Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Update on Mary

Great news!  I finally got word today that Mary and her baby boy are doing well.  He weighed more than they expected (5.5pounds).  Mom and baby continue to recover at a missionary's home. Thank you so much to the people who gave toward her hospital stay.  You truly blessed this woman this Christmas. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers for Mary

Last week I sent out an email to all of the missionary women that attended our "Night of Encouragement" dinners in September.  I wanted to check back with them to see how they've used their mama kits for ministry and see who needed more of them.  I received several wonderful emails back expressing gratitude.  The women say they are great tools for ministry and are really making a difference in the lives of the pregnant women they know.   Several of the missionaries are starting new health clinics or health education programs next year.  We are very excited to get to partner with them in their work. The need for good, quality care and pre-natal education is staggering.

But I received back one email that sort of stopped me in my tracks.  Here is part of that email:

"Thank you so much for the Mama kits that you gave us. We are working in the village of N-- doing teacher training, community development, and agriculture. We recently started a woman’s group. We had a ladies' tea and 20 women came and they expressed an interested in forming a ladies group to do skills training, Bible Study and English learning. We started a beading group, teaching the women to make bracelets and necklaces that we are going to take home and sell to raise money for our project. Mary is 8 months pregnant and is a part of our group. The Lord spoke to my heart that we were to give her a Mama kit. After bead group we asked if we could follow her home and told her we had a gift for her. "
 
The missionaries walked home with Mary and learned that she is 21 years old and this is her 3rd pregnancy.  She was tricked into becoming the 2nd wife of an abusive man who practices witchcraft.   She has a three year old son.  She lost her younger baby from a complicated delivery.    She had to have c-sections previously, which were done vertically and she has a lot of scar tissue.   She has suffered much in her young life.
 
At 8 months pregnant Mary had not received any prenatal care.  The family has no money.  When the missionary visited they only had pumpkin flowers to eat for dinner.  The missionary got permission from Mary's family to take her back to town and to a doctor. 
 
The doctor diagnosed her with preeclampsia, excess aminotic fluid, and the baby is not growing properly.  She is now in the care of the missionaries.  They are doing all they can to keep her and this unborn baby boy well. They both are at great risk. 
 
As somone who has had two c-sections with complications, including excess scar tissue, this breaks my heart.  I cannot imagine what it is like to go through these things with no money, no prenatal care, and suffering from malnutrition and abuse.
 
The missionary ended her note with this:
"ALL of this to say that, if we had not gone over there to give her a Mama Kit I am sure they both would have died at home in the village. There was no way for us to know all this without the “help” of a Mama Kit. Thank you for being a part of this story! We are praying that God has great plans for Mary and her little boy."
 
While it is so nice to hear her gratitude that is not why we do what we do. This missionary did not write asking for my continued help, she asked me to pray.  I would like you to join me in praying for Mary.

Mary is a young mother. She is not well-known. She is from a family of very little means. She is someone overlooked by most of the world.  She reminds me of another Mary we talk a lot about this time of year. No, she does not carry the Christ child, but she is a precious child of God. She deserves a chance at life. 
I ask you... as mamas, as fathers, as those who've endured c-sections or preeclampsia, as those who cannot fathom the life Mary lives... to pray.

God led these missionary women to this woman, so she could get care and so we could continue to help.  A regular mama kit is not going to be enough for this woman.  I hope we can help cover the costs of Mary's care.  I will let you know more about that as I get the information.  But for now I ask you to sincerely pray for her and those caring for her. 

 Update Tuesday, Dec. 18th.  Mary will check in to the hospital tomorrow and have her c-section on Thursday.  Her blood pressure is still high, but remaining steady  Pray for her safety and that of her baby. 
 
 
 
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sweet Success

This sweet woman, Priska (pictured with her mother), safely gave birth to a baby girl this week.  She said she appreciated the mama kit and wanted all of you to know how grateful she is for your gift to her. 


In the next couple of weeks, 500 more mama kits will be passed out to missionaries and ministries to give to those most in need.  More mamas like Priska, will have the blessing of a mama kit and greatly improve her chances for a safe delivery.  Your donations make a difference.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What about the men?

I'm a bit behind on blogging more about our trip.  I need to figure out a way to drive and blog at the same time.  I have so many stories swirling around in my head, but not enough time to sit and type them all out.

One part of the trip that really stuck out to me-- the men.  While listening to the stories of the women we met, my mind would go back to the men in these women's lives. The women told story after story of abuse, rape and abandonment.  The men made promises, but when life got hard or the women got pregnant they left.  These men desire to have many children, but do not want to do the work to care for them.  The women fight for survival, care for the children, care for the home, and try to earn money any way they can.  It's not an easy life. 
These women each shared their struggles with us.  heartbreaking.
I kept thinking something needed to done to help teach or encourage these men to step up and do their part.  The interesting things is that I was not alone in my thoughts.

The day we visited Mama Florence, I walked out of her birthing center and saw our driver, Deo, talking to the men of the village under a tree.  I asked one of the other ladies what he was doing.  They said, "Oh, he's preaching."  Sure enough, he had their attention and was sharing Christ with them.  Awesome.
Deo is the one standing and talking, ;)
Afterwards he came up and said, "Mama Melissa, we really need to do something for the men."  I told him I'd been thinking the same thing. Deo said that while we were inside with Mama Florence, the men, who spend most of the day sitting outside hanging out with their friends and playing cards, yelled at him and asked why we only help the women and not them.  Deo walked over to them and said, "They help the women because you don't."  He then began to share his own testimony and how he used to mistreat his wife and children.  Then he became a Christian and God changed his heart. He learned how to be a better husband, father, and employee.    He got to share with these men the transforming power of God.  He told them that God desires for them to care for their families.  Powerful stuff.

Deo is right.  We need to do something for the men.  I'm not sure what all that includes.  My goal with Mercy for Mamas has always been to focus on safe births for the women.  But I also know that life would be much better for these women with support from the men in their lives.  Pray for us as we try to figure out the best way for us to minister to the men of Uganda. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Give a Mama Life this Christmas

I am so excited to announce a new partnership for Mercy for Mamas.  We are teaming up with The Hope Venture.  I love this organization and the heart of their leaders.  I've had the chance to meet with the director, Cynci, a couple of times in the last year, and I count their Africa Projects Coordinator, Brooke, as a dear friend and partner in ministry.  I know we are going to do some great work together.

The Hope Venture helped me out immensely back in 2011 when I unexpectedly raised  A LOT of money for an orphanage in Uganda.  They were such a help back then, and they've proven to me that they work with a lot of integrity and they take their job very seriously.

For now, all donations for mama kits will go through The Hope Venture.  Every penny that is given will go directly to the purchase and delivery of mama kits.  They raise funds for their overhead costs separately, so you can know exactly where your dollars are going.

The Hope Venture works to provide help and hope to people around the world.  Their work includes projects in India and Africa.  Through trusted partnerships, The Hope Venture engages in compassion-based projects to help improve life for those most in need.


Mama kits are featured in their 2012 Christmas Catalog, along with some of their great projects.  Please check it out and do some shopping.  What better way to give this Christmas!  Take some of your extra Christmas cash and spend it to help someone else in the world.  Or support one of their projects as a gift for that person who has everything.  Starting at just $5, you and your family can give a widow in India a new outfit, buy a child a backpack of school supplies, provide a goat for a family, or help build a well. You really need to check out all of the work they are doing.


If you'd like to buy mama kits in honor of someone this Christmas, just make a donation over on the Hope Venture website.  We'll email you a special card you can give your loved one explaining your gift.  Just make sure to put a note when you make the donation that you'd like us to email you a card.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time to Shop!!

Make sure you check out the "Shop" tab above and check out all of the great new merchandise we have available.  These will make great Christmas presents and all proceeds help purchase more mama kits for women in Uganda.  This is definitely a win/win.
 
Mercy says you must check it out NOW!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Story from the Frontlines

I wanted to share with you just one of the recent stories I received from a missionary serving in Uganda.  This woman works with women living in the slums of Kampala
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"I was out in the community with my organization, we were leaving after a morning of connecting with many lovely mamas and their precious little ones.  We saw a young woman lying on the ground with a group of woman yelling at each other.  When I looked a little closer she had given birth in the mud and slurry between two mud huts.  It was a bit of a shock for the mama, she was hemorrhaging post birth and she was too embarrassed to get help, as she was HIV+. We were able to help her and take her to a nearby medical centre for treatment.  Baby and mama are now doing well.  When I got home I saw your invite on Facebook and it felt like a God appointment. "
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That morning in the slum this missionary saw firsthand the need for mama kits and how vulnerable some of these woman are during delivery.  The invite she had received was to our Night of Encouragement.  She was able to attend and that night she received several mama kits to pass out in her work.  She gave two of them away immediately.  We are now working to get her more to use in the five different neighborhoods that her ministry works with.

The best news of all-- the mama mentioned in the story above is now attending their weekly bible study classes.  She gave her life to Christ last Monday.  That my friends is what this is all about.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Night of Encouragement

As most of you know, I spent nearly a year in Uganda completing the adoption of my daughter, Mercy.  During that time I got to spend lots of time with ex-patriates living and serving in Uganda.  I've read about and been around missionaries my whole life, but God developed in me a whole new level of love and appreciation for full-time missionaries, especially those serving in a different culture. 

I saw some of the good and bad effects of short-term mission teams.  I found missionaries struggling with culture and language.  I witnessed those frustrated by a lack of tangible results and questioning their call.  I heard about those who'd been taken advantage of or cheated.  I knew women trying to balance home school, family, and ministry while also dealing with a lack of resources or other supplies and luxuries we take for granted.

I didn't know what exactly to do with this burden for missionaries, but then one day God gave me an idea.  I was trying to plan out my short-term mission trip and was comtemplating what work we were equipped to do and how we could best be used.  Then I realized that my team could host a special night to encourage missionary women. We were good party planners.  We had some amazing worship leaders with us.  We had those with the gift of encouragement. We could give them a night out to fellowship, worship, and get re-energized for their work. 

It dawned on me that this could also be a great way to find new partners for the work of Mercy for Mamas.  My friend Kathryn has been using mama kits as a ministry tool for nearly two years.  It's been so neat for me to see this simple gift open up new doors for her and her work.  Read her blog here about just one woman's birth experience.  We've given mama kits to several missionaries, but I loved the idea of our Night of Encouragements giving us more women to partner with in our work.  One of my favorites things about Mercy for Mamas is putting mama kits in the hands of the people on the ground in Uganda (full-time missionaries or locals) to use for ministry.

Pasca, the woman Kathryn wrote about in her blog.

I had this whole vision in my head of this "Night of Encouragement".  I had big hopes and dreams for it, but perhaps some lingering doubt too.  Where would I find these women?  Would they come? How will I pay for this? Do they really need this or did I imagine it?  Really, Lord you think I should plan for 100 women?  I made the plans, sent off the invites, and then I waited.  Slowly, women began to RSVP.  People passed on the info to their friends and colleagues. Maybe this would work.

All of the plans for the night began to come together.  The children at my church raised more than $800 during Vacation Bible School to use for projects on our mission trip.  I sold Mercy for Mamas t-shirts to also help off-set costs.  I had some others randomly ask if they could give towards our effort.  God supplied more than enough money to cover everything. We had venues, menus, guest lists, and even decorations.  It was so cool to see it all fall in place.

Another aspect of the night that I knew we needed to include was a goody bag for each woman to take home.  I knew the importance of the occasional indulgent treat from home when you are living overseas.  I also knew from my time in Uganda what most women would be wanting/craving.  I asked each person on the mission team to be in charge of gathering 1-2 items for the goody bags.  I told them they could just buy them or get their friends/church to help them... whatever worked for them.  We collected all kinds of fun things!
Goody Bags ready for distribution!

So two weeks ago, we held our first 'Night of Encouragement" in Kampala and two nights later we held another in Jinja.  We had more than 115 women attend (we had just enough goody bags!). The women ate yummy food, caught up with old friends, and met new friends.  So many of these women never get a night out... ever.   They are in missionary-mode 24 hours a day.  They are always so busy doing work for others that they rarely get to take any time for themselves.  They were hungry for fellowship and for a night out with other women that "get it".


In Kampala, as we stood outside under the stars singing and I listened to the voices of all of these women worshipping, I could not help but cry and praise God for his provision.  Somehow God gathered up all of these women to this place.  I did not know these women.  I did not really know what they needed, but God did.  I kept stopping just to look around in awe at how God had orchestrated this special night.

Towards the end of the evening, I asked the women to get into smaller groups. I wanted them to be able to share more of their struggles and prayer needs with each other.  My team spread out among the groups to help lead in prayer for the women.  I expected this to go on for maybe 10 minutes, but the majority of the groups spent at least 30 minutes together.

We gave mama kits to all of the women for them to use in their ministry. These missionaries  understand the need for clean births in Uganda.  They get what a blessing these kits can be to a pregnant mama.  It was so fun to hear them discussing their plans for their mama kits. One lady was so excited that she stopped and gave out two mama kits to people she knew before she even got home. I can't wait to share stories from these women in the days ahead of how they've used the mama kits in their ministries.  Mercy for Mamas has new contacts with crisis pregnancy centers, midwives, and medical missionaries because of these "Nights of Encouragement". 

One woman came up to me afterwards and told me that just days before she'd emailed a friend back home and told them to find her a job because she was done with Uganda and ministry. She said God used that night to renew her calling and give her hope to continue in her work. Another woman told me that in 8 years of living in Uganda no one had ever done something special just for her. Over and over again women told me that the night was perfectly timed and just the time of refreshement that they needed. You can go here and read one woman's take on the night. love it! After looking in the goody bags, one lady was nearly in tears over the ranch dressing mix. She told me that she had seriously prayed for God to send someone to her with ranch dressing. For reals people, ranch dressing can be serious ministry!

 My goal was to encourage these women, but I left both nights encouraged and renewed in my own ministry.  Thank you God for letting my team play a part in this special night.  Thank you Lord for all of the amazing women we met and the ministry they do in Uganda. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated List of Merchandise

I just wanted to give you an updated list on our Mercy for Mamas Merchandise.  A huge thank you to everyone who has shopped to help our cause.  Your support has helped us tremendously.  We nearly have all of the money needed to start the process to obtain our non-profit status.  And the money from our t-shirt sales helped fund our ministry projects during our trip.  We fed mass amounts of people at churches and in the village. We gave the women gifts of sugar, soap, and tea.   We also hosted dinners for more than 100 missionary ladies.  All of that was possible because of your generosity. 

Email all orders to me at info@mercyformamas.com

Buy a t-shirt!  Each shirt is just $15.   In the unisex fit we have small, medium, and large.  In the ladies' fit (not a super tight ladies' fit, but more tapered with shorter sleeves) we have small, medium, large, and x-large.  If you need a different size or would be interested in children's sizes please let me know as we will be placing another order in the future.
Part of the Merce for Mamas team rocking our shirts!
 We also have handmade Ugandan bracelets.  Each bracelet comes with a "mercy for mamas" charm.  All bracelets are $15 and include shipping.

Paper Bead Coil Bracelets
#1 Green/Burgundy/Red/Magenta

#2 Green/Burgundy/Blue

#3 Red/Orange smaller beads.

#4 white or light violet in color

#5 white (light violet color) and burgundy

#6 purple based multi-colored

#7 pink based multi-colored  SOLD OUT!
#8 magenta
#9 Burgundy (a bit darker than it photographed)

Handbeaded Cuff Bracelets

#10 Light blue Cuff

#11 Hunter Green Cuff

#12 Lime Green Cuff

#13 Red Cuff
We have more merchandise coming very soon! I bought a few things while in Uganda and some others are in the works and hopefully will be here soon. So we must clear out our present inventory, so get busy shopping! 


More Insights into our Trip

Beth Schafers is one of the amazing ladies that went on our recent trip.  I love her dearly, even more after spending 11 days with her in Africa.  Check out her blog and read her three recent posts on Uganda.  I love to hear her thoughts on the trip, as it was her first time to Africa.  I think I drove her crazy asking, "What do you think, what do you think?"  Check it out!

Beth helping girls at crisis pregnancy center with their craft

Friday, October 5, 2012

First Glimpses of the Trip

I apologize for my lack of communication while in Uganda.  My technology all decided to turn against me.  After about day 3, I finally just decided to accept the fact that the Lord obviously wanted me to unplug a little.  I quickly scanned my emails, hit "share" on a few pics and posts on Facebook, and that was about all I got accomplished.   I hate to even tell you that I seriously only took about 5 pictures while I was gone.  But no fear, the rest of the team took thousands of pictures and they promise to share (hint, hint!).


My technology continues to plot against me.  A new laptop power cord is on the way, which will help tremendously. But in the meantime, I encourage you to check out Kim Van Brunt's blog.  Some of you read her posts while I was gone, but for those who missed them, she paints a beautiful and poignant picture of our trip.

There are so many stories to tell.  We heard powerful stories from teenagers and woman at the crisis pregnancy centers about how they got there.  Our hearts broke as we realized just how much injustice exists in this world.  We loved on hundreds of children who were longing for affection and comfort.  We hosted more than 100 missionary women at two dinners.  I cried as I looked out over them and thought of all of the ministries they represented.  They cried because they were so hungry for encouragement and community.  Women cheered as they received a simple gift of a mama kit, and my heart swelled as I met the children born using these kits.   My team grew close together and shared in each others struggles.  I love the amount of ministry that I saw taking place just amongst our team.


God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.  And our first Mercy for Mamas trip was a huge success.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Uganda is Calling

In about 24 hours I will once again be on my way to Uganda.  I cannot wait to get back on that beloved red dirt.  I've had several people tell me that after all we went through with our adoption, they cannot believe that I would be so excited to get back.  I can't help it.  Somehow Uganda got under my skin (and fingernails!) and I love it.
 

Frantic last minute preparations are underway.  Packing is in full force.  List-making is out of control as I organize everything for the trip and for my family at home.  But I have a smile on my face doing it all.  I can't wait to hug the necks of the people in Uganda that I love. I am anxious to see Uganda through the eyes of those going for the first time. I'm looking forward to the new relationships and partnerships that will form.  I'm excited to pass out more than 1200 mama kits!  That is a lot of mamas!!! 

I'm thrilled to be able to encourage and minister to 100 missionary women.  We are hosting two missionary appreciation dinners for women serving in Uganda.  I knew when God gave me this idea that it was going to be fantastic.  The RSVP's from all of the women confirm my thoughts.  These women need encouragement and fellowship.  One woman said she read the invitation and felt like she was taking a deep breath just in reading it.  Another said that in 4 years of service, no one had done anything like this for them.  I'm excited to give each of these missionary women mama kits to pass out to women they meet.  What a great ministry tool and way to bless others.

Seriously, look at this smile. 

I can't wait to bless Mama Florence with more mama kits and get to hear more of the stories of the women of her village.

We have lots of great things planned.  Too much for me to tell you about now.  But I promise to do my best to update you all while in Uganda.  If not while there, I promise to come home with lots of great strories. [Also, make sure you "like" the Mercy for Mamas Facebook page.  Sometimes it might be easier for me to post updates there.]

We covet your prayers for our team.  There are 11 of us going and we are leaving from 6 locations. Pray for our travels and the logistics of it all.  Pray for our health and safety.  Pray for great ministry opportunities.  Pray for the women and children we will encounter.  Pray for us to be open and willing to do whatever God calls us to do.

And we're off...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wear and Share

I am so excited to show you the design for our Mercy for Mamas t-shirts!  I hope you love them as much as I do.   I think this is a great way for us to help spread the word about Mercy for Mamas. 
Gray shirt with a blue/white logo
Shirts will be a slightly lighter "sport gray"
We're offering both ladies fit and unisex shirts.  They are all 100% preshrunk cotton.  They are available in Adult Small - Adult XXXL.  The ladies' fit is not super tight, but has shorter sleeves and is more tapered.  All shirts will be $15 (+$3 for shipping).  XXL and XXXL will be $17.

All proceeds from t-shirt sales will help fund the mission projects of our September mission team.  The money will be used to host our missionary encouragement nights, food and craft projects for the crisis pregnancy centers, community outreach meals in the villages and slums, and other needs that arise. 

I am taking pre-orders through August 5th.  To place an order send an email to info@mercyformamas.com.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Power of Children

A while back, a friend from college that is a pastor in Pennsylvania contacted Mercy for Mamas.  His church raises money for missions each year during Vacation Bible School.  He wanted Mercy for Mamas to be this year's recipient.  I loved the idea.  Cody (my husband, for those of you who are new around here!) decided we need to make a "kid-friendly" video to explain to the children about the need.

I am thrilled to say that the people of Bux-Mont Baptist Church in Hatboro, PA raised enough money to buy 112 mama kits!  Way to go!  I love to hear about children that "get it" and see the power that just a few dollars can make in the lives of women and children. 

Here's one story from Pastor Jake:
"A kid is running in to VBS and looks down at the offering money her mom had just given her. She stops, turns around and runs back to catch mom before she leaves. Someone hears her say, 'No, mom, I need two more dollars. You only gave me five and the Mama Kits are $7!' These kids, their parents, and our church are in love with Mercy for Mamas."
Thank you so much to Bux-Mont and Pastor Jake.

Here's the "kid-friendly" video that Cody made.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Heart of Service

It still amazes me the support that Mercy for Mamas receives from so many people around the country.  Last fall my sister told me that her bible study class was looking for a ministry to support.  Each semester they collect money and donate it to a worthy cause.  She shared about Mercy for Mamas and the women gladly jumped on board and raised enough to buy about 50 mama kits.  So sweet!
Me and Phaedra at the park
Then a month or so ago my sister's bible study leader, Phaedra, contacted me.   She was going to be in our area and wanted to get together.  So, we met at a local park for lunch and had a great time getting to know each other. Then she surprised me with another check from the bible study.  These sweet ladies raised enough for another 30 mama kits.  Thank you so much to the ladies at River Oak Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.  I'm so glad you got to deliver your check in person!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Trip

Several of you have asked, so I decided it was about time to give you the low-down on our upcoming mission trip. 

A group of about 10 people (9 ladies and my sweet nephew) will be heading to Uganda at the end of September.  This will be the first, of what I hope will be many, Mercy for Mamas trips.  And the plans for this trip are really starting to fall into place.

The hard part for me is having so many wonderful people and ministries that I want us to visit. I keep reminding myself that we will only have 9 days in country, so I will not be able to do everything.  Decisions, decisions.
The red dirt of Uganda is calling my name.
Here are a few of the events on our agenda...

We'll be visiting several crisis pregnancy centers in Kampala.  We'll provide more kits to them and also have bible study and meetings with the girls.
Youth For Christ Center in Kampala

We'll visit Mama Florence and check out her new birth clinic. We'll provide mama kits to the women in her village and we'll also do some sort of dinner and game time with the children.

We'll try to visit a couple of other midwives and some other new ministries we hope to partner with in the days ahead.

We're going to host two special events for missionary women living in Kampala and Jinja.  I'm very excited about this opportunity to minister to those who work so hard day in and day out to serve Ugandans. We hope to give them a bit of encouragement, help them meet others in their area, and also give them each mama kits to distribute to women they meet.  Stay tuned for more info on how you can help with this work in the days ahead!

We're going to team up with another mission team working in Mbale.  I love to see how God orchestrates things.  My friend and cousin-in-law (or something like that) Paul will be leading a team in Mbale at the exact time we'll be there.  We're going to team up with them and their efforts.  We'll help host a neighborhood event for Peal Haven Church and then incorporate a mama kit distribution into it as well.

And another exciting part of the trip will include learning the stories of so many of the women of Uganda.  These women have amazing stories of survival and defeat, especially when it comes to childbirth.  My friend, Kim, is coming along to record these stories.  We want you to see, hear, and understand on a whole new level.  I know Kim's writing will convey to you the heart of Mercy for Mamas and our passion to help save more women in Uganda.

We ask you now to pray for this trip.  Pray for each person that is going.  Pray for the people we'll encounter in Uganda.  Pray for me as I plan all of it out.  Pray for financing for the trip, as many of us are stepping out in faith for God to provide the funds.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Work Continues

The past month has been a busy one for Mercy for Mamas.   I had the chance to share about Mercy for Mamas with several different groups.  I spoke to a mom's group in Wichita, two places in Mississippi, and then tonight I got to share with a group of ladies' from a local church.  I love getting to share my heart and I love seeing people get excited about the work we are doing. 

You need to click here and read my friend, Kathryn's latest blog post.  Kathryn is a missionary in Northern Uganda.  She was sort of my missionary guinea pig with mama kits.  I gave her several kits and told her to pass them out however she saw fit.  She quickly saw how important they were to the women and what a great opportunity this was for her to deepen her relationships.  It is so awesome to see the kits turn into a ministry tool for her and other missionaries.  This blog post also paints a great picture of the realities of childbirth in Uganda.  It is not an easy thing.  Many more women, like Pasca, need our help. 
Pasca and her mama kit

One thing I love about this work is that it is very simple. $7 = 1 mama kit = 1 mama gets a clean, safe birth. People from every stage of life can give and make an impact. $7 or $700 you can make a difference.... you are making a difference.   

Just today I got this thank you note:

Dear Melissa,
The major cause of maternal mortality in Uganda is women not being delivered by skilled attendants and a significant proportion of that is being tackled now with the Mama Kit. Women who would have complications from delivery at home are now able to get care at the clinic. Thank you very much for donation of Mama Kits to the Comforter's Center,Uganda.

 Standing for life in Uganda,
Veronica, Director of Comforter's Center, Uganda.
One of the women from Comforter Center receiving her kit


Here are a few Mercy for Mamas prayer requests:
  • Pray today for women in labor in Uganda, for clean, safe deliveries.
  • Pray for wisdom as we seek out more places to distribute mama kits.
  • Pray for our mission trip this September as we start to finalize our plans.
  • Pray for Mercy for Mamas as we seek to get our own non-profit status.

God is doing some great work.  It is exciting to be a part of it and I can't wait to see what else He has in store.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Wow.

Wow.  I am still in awe of all of your love and support.  In the past month we've raised more than $6000 for Mercy for Mamas, which totals more than 850 mama kits.  I am so excited to find new places to distribute them and to hear the stories of these women.  I can't wait to share with you how these simple gifts are giving them hope, relieving financial burdens, and saving lives.

Excited to receive her mama kit!

Missionary Kat passing out a mama kit to her friend

I am getting more and more opportunities to share about Mercy for Mamas.  I never thought speaking would be my gig, but I love sharing my heart and passion for this cause.  If you can get me to you, I'd love to share.

A couple of reminders, I'll be speaking two times next week in the Jackson, Mississippi area.  Join me next Thursday, May 24th at the Baptist Healthplex in Clinton from 7:30-9:00pm.  This women's event is hosted by Pinelake Church in Clinton, but is open to anyone.  Then if you aren't too busy at a beach or a lake next Sunday, May 27th, come see me at Park Place Baptist in Pearl.  I'll be talking to the women's group after the evening worship service (approx. 7pm).  This is also open to anyone.  I hope to see you there!!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Busy Weekend!

It was a busy weekend as many people chose to highlight Mercy for Mamas this past Mother's Day weekend.

First of all, on Friday, our second news story aired on KWCH.  Go here to watch or read it.  It was great, and the response to both stories has been fabulous.  We continue to get donations from people who watched the stories on TV or online.  It blows me away.

Some wonderful ladies in Austin, TX hosted a Mother's Day tea for their friends on Friday.  They talked about their trip to Uganda last summer and then shared information about Mercy for Mamas.  They collected enough money for 40 mama kits! Way to go Sara and Stephanie!!

On Saturday, I spoke at Northridge Friends Church.  My sweet friends Beth, Tina, and Melissa hosted a great event with some unbelievable sweets.  Yummy!!  We raised enough money for 75 mama kits!
What does it say about me that I only took pictures of the food?

These things were heavenly!!

Then on Sunday, two churches gave Mercy for Mamas donations in honor of all of the mothers in their congregation.  They shared our video with everyone.  Not only did the churches give donations, but afterwards they collected money for at least 115 more mama kits!!

A simple thank you cannot convey my emotions to you, but I am so grateful for each of you and your love and support.  Thank you on behalf of the mothers of Uganda.  Thank you on behalf of their children.  You are a blessing and together we are going to do great things!