gift to Mercy for Mamas represents a beautiful young mother and child like the ones you see here. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Success Story!

Meet Amina. Amina just graduated from cosmetology school. 

This young mother came to our partner, Wakisa Ministries, after first trying to get an abortion. When she went to the hospital for the abortion, the doctor directed her to first go to Wakisa and talk with the counselors. There she learned they would help support her through her pregnancy, provide health care, teach her how to be a mother, and then also assist her with vocational training. Amina has sickle cell and has previously been told she could never finish school. She now has the skills to be a great mother. We are thrilled to be able to provide all of the mama kits for the young ladies at Wakisa. Your donations to Mercy for Mamas helped to give hope and a future to this young mom and her baby.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Importance of Education

Mercy for Mamas was excited to recently partner with Global Health Educators. They do prenatal clinics and teachings in Eastern Uganda. We provided mama kits for the women they serve. I love that they get the supplies they need, but also life-saving teaching and care.
The women watching a video on childbirth

These women were some of the first at the event to receive their mama kits for attending the prenatal clinic regularly
One proud mama to receive her kit
The women learned life-saving info on childbirth and prenatal care. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Perfect Timing and One Strong Mama

This story is one that beautifully illustrates God's perfect timing and provision and the strength of Ugandan women. This precious mama delivered her baby rather unexpectedly while attending a bible school run by one of our ministry partners.

Mama and Baby a few weeks after he was born

She had been in classes all day sitting on a wooden bench. It was the day before graduation, and I am sure she was determined to finish her classes well. The teachers did not know she was in labor. Finally she got up and they realized that she was very close to having the baby. Here is where God's provision becomes so evident. Thankfully, there was a Ugandan midwife also in the class. And even better there were two trained midwives on the ministry team at the school. She had three midwives ready to help her! We regularly supply mama kits to this ministry, but they were running low on them. But, God again provided and they found a mama kit to use.

The sweet baby boy was delivered right there at the compound a short while later. Then this beautiful and strong mama got to participate in her bible school graduation the very next day! 
Mama and Baby along with the midwives that helped her to deliver

Every $7 you give represents a woman and child just like the ones pictured here. These women are so grateful for your help. Your donations truly make a difference.  Friends, the needs are real. It seems every day Mercy for Mamas gets more and more requests for mama kits. The need is so big. We currently cannot keep up with the demand. It breaks my heart to ever have to tell someone that we cannot supply them with the kits they so desperately need. Would you please consider a donation today? What is $7 to most of us? That's a drink and muffin at Starbucks or a meal deal at your favorite fast-food chain. But your simple gift can literally help save the life of a mama and her baby. You can make it a one-time gift or you can sign-up to give $7 (or any other amount) every month. 
The lesson this past week at my bible study was about justice and mercy. Of course running an organization called Mercy for Mamas and having a daughter named Mercy, I was very interested in all of the discussion about what mercy is and how that plays out in our daily lives. One thing our leader said has really stuck with me this week. She said,"Receiving God's mercy obligates us to show mercy to others." It's a simple statement, but with huge ramifications for our daily lives. We need to be living lives of love, forgiveness and compassion for others because of the great love and mercy Christ has shown us. This week give mercy by providing a mama kit for someone else. You could be the tool God uses to show off his provision and love to a woman in Uganda. Give mercy.