Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last Minute Shopping?

I just received a shipment of some brand new things from Uganda!  More headbands, earrings, ornaments, and necklaces!!  These beautiful handmade pieces would make great Christmas presents or maybe a present for yourself. In order for you to see these items ASAP I posted them to the Mercy for Mamas Facebook page.  You can place your order there by commenting on the pictures.  Or you can email your order to info@mercyformamas.com.  And don't forget we still have items listed under the "shop" tab above.  In most cases shipping is included in the price, but in order to get them to you in time for Christmas, I will be adding a couple of dollars for shipping.  And if you are local, I'll try to meet up with you or you can swing by my house.

Here's a sneak peek...







Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday.  I'll be honest, until yesterday I didn't know this day existed.  I noticed the  hashtag on several posts online, so I looked it up.  I love the idea of taking a day to focus on giving in the midst of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.  Of course, I think Giving Tuesday should maybe come before all of the ridiculous shopping, but I'll go with it.

Whether it's Tuesday or any other day, I'd encourage you to find a way to give back this Christmas. I know there are a ton of fabulous charities vying for your donations this time of year.  I urge you to check them out and find the best fit for your dollars, whether that be Mercy for Mamas or another organization. 

I feel like I say it all of the time, but this simple $7 gift can make a huge impact to one woman and her child.  I won't claim to be the solution to the orphan crisis, but I'd love to be a small part of that solution.  Let's help more mamas live to raise their children.  Let's connect women with the resources to help them have a safe, clean birth.  Let's put them in contact with a Savior who can give them eternal hope and peace. 

Just this morning, I received a thank you note from a Pastor in Kenya.  I love that while we are not equipped at this time to do work in other countries, our kits are still finding their way there and making an impact.  Here is part of his note:

I am a pastor and a student at Uganda Baptist Seminary.  My wife was pregnant and I received (from the seminary) things that really helped her during the delivery (mama kit).  It was a surprise not only to us as a family, but to the nurses at the hospital who attended to her during delivery.  It had everything they required. We are very grateful for what you did for us and are doing for God's people.

Yours Faithfully, 
Pastor Thomas

Let's give hope and mercy this Christmas!  You can make a donation for mama kits (I'll even email you a card to give your loved one) or you can also check out our "shop" page and buy great handmade gifts that give women in Uganda jobs and also the money goes back directly to support our work.

P.S.  When you click the "donate" link on the top right of this page, it will take you to The Hope Venture's donation page.  Not only do they sponsor our mama kits, but they have great projects in India and Africa.  You can buy blankets, clothes, school supplies, and even a goat for a family!  Check it out!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pictures of Progress

I am way behind on blogging (like always), but I'm excited to show you more pictures of our mama kits at work.  Each kit represents a woman and her sweet baby.  Each kit includes a chance to build a relationship and tell someone about the love of Christ and why we do what we do.  Each kit is a huge financial blessing to this mama.  Each kit gives hope!
 
1500 more kits ready for delivery!!
It took a couple of trips to unload them all in the garage.  It makes me so happy to think about all of the lives each box represents and all of the places they will go.
I love this picture.  Courtney from Afayo Project loaded up a couple of kits on her boda (pretty sure she is my hero) to give to some mamas in desperate need.  I'm so excited that we have lots more to give to Afayo soon.  I love the work they are doing.

This sweet baby was the product of a mama kit.  Precious!!

And here is another precious mama and her newborn.

This young woman picked her mama kit and baby clothes from a neighborhood crisis pregnancy center.

 In the next couple of weeks more mama kits will be distributed around Uganda.  They will be used as part of community outreach, prenatal education seminars, church events, and at medical clinics.  Please pray for the mamas and their babies.  Pray for safe pregnancies and deliveries.  Pray for peace and hope which comes only from Christ. 


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Memories in Mubende

One of the most memorable times during our recent trip to Uganda was our time in Mubende.  Mubende is the home district for my precious friend Harriet. 
Me and Harriet at our friend Brian's wedding in 2010. 
Harriet has played an integral part in Mercy for Mamas since the beginning. She helped me keep my sanity during our adoption, she helped me understand the needs of women in Uganda, and she's helped to coordinate a lot of the work for me. 

For several years I've been sending mama kits to Mubende through Harriet. The people there have been so grateful for all of the help and they have great needs.  60% of the population of Mubende is under the age of 18.  The birth rate there is one of the highest in Uganda and the rate of HIV is also very high.  They need help and education.  They asked me to visit them during my next trip, and I knew I had to take the team there this year and meet these people for myself. 
Mama kits arriving in Mubende in 2010
Harriet was thrilled we were going to her home village.  She said in all of her years of working with mission teams that we would be the first team to go visit her home with her.  I told her we could do a community outreach event and serve lunch for all of the ladies that attend.  I knew we were in for quite the day when she sent me the first budget estimate for food.  Oh my.. she planned for a lot of people. 

I expected there to be around 500 women attending the event, but surely they would not all be pregnant.  Just to be safe we allotted 500 mama kits for this event.  We went to Mubende towards the end of our trip and we'd been running out of mama kits at nearly every place we visited, but I knew we needed to save these 500 kits. 

We drove about three hours outside the capital city to a beautiful area full of rolling green hills.  We pulled up and I took one look around and I knew we were in for quite the day!  There were people everywhere... I mean everywhere, and it wasn't just women, but men and children too.  They had large tents set up to shield us from the sun and a sound system set up with music blaring.  I scanned the crowd knowing we did not have enough mama kits and turned to Billy (my Ugandan coordinator) and said, "What are we going to do?"  He shook his head and said, "I have no idea." 

We got off the bus and were greeted by the local dignitaries.  They quickly ushered us to our seats up front.  Right as we sat down, a couple of large trucks pulled up full of pregnant women.  Oh my! Then out came the National TV crew.  Say what?? We're famous, okay, not really. 


Our host, Honorable Tonny Ssemmuli (member of Ugandan parliament) shared with me that he had invited all of the health workers in the surrounding areas and each of them had brought the pregnant women in their village with them.  He then told me that he felt it was very important for the husbands to be involved in their wives' pregnancies, so he told all of the men that they had to come too if at all possible.  We estimate that there were at least 1300 people there, and at least 700 pregnant women.

The program began, which involved speeches and words of thanks for all of the local dignitaries.  These dignitaries would be the equivalent to our city council, mayor, governor, and Congressman. Now parts of all of this were a bit too much of a political rally for me, but I did like that they urged the people for change.  They explained the need for maternal health care in their area and urged all of the people to seek medical care for the pregnant women and to start saving money now for her delivery. I was grateful for the time I've served in Uganda with Libraries of Love.  I had some idea of the protocol of what was expected of me from years of watching Trudy handle opening ceremonies.

My favorite part of the program included a play by children from the local school.  These kids were awesome and I could tell they'd practiced for weeks.  They acted out the need for mama kits and what happens when a woman does not have her supplies.  They somehow had the names of my whole team and used our names as all of the characters.  The children were so animated and funny, but they got the point across.  The whole crowd was really into it.  Then they ended the performance with the recitation of a poem called, "Mercy for Mamas, Mercy for Life."  Be still my heart.


Eventually it was my turn to share.  While listening to the other speeches, I'd been praying that God would calm my nerves and give me the right words to say.  He did just that.  I told them of my heart for the women of Uganda, I explained why we do what we do.  I urged the men to step up and provide for the women and children.  And then I shared the gospel with them and that we want women to live through childbirth, but we also want them to have eternal life with Christ.  To be honest, I don't even remember all that I shared, but I just spoke my heart and God gave me the words.  Afterwards my translator (who was awesome!!) said, "Mama Melissa you can preach.  Thank you for speaking boldly."  I told him that if God brought this large crowd of people from all backgrounds together and I had a microphone, I better make sure that I use if for Him.

After I shared, our Ugandan nurse, Agnes, got up to do her presentation.  We talked shortly after arriving and decided that her usual talk would have to be altered because of the large crowd and the men being present.  She looked very nervous after seeing the TV camera and the dignitaries, but once she got up  to speak, all fear seemed gone.  She did a great job. 

Then came the time I was really worried about... the passing out of the mama kits.  Everyone was hot and crowded and I knew we did not have enough kits.  I did not want a riot on our hands.  I decided to leave this part to the locals.  They would know the best way to go about it--and they did.  They quickly divided everyone by where they came from. Then they organized the women by how far along they were.  It was amazing how quickly they got everyone setup and started the distribution.  We explained that we did not have enough, but that more would be coming very soon and they would take down their names and get the kits to the women as soon as possible.  I sat back in awe as I watched all of this in action. 

Then came my other worry... would there be enough food?  Again, the Lord provided.  Somehow we had enough food for every person to get a heaping plate of food.  I felt like I was watching the fishes and the loaves all over again.

And to top it all off, one woman went into labor while we were there.  I'd seen the woman several times during the event.  At first, I thought she was mad about something.  Then I realized she was in pain and having contractions.  Before we left, several of us went to pray for her and her baby.  Then a local nurse took her to the hospital.  She got her mama kit, just in the nick of time!

The day was quite an adventure.  My team got to experience a true Ugandan ceremony and all of the protocol, which us Americans just do not understand.  We got to see a bit of rural life and the need for family planning, health education, and community resources in these places..  We got to love on some sweet kiddos, eat lunch with new friends, and share Jesus with many.  And we got to say that we were on Ugandan TV and Radio.  I had several Ugandan friends call or text me the next day to say they saw us on the news.  How fun is that?

I recently received a thank you email from Honorable Tonny. 
 "Once again I do wish to convey my sincere gratitude for the good work you are rendering to the pregnant mothers of Uganda. Up to now, the people of Mubende are still talking about the good spirit and the heartfelt you have towards them. May the Almighty bless you in all your endeavours.  You have already saved more than 2000 lives in my community and the positive impact is already seen from the ladies giving birth to the healthy children but all under your initiative.
May God bless you abundantly,  
Hon Tonny Ssemmuli"
Every time Hon. Tonny mentions the work "you" are doing he is talking about all of you!  You are the ones that help to make this happen.  I am so grateful that God chooses to use me to play a small part in this work, but your prayers, support, and donations are vitally important.  And I can tell you that God is using mama kits to have a big impact in rural areas like Mubende.

I'm glad to report that we recently sent 250 more mama kits to Mubende, so all of the women that attended the event should now have a mama kit.  I can't wait to get more pictures and success stories from the women there.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Get Involved

We need your help!  As always, the success of this organization depends on your help.  We need you to spread the word about the need.  Here are a few things you can do to help...

1)  Host a Mercy for Mamas event.  This could be your church, moms' group, women's ministry, senior citizen dinner, or even just get together a group of your friend's at your house.  We are open to all groups, whether big or small.  Melissa (or a Mercy for Mamas representative) can talk about how this all started, what we do, and explain the need.  People really seem to connect to this ministry when they can hear about it firsthand.

2) Have a Mercy for Mamas Jewelry Party.  This could be just like your average at-home sales party.  Melissa will mail you the inventory, you host your friends, show the video or pass out brochures, and then send the profits and remaining jewelry back.  Or if you are close by, Melissa will also be happy to attend your party and help out in any way.

3) Shop!  We offer a wide variety of handmade Ugandan jewelry for sale in our SHOP.  All proceeds go directly toward our work and help to put mama kits in the hands of more pregnant women.

4) Buy mama kits in honor of a special woman in your life.  These make great gifts or an addition to a gift.  Make your donation and then include a "comment" that you'd like a gift card.  We'll email you a card to print out explaining your gift.

5) Use Mercy for Mamas as a mission project for your church, bible study group, VBS, etc.  Mama kits provide a great opportunity for your group to offer support to a woman in need and also to share Jesus with this woman and her family.  With each kit costing just $7, this is a great project for groups of all sizes. 

6) Sign up to receive email updates from this website (link on the right of this page).  Or "like" our page on Facebook.  This will help to keep you up to date on all that we are doing.  We also love it when you can share any of that information with your friends and family. 

These are just a few ways that you can personally help to support Mercy for Mamas.  If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact Melissa at info@mercyformamas.com

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Note of Thanks

I recently received this note of thanks from a pastor in Kenya.  He received a mama kit for his wife from the nurses at Uganda Baptist Seminary in Jinja. 
"I thank God for UBS (Uganda Baptist Seminary). Through UBS God has blessed me so much in different areas.  I love children's ministry very much. 
My special thanks goes to our nurse Sis Evelyn for a birth kit last term. It helped me very much that I don't know how to express it.  God blessed us with a baby girl called Faith Ushindi/Ever on 7th May, 2013.  The nurses enjoyed the work and they were touched with the kit as if it was the first time to see such a kit. 
  May God bless you,
  Glory to God,
Mutoka"

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sneak Peak...

I apologize for not posting more updates or stories from our recent trip to Uganda.  I promise they are coming.  I got home from Uganda and then turned around and left again for a few days.  So, I'm trying to get life back on track this week in the midst of the summer craziness. 

I did want to give you a sneak peak at some of the photos from the trip.  These are from our Mercy for Mamas Facebook page.  If you haven't "liked" the page yet, make sure to do that so you can stay up to date that way too.


A few stats from the latest trip... we visited four crisis pregnancy centers, two orphanages, one medical clinic, and hosted two dinners for missionary women and four community outreach events.  We ministered to approximately 2000 women and we passed out more than 1500 mama kits. We even were featured on Ugandan TV (or so I am told, I didn't see it).  We prayed with many, many women, we did some basic medical checkups on those most in need, we loved on lots of babies and children, and partnered with missionaries and ministries doing the hard work in Uganda each and every day.  We shared information on prenatal care, breastfeeding, nutrition, and even massage.

And good news... I ordered 1,000 more mama kits last week and they should be delivered later this week.  We ran out of kits during several of our events.  We were not prepared for SO many pregnant women to attend.  It was a great problem to have and I am excited that we can now get the rest of the needed mama kits in their hands.

I'm already getting stories from the frontlines of the mama kits in action.  I can't wait to share these stories and many of the other stories from the trip.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

That's a Wrap...

Our last day of ministry here is complete.  In 8 days we passed out 1500 mama kits to women all over Uganda.  We have waiting lists at several places for more kits.  Thank God and thanks to all of you, I have enough money to buy more kits as soon as they become available.  So please pray for the company that makes they to get more in stock very soon!

Tomorrow we'll do some shopping and packing before heading home in the evening.  Pray for us to have smooth flights and safe travels.

It's been a great trip of meeting old friends and forming new relationships and partnerships.  I have many stories to tell, but right now I'm sure my roommates are sick of hearing the clickety-clack of my typing and I probably should get some rest.

Please know that although you are not all with us on the trip, I always tell the women about the wonderful donors back home in the US who love them and pray for them.  Many of them seem surprised that people on the other side of the world care so much about them.  They are truly grateful for God's provision and your support.

 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

On the move...

Wow, it's been a busy three days.  Friday we got to take a fairly quick tour of The Suubi Project.  They run an orphanage, school, church and medical clinic in a village outside Kampala.  It's neat to see all of the progress that's happened there since my last visit two years ago.  We got to visit the children in the classes and see some songs with them.  They also have a small clinic for the school and then people from the village come by it as well.  We were able to load them up with some medical supplies and also mama kits.  I know women in this area will definitely be blessed by these kits.

After that we went to so SOS ministries (Sufficiency of Scripture).  This was my first time to visit this ministry, so I did not know what to expect, but I was so blessed by them and the work they do. We held an outreach clinic for women in the area and surrounding villages.  About 200 women attended, with some of them walking very far to get there.

The sound system at the church was not working and so it became difficult to hear.  The great people on my team quickly jumped up and took most of the children outside, so that the mamas could better concentrate.  It was such a blessing that my team could babysit and give these mamas an opportunity to learn.  And the team loved getting to play with the little ones.

The women listened very attentively to the prenatal education seminar.  They asked lots of great questions.  We also shared the gospel with them and we were able to pray over all of them.  Afterwards we presented mama kits to all of the pregnant women and invited them to get a prenatal check from our nurses. 

Friday evening we stayed in the home of the SOS missionaries.  They were such wonderful hosts!  We had a great time visiting with them, learning about their work, and encouraging them and praying for them.

Saturday, we talked through the village surrounding SOS and learned more about all that they do. I was very impressed with this ministry and the way they operate. 

Then we made the long trek to Jinja battling two different construction zones.  But the long ride was worth it when we got to enjoy a lovely dinner overlooking the Nile River.  We are truly suffering for the Lord. ha!!

Today (Sunday) we attended church with the children from Redeemer House Orphanage, then we treated the kids to lunch back at their place.  We had sodas and rolex (a chapatti rolled up with eggs, cabbage, and tomato).  Yum!  We played with the kids and had a nice visit with some of my favorite kiddos in Uganda.

This afternoon we went for a quick boat tour of the Source of the Nile River.  Then we rushed back to get ready for our Missionary Encouragement Dinner.  I think the dinner was a huge success.  I love getting to visit with the women and hear about all of the amazing work they are doing.  I know the night was a big blessing to me and many of the women commented on how much they needed and appreciated the night.  I also made some great future contacts to use mama kits.  I'm excited to see where God takes us in the next year.

Thanks again for your continued love and support!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Trip Update

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support.  We are having a great trip so far.  Our travel here was not like we planned.  We had lots of delays and we ended up arriving in three shifts, but everyone kept a good attitude and stayed flexible, so it all worked out. 

Wednesday we visited three crisis pregnancy center.  We did some prenatal education with them.  We also did a session on diet and nutrition.  We had devotional time with them, and we got to pray with each girl.  We also had some great question and answer time with some of the women on single parenting, delivery, diet, and lots of other interesting things.

Thursday we visited a village about an hour outside of the capital.  We were told to expect about 100 women.  I knew to overestimate, so we brought about 150 mama kits.  We had more than 200 women show up.  It always amazes me, how many pregnant women can live in one small area.  These women were all different ages and faiths, but we joined together for a great time of teaching.  I can't wait for you to see the pictures of how many pregnant women we had crammed in this tiny church building.  Again, they seemed to really appreciate the teaching and learn from it.  One of my favorite times was when Jenny our massage therapist taught us all a new technique to help with digestion.  We had all of them up and practicing it.  It was so fun to watch.

After the teaching time with them we passed out mama kits, and of course we ran out of them.  We were able to write down all of their names and we promised to send someone with the rest of the kits on Monday.  We ate lunch with the women and then a couple of the medical people with us on the trip, did some basic exams and checks on those most in need.  Thankfully everyone seemed in pretty good shape, just dehydrated.  We used the dopplers on them and it thrilled my heart each time we heard that precious little heart beat.  We set up our makeshift "clinic" on our bus.  Not ideal, but it worked.

Last night we hosted our first missionary encouragement dinner.  We had about 60 ladies show up.  They were from all over the area and so many different ministries.  We ate a wonderful meal, had a time of worship, I share about Mercy for Mamas, and then we broke off into groups to share and pray with one another.  The women all seemed to have such a great time and repeatedly told me how much nights like these are needed.  I even had one of the missionaries mother's (that I know) send me a message last night in tears and thanking me for ministering to her daughter.  So sweet!

Today (Friday) we are off to visit two villages to do more outreach clinics.  Pray for God to give us the right words to say and for God to use us to minister to these women in a special way today.

I promise to try to upload some pictures today or tomorrow. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It's Time...

In just a few hours the 2013 Mercy for Mamas team will begin the long trip to Uganda.  I can't wait to get my feet back on Ugandan soil.  I long to hear Ugandan voices, see their beautiful smiles, hug my dear friends, and eat some yummy food.  I'm anxious for us to get to work and I'm curious just what exactly God is going to do through this team.
 
Our needs have been provided for every step of the way.  I once again must offer a huge word of thanks to everyone who has given to the cause.  Each goody bag item you bought, mama kit your purchased, and donation you provided makes a difference.
 
Although you may not be traveling with us, you are a part of this work.  I encourage you to follow along with our trip and to pray for us along the way. I'll be posting on here as much as time allows.  But your best bet may be to follow us on Facebook, so if you have not "liked" our page yet, please do so.  The link is here It is often much easier for me to post a snippet here or there on Facebook than to write out a blog.
 
Pray for smooth travels, for us to stay healthy, and most importantly that we'll be obedient along the way with whatever situations and conversations come our way.  Pray for us to show Jesus to all that we meet and for His love to come through in each mama kit we pass out and with every smile and hug that we share.  Pray for us to be an encouragement to other believers and to bring refreshment to those serving full-time in Uganda.
 
I can't wait to share with you the many stories we will make once we return. Now, it is TIME TO GO!
 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Couple of Updates...

First off a huge thank you to everyone who supported us through our Mother's Day campaign.  I love that I do not personally know so many of the people who shopped and donated.  It's amazing to me how word spreads about this work.  I've learned a long time ago to not try to figure out how God is going to meet certain needs.  Instead, I need to sit back and enjoy watching God work.

And despite my last statement, I'm not going to lie.. I was a bit worried about paying for the mama kits.  For a few days I kept trying to come up with schemes to raise more money.  Finally I told myself that I needed to rest in the work that had been done and let God provide.  My mantra became, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."~Philippians 4:6 

And God provided abundantly, which should never surprise me, but still humbles me.  I have enough money to pay for the kits we already purchased, and I'll have enough waiting to place another order as soon as more mama kits are available.

To each of you that donated, bought jewelry and t-shirts, shared with your church, shared on Facebook or with your friends, I say thank you on behalf of the hundreds of women you are helping.  Every dollar truly matters and makes a difference.

I got this sweet testimony this week from a missionary serving in Jinja.
"Today I gave out 5 kits to students at Uganda Baptist Seminary. Later in the afternoon one of our graduates who also serves as an adjunct faculty member came into my clinic.  He lives in northern Uganda.  A couple of weeks ago a 3 yr old orphan who lives with his family played with matches in his house while he and his wife were out working in the field.  The child set a mosquito net on fire which then destroyed his entire house and all that they owned---clothing, mattresses, food stores, furniture, all of his theological books, etc.... No one was injured.   
When we told a pastor in the states who has been here to teach several times over the years about what had happened, he sent us money from another pastor in the states to help this Ugandan pastor/teacher.  I gave the money to him today to help him replace some of his property.   
The last time he came here to teach, I had given him a Mama Kit since his fourth child is due soon.  Today he said that the Mama Kit had burned along with everything else.  So I was able to give him another Mama Kit to take home to his wife.  He was thankful to have another kit to help his wife have a safe delivery.  (They have 3 living children and had one that died several years ago.) 
Thanks so much for providing Mama Kits for the wives of our pastors and church leaders at Uganda Baptist Seminary!!  Each time I give out a kit I tell them that the ladies in the US who donated the kits are praying for their wives to have safe deliveries and healthy babies!"

We still could use a few more donations toward our outreach projects during our trip.  We'll be feeding hundreds of women and children nearly every day.  We also may still be looking for a laptop.  If you'd like to donate towards these projects please email me info@mercyformamas.com 

If you are interested, we still have t-shirts available.  I have Adult Smalls-adult XXL, but quantities are limited so order soon!  Shirts are $17 (+3 shipping). 

We also still have jewelry available.  These would make end of the year teacher gifts or baby shower presents for an expectant mama!  Check out the "shop" tab above.

Again, thank you so much for supporting this work.  I could not do it without your love and support.  And I look forward to telling you many success stories in the days ahead!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Need

In one month my team heads back to Uganda.  Aaahhh!!  It will be here before we know it and we have a lot to do to get ready! I'm taking 13 people with me with all sorts of skills and abilities.  I can't wait to see how God is going to use this group.

We have a jam-packed schedule, and we will minister to hundreds and hundreds of women.  We will visit at least four crisis pregnancy centers.  We'll lead five villages outreach events and visit two orphanages.  And we will host two missionary encouragement dinners.   The villages are very excited for us to come. I heard today that one village is expecting close to 300 women and another is expecting 500!  I'm assuming not all of those women will be pregnant, but many of them will be. We will be busy.  As for the missionaries, they are VERY excited we are hosting another dinner to honor them.  I've had many already RSVP and invite their friends.

With the expectant mothers we will share prenatal care, delivery, and breastfeeding information.  We'll talk about nutrition and diet. We'll teach them some of the basics of prenatal and infant massage.  We'll do very basic exams on the women that need it.  And most importantly we will share the love of Jesus with them and pray for them and their children.

Last week, my mama kit supplier contacted me.  She said that they were running low on mama kits and she did not know when they would be getting more.  She knew that I was going to need a lot for my trip.  She wanted to hold all of the kits that they had for me, and she would go ahead and deliver them so no one would be tempted to take them.  Early last week, 1500 mama kits arrived in my friends' garage.

Each kit represents a mama.   I get teary-eyed just thinking about this work and the impact.  Each week I get contacted by people that are passing out the kits and they tell me what a blessing they are to the women.  I know to us it seems too simple, but to them this is hope.  This week, I even heard about one missionary that had a baby named after her after she gave the mama a kit.  I love it.

I teach a children's mission class at our church.  This week we watched a video about a former homeless man who now pastors an inner city church in Los Angeles.  This man says his whole life turned around when one little girl came up to the dirty, smelly, scary-looking homeless man and said, "Jesus loves you."  I've been thinking about that for days.  I'm sure that little girl has no idea the impact she had on him.  Her three simple and sincere words made a huge difference.  God used her to soften this man's heart. 

A mama kit can have the same effect as those little girl's words.  Yes, mama kits do help save lives.  Yes, they do help prevent infection and they do encourage women to seek medical attention.  But in a simple way, they also give hope.  They let a woman who has been through unspeakable trials know that someone cares about her and her baby.  They soften hearts to hear about the love of Jesus.   

Friends, I need your help.  I need to raise more money for mama kits.  We need to pay the balance for the kits we just received.  We will easily pass out all 1500 of those during our trip.  I already have requests for mama kits as soon as my supplier gets more.  I hate the idea of having to tell people that I cannot get them more kits, especially when I know they are being used for great ministry.

Just today, I heard from a woman working on a remote island that is 4-5 hours away from the city.  She heard about our work and desperately wants some kits to use for her new birthing clinic. 

We also need help paying for some of the ministry projects we will be doing on the trip.  This includes providing lunch for the ladies and children during our outreach clinics and also paying the Ugandan nurses who will help with our teaching.  

We also would love a new-to-us laptop to take to the man who runs things for us in Uganda.  A good condition used laptop would be wonderful if you happen to have an extra one around. 

I know I've often asked you for donations, but I feel passionate about this cause.  I see and hear about the need constantly.  I promise you that every donation goes directly toward helping these women.  I feel strongly that we are called to help women and orphans.  I can't think of a better way to help than through orphan prevention.

Donations for mama kits can be made directly to The Hope Venture (link on the top right).  If you are interested in helping with our ministry projects or if you have a laptop donation please feel free to email me at info@mercyformamas.com, and we can talk about the best way to do that.

It's also not too late to give Mercy for Mamas this Mother's Day.  Check out our "SHOP" tab at the top of the page.  All jewelry money will go directly toward buying mama kits.  Order before Wednesday and you should get it in time for Sunday.  Or make a donation in honor of someone and I'll email you a special card for you give to her explaining your gift.  It's that easy.

Friday, May 3, 2013

What if...

 what if a simple gift could help to prevent a child from becoming an orphan?
 
what if this gift could save the life of a precious mother?

 
 
what if this gift could encourage women to seek medical treatment
who otherwise would not?
 
what if this gift could prevent infection?
 
what if this gift could give a woman hope?
 
what if this gift was a huge financial blessing to this woman and her family?
 
 
what if this gift opened the door for women to learn about the
One who offers all love, peace and joy?
 
 
what if you could do all of these thing for just $7?
 
 
for $7 you can give hope and show mercy.
 
for $7 you can help to save a woman's life.
 
give mercy today.


{Give today by clicking on The Hope Venture link on the upper right side of this page. If you'd like to give a mama kit in honor of someone you love, we'll send you a special card to give them explaining your gift.  All donations are tax-deductible}

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mama Kits At Work

I got a lovely update from a woman who works with Uganda Baptist Seminary in Jinja this weekend.  She reports that they host about 100 pastors each month for classes.  She's been passing out about 10-15 mama kits each month.

"The students are SO THANKFUL for this gift that you provide that helps their wives to have safe deliveries.  I usually ask how many children they have, and this often leads to an opportunity to talk with them about family planning options that are available here.  One month four of the students who received a Mama Kit were expecting their 7th baby... Thanks so much for making these kits available that are helping the families of these pastors and church leaders from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, and Rwanda."

I love to hear stories of mama kits at work and helping women all over East Africa.  This news makes me smile on this dreary Monday. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Honor your Mother

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
 
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.

There are several ways you can give this Mother's Day. 

JEWELRY!
You can check out some of the new beautiful jewelry we have for sale.  Check out the "SHOP" tab above or click the link.  I just love some of these new pieces and I know the women in your life will too.  All jewelry is handmade by women in Uganda, which means we're helping to provide jobs for them.  All money will go directly toward the purchase and distribution of mama kits.  All jewelry will come wrapped and will include a card explaining our cause.  All jewelry orders need to be emailed to info@mercyformamas.com
 
DONATE!
Secondly, you can make a donation in honor of someone.  We'll send you (snail mail or email) a special card explaining your gift and how many mama kits you purchased in her honor.  Just simply click on the donate link on the right side of this page.  The link will take you to The Hope Venture website (our partner non-profit).  Just go down to "Africa Projects" and then you'll see the "mama kits" option and enter how many kits you'd like to purchase.  In the comments section, leave a note that you'd like a Mother's Day card and if you'd like it via email or snail mail. If you don't want to pay online or if you have any questions, send us an email at info@mercyformamas.com.
 
T-SHIRTS!

Finally, we have new Mercy for Mamas t-shirts!  I am really excited about the new color and they'll have our website info on the back.  We're taking pre-orders now through April 26th.(Shirts have now been ordered, but we do have extras in adult sizes, so check with me to see what sizes we have!)  These are not guaranteed by Mother's Day, but we'll do our best.  Shirts will be $17 (+$3 shipping).  All shirts are a unisex fit and available in Adult Small- Adult XXXL (+$2 for XXL and XXXL).  We will also have KIDS' SHIRTS!  These are available in XS (2-4), S (6-8), M (10-12), and L (14-16) and will also be $17.  Email shirt order to info@mercyformamas.com

**If this is your first time to our site, I encourage you to check out the tabs at the top to understand a bit more about what we do.  Make sure to watch the videos! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Challenge to Churches


Many churches give a small token gift to all of the mothers in the congregation for Mother's Day.  But what if instead of a small gift for you your church decided to give a gift of hope to mothers in Uganda?  Last year several churches decided to do just that. 
From Pastor Nathan Gunter of First Southern Baptist Church of Lansing... 
"Last year we wanted to do something special in our church for Mother's Day. So in place of the usual $2 mother's appreciation gift, we made a donation to Mercy for Mamas, shared the Mercy for Mamas video and explained how a small gift could change the life of a mother and child in Uganda.  Our small congregation was so excited about the idea that they gave even more money to the cause after the service.  In one day we raised enough to buy more than 140 kits! We love seeing God's love displayed through this ministry and will be partnering with their work in Uganda for years to come." 
 Another church used Mercy for Mamas as a Mother's Day project and has continued to find other ways to give.
From Debbie Rhoades of Cornerstone Baptist Church... 
"Mercy for Mamas is a ministry that our church, Cornerstone Baptist Church
in Winchester, IL, has been involved in for several years.  Our congregation has embraced this ministry to the women of Uganda in several ways: 
For Mother's Day instead of giving a small token gift to the women of the
congregation we have shared a DVD about this ministry and then the church
has made a donation to Mercy for Mamas in honor of the women of the church.  We have also taken donations from members who also wanted to contribute individually to this ministry. 
We have had several mothers-to-be who have opted at their baby showers to
have people donate to Mercy for Mamas instead of purchasing shower gifts.  We have celebrated the upcoming birth by providing Mama kits for the women of Uganda and helping to insure a safe birth for both mother and child. We have also had people who have chosen to give the gift of Mama kits in honor of friends and loved ones for birthdays, Christmas gifts and other celebrations. 
Mercy for Mamas is a ministry that Cornerstone will be involved in for many
years to come.  It is a simple and inexpensive way to help impact the
lives of the beautiful women and children of Uganda.  We would like to
encourage other churches and individuals to join us as well."  

Would your church be willing to join us?  We'd be happy to send you a copy of the DVD, brochures, and cards to hand the women in your church.  Let's use this year's Mother's Day to make a huge impact for expectant mothers in Uganda.  What better gift can you give a mama than hope?

For more information on how to get started email info@mercyformamas.com


 

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Mama Kits at Work

The women of Pearl Haven Christian Centre in Mbale recently passed out mama kits in Dokolo Village in Northern Uganda.  They spent a day ministering to people who had come from all the neighboring villages at a local church.

I love that I gave the church the kits months ago, but they saved them so they could use them for an outreach/mission project.  They easily could have just passed them out to women in their own church, but instead they wanted to use them to reach out to others less fortunate than them and use them as a ministry tool.  The women of Pearl Haven are always an example to me.


That woman is not yawning, she is doing her traditional yell of excitement and jubilation.  I can hear it now in my head. Love it.



 
This my friends is love in action.