Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Year of Blessings

On this last day of 2014, it seems only fitting to look back on all of the work God has done. It has certainly been a year filled with many blessings.  Through your contributions, we've been able to supply more than 6,800 mama kits to women in Uganda this year. We expanded our efforts into new parts of the country,ventured into more remote areas, and have developed some great new partnerships.


We've heard story upon story of women who have been blessed through the gifts of a mama kit, prenatal education, and ultimately a gift of hope through Jesus Christ. Our ministry partners have been able to counsel and train up young teenage mothers, help heal the wounds of women pregnant through abuse and rape, provided job training for single moms trying to provide for their children, and offer medical care to women would not get it otherwise. I love that we can partner with them in these efforts. Your donations help them forge new relationships and give them valuable ministry tools.

In the past year, we've been able to host numerous health education seminars giving women valuable information on how to keep themselves and their babies healthy. I've watched as women learned for the first time what exactly is happening in their bodies during pregnancy. I've seen the relief on their faces when they learned new ways to ease pregnancy and labor pains. We've been able to assess possible complications and insure those women get needed medical help. We've taught women the important signs of an emergency during pregnancy and labor. We've sent up prayers for hundreds of women... prayers for hope, forgiveness, provision and salvation.

Your purchases of t-shirts, tumblers, jewelry and crafts have given us the funds to buy mama kits, host outreach events, pay for prenatal education, buy necessary medical supplies and offer support in special situations like the birth of the conjoined twins.

In the grand scheme of things, 6,800 mama kits is merely a drop in the bucket considering the need.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the need and the numbers, but then I start to think of each kit and the woman it represents. Your donations helped Esther, Sarah, and Isabelle. Your donations gave Esseza, Mary, and Fatima a chance for medical care. Sometimes as we sit in our homes in the US, it is easy to forget the impact you are having on the lives of the women on the other side of the world.  But friends, I can tell you I have met them. I have seen their sweet smiles. I have hugged their necks. I have prayed with them, wept with them, and heard their shouts of joy. On behalf of these precious women I say thank you to you for your donations and thank you to God who is our ultimate provider and source of life.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fruit of our Work


I wanted you to see a few of the faces that your donations have helped the last few months. We've been able to pass out about 1,500 more kits since July.  Your donation dollars have been hard at work helping mamas and babies all across Uganda.  

We've been able to start working with some new partners.  It is so exciting to find groups who can truly use and integrate the mama kits and good prenatal care into their existing ministries and work. They get so excited when I tell them that we can provide them this help free of charge.  What a blessing!

These are just a few of the many success stories.
This sweet mama was able to safely deliver her 10 lb. baby at home in her village with the help of her mama kit from Healing Faith Ministries.
These beautiful women received mama kits at a health outreach seminar hosted by Muyenga Baptist Church.  More than  165 women attended and several women received Christ as their Savior at the event as well.  
These ladies at Comforter's Center in Kampala were go grateful to not have the financial burden of buying a mama kit.
These teenage girls at the Youth For Christ Center received their mama kits. 
Uniquely Woven is a ministry reaching out to pregnant women in one slum area of Kampala. They've started a bible study with the women.  At this meeting the ladies received their mama kits and they were thrilled!

These sweet babies were born using mama kits they received this summer.  Their ministry reports, "We are happy to announce that many healthy babies have been born because of these kits!...THANK YOU to all who donated money to buy these life-saving kits!! "
shortly after birth
The babies and mom at two months oldThese conjoined twins have had a special place in my heart the last couple of months. They were born via emergency c-section to a young mother from a village.  They had no way to transport them to Kampala to the main gov't hospital for treatment. Mercy for Mamas and other friends were glad to be able to pay for their transport and care. They've received one life-saving surgery, but they need more.  Please read more here about how you can help these precious little ones.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Trip

I once again must apologize for my lack of keeping up with this website.  If it's any consolation, I often think of what I would write while I'm driving in my car. If I could find a way to voice-text some blog posts to you all I totally would, but I can barely voice-text my hubby to ask him if he can pick up some milk.

Anyway, the 2014 Mercy for Mamas Mission Team had an amazing trip. I hope some of you were able to follow along on Facebook a bit.  (If you haven't done so yet, please like our Facebook page because I update there more often because of convenience).
Our team at the Nile River
We had 13 ladies on our team and it was such a great mix of people.  Every one found their purpose and job and pitched in to make the trip a success.  It was fun to see people from 5 different states and from all different walks of life gel into a unified team for ministry.  I'll admit that I was a bit nervous when I realized how many first-timers and type-A personalities we had on our team, but they were so flexible and such hard workers.  When we would come to a new situation or things were not going as planned I would tell them, "I'm not sure what's happening, but I know whatever it is, it's going to be FABULOUS!"  Thank goodness that was true 9 times out of 10.  Beth wrote a bit about finding her place on the team here.

We held seven different outreach and health education events. These were in a variety of locations from village churches, under the "meeting tree" on an island, to a women's prison.  We visited four different crisis pregnancy centers and enjoyed times of teaching, prayer, and encouragement with the young ladies at those centers.  We did basic prenatal exams on at least 150 women.  We hosted two missionary encouragement dinners for about 130 missionary women serving in Uganda full-time.
The amazing Agnes teaching under a tree.
Keeky (missionary) and Stephanie talking to a woman during her check-up
Missionary dinner in Jinja
During our health education events we taught on basic hygiene, prenatal care, warning signs to look for in pregnancy, delivery techniques, caring for newborns, breastfeeding, HIV, and even menopause.  It is always so interesting to me how each group has a different feel and different topics they want to focus on.  You can tell which women are delivering their own babies at home, which areas have more HIV present, and who needs to know the very basics of pregnancy and how a child forms within the womb.  We were so blessed to have such gifted teachers and nurses with us that could adapt our lessons to each group and their needs

We also had a doula, Staci, on our team. She was such a great asset to our team.  She gave the women some basic positions and moves to help with pain during delivery and to help speed up the process.  She got all of us standing up to practice our lunges and squats.  She taught them pressure points and how to massage a woman's back during labor.  In most situation in Uganda, other women are around while you are in labor, but they are not necessarily helping or supporting you.  One of our goals' is to encourage the women to help one another during labor.  We want them to offer physical and emotional support and also help look out for warning signs in their friends.  You can read a bit more about Staci's experiences here and here.
Staci teaching a belly lift. So fun.
And my, oh my, we saw so many pregnant women. It still amazes me to see so many expecting women gathered in one location.  I just love looking out over the crowds at their growing bellies and their big smiles. We got to pray one-on-one with many of the women, which was such a blessing and a joy to me.  The needs of these women are real.  I heard so many stories of unbelievable pain and suffering.  I saw many women who had lost hope and needed to find peace.  I met women scared for the health of their babies and desperate for prayers for their unborn babies.  My heart is still heavy for these women. I pray that they can find the joy, peace, and hope that can only come through Christ.  I pray they can rest in Him when everything around them seems so overwhelming.


Muyenga Baptist Church Mama Kit Outreach
We got to meet many babies that had been born using a mama kit in the past year.  I got to hold them and see the fruits of our labor.  I got to hear stories from missionaries, church leaders, and nurses who told us just how vital these mama kits have been in their work and the difference that this simple kit can make.

I got to hear how the mama kits can be a blessing even when a woman miscarries or delivers a stillborn.  In these situations the woman still needs supplies, she still needs financial help, and she needs a bit of hope that someone cares for her.

Overall, we passed out just under 2,000 mama kits during the trip.  We finished out the remaining 700 mama kits this week.  I'll be placing an order for more this next week.  God continues to provide both the funds to purchase them and the partners to give them to for delivery.  It amazes me.


I have many more thoughts and stories from the trip. I promise to try to share them in the days ahead.  There really is so much to process and work through from just a two week trip.  I really hope you'll read Michelle's thoughts on the trip and some of what she experienced.  She said it all much more eloquently that I could.

I also really appreciate these sweet words from one of our teammates Patti.
I have believed in Mercy for Mamas since the organization was started, but now I have seen firsthand what a tremendous impact this ministry has on the women of Uganda.  It is not just the one time trip that so many short term mission trips are - although I do see value in those, changing the lives of those who go and those to whom they minister.  But the difference I saw in Mercy for Mamas is that it not only ministers to the women while the team is there in their midst, but it continues to minister to women throughout the year through the various ministries and missionaries with which you partner.  I met women on this trip whose names are now written in my journal, and I will continue to pray for in the coming months.  The health education we provided to the women of Uganda will change many of their lives - allowing them to live healthier and have healthier babies and children.  The mama kits will enable many of them to have successful births that they survive and will be there to raise those babies, that might not have been the case if we had not been there.  The encouragement we gave to women in the villages and the ones from America and around the world who minister there every day will stay with some of them for a long time, encouraging them to continue to move forward.  I'm glad I got to be a part of all that.
Patti visiting with some of the women and children on Lingira Island
 God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Success!

I have some great news.  We have exceeded our fundraising goal and the money keeps coming in!  We have raised enough money for more than 3,700 mama kits!  I have purchased 2,700 so far.  We can't buy more until we use up the ones we have because of storage issues. What a great problem to have!

In just three weeks, the Mercy for Mamas mission team will arrive in Uganda for two weeks of ministry.  We have six large outreaches planned, visits to at least five crisis pregnancy centers, and a visit to a women's prison. We are going to be busy, but it's going to be so great to once again get to love on these women, hear their stories, encourage them, provide birth and prenatal education, and point them towards the local partners who can help them year round.

Next week, mama kit distribution will happen at one of the refugee camps in Northern Uganda.  Pray for these women who have suffered much in the past few months.  I'm know the idea of facing childbirth and raising a new little one in a foreign country with no idea of what their future holds is very difficult.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mamas out there!  

I am so excited that we are going to be able to bless so many mamas in Uganda this summer because of your generous support.  I truly am blown away by God's provision.  I'm anxious to give you all a total and to let you know just how many women we are going to be able to help.  Look for an update later this week!

If your church promoted Mercy for Mamas this Mother's Day, I would love to hear from you. I'd love to know what you did, how it was received, and how much money was raised.  I've already heard from one church that raised enough money for 400+ mama kits! Please email me (info@mercyformamas.com, comment here, or send me a message on Facebook)



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Shopping in a Flash!

It's not too late to make a donation to
Mercy for Mamas in honor of the special women in your life.
All money goes directly toward the purchase and distribution of mama kits. Each mama kit costs $7 and gives a woman the life-saving supplies she needs to deliver her baby safely.

After you make your donation, we'll email you a card to give your mom explaining your gift.  Mother's Day Shopping done in two minutes!!
This is a win/win for sure!!




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mother's Day Downloads



In a follow up to our Challenge to Churches 2014, I'm including info here to download to help your church feature Mercy for Mamas this Mother's Day.

We've made a bulletin insert that you can download here.

We have two types of donation cards for you.  The first one is to pass out to mothers if your church, as a whole, makes a donation in honor of the women in your church.  You can download that card here.

We also have a card designed for church members to give to their loved ones if they make a personal donation (via church love offering or they donate to us directly).  You can download that card here.

And we also have our brochures, which are you can download and print from here or you can email us and we'll be happy to mail them to you directly (info@mercyformamas.com)

And our video is in under the "videos" tab above.  You can download that from YouTube to play during your church service. (**My apologies, due to circumstances beyond my control, the new version of the video will not be done by this Sunday.  Please use our original promo video)

Thank you for your patience.  And thank your for your continued support and generosity.  We are inching toward out goal of 3,000 kits by June.  We can do this with your help!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Challenge to Churches 2014

**This post is aimed at pastors and church leaders.  If that's not you, will you please pass this on to someone in leadership at your church if you'd like them to include Mercy for Mamas in your church's Mother's Day celebrations.  Thank you so much!

Mother's Day is right around the corner.  Can you believe it?  It seems like we were just celebrating Valentine's Day!  But it's time to start making plans to celebrate dear old mom.

Each year on Mother's Day churches across the US take time to honor the women in their church.  They pass out bookmarks, flowers, or candy.  Or maybe they have a contest for the women with the most children, the oldest mother, or the newest mother.  Perhaps your church has a baby dedication service that Sunday.  Every church does it differently, but it is a time to honor the gift of motherhood.

Here at Mercy for Mamas, Mother's Day is a big time of year for us.  The vast majority of our funding for the year comes during the month's of April and May.  This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the important women in our lives, while also helping to support women in Uganda.
Young Mother's receiving their mama kits at a local crisis pregnancy center
Mercy for Mamas works to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Uganda by providing women with sterile birthing kits and prenatal education.  Each day at least 15 women die in Uganda giving birth, which is 40x's the maternal death rate in the US.  Many of these deaths can be attributed to a lack of prenatal care and also to not having the proper supplies for a delivery.  In order to be cared for by a local hospital or clinic a woman must bring all of her own supplies.  If she cannot afford the supplies, she most likely will not receive care.  This leads to many women delivering at home, without clean supplies, and without any trained medical professional (nurse, midwife, or doctor).
Expectant Ugandan mother with her birthing supplies
Since 2010 we've been providing birthing kits called "mama kits" to women all over Uganda.  To date, more than 7,000 women have received a $7 mama kit.  We also hold prenatal education seminars and outreach clinics throughout Uganda.  We work hard to partner with trusted clinics, crisis pregnancy centers, churches, and missionaries. We provide them with mama kits and we also assist them with outreach efforts.  These partners use the mama kits year-round as a way to help pregnant women, but also as a tool to build relationships with the women.  Many women have come to know Christ because of the gift of a mama kit. Others have found churches and bible studies to join because of our outreach events.

Each mama kit costs just $7.  The kits include very basic supplies including: cotton wool, razor blades, sterile gloves, umbilical cord ties, soap, large plastic sheeting, directions for delivery, and a health care card.
Mama kit.  "Maama" is the Luganda word for mother
This year our ministry is focusing on getting mama kits to more under-served areas.  We're focusing on IDP camps for Sudanese refugees, remote islands on Lake Victoria, and more rural areas with very limited medical care.  We would be honored if you would help us in our campaign to buy 3000 mama kits before June (read more about that in the link).
Village midwife assisting a young woman in labor
What if your church this Mother's Day decided to take this time to honor the women of your church, but also to offer support to mothers in Uganda? There are several ways you could incorporate Mercy for Mamas into your church.
  • Instead of spending money on a gift for the mothers in your church, you could make a donation to Mercy for Mamas and give each woman a card explaining your gift.    
  • You could show the Mercy for Mamas video during your service and help us get the word out about the great needs of pregnant women in Uganda. (*We have the main video that is posted on this site, but we will have a new updated video done before Mother's Day!)
  • You could collect a love offering for Mercy for Mamas on Mother's Day. We would provide you with donation cards church people could then give to their mothers or special someone explaining that they gave in their honor.
  • We can provide you with a bulletin insert for you explaining our cause.
I can tell you this, every pastor that has done this at their church has told me repeatedly how well it was received.  I met just last week with a pastor and he told me that the ladies in his church were so appreciative of the donation made in their honor.  He said they loved that they got a gift with purpose that would help someone else.  Here are some other testimonials in last year's Challenge to Churches.

I love the idea of the church honoring our mothers, helping other mothers live to parent their children, and sharing the gospel all at the same time.  This is the church in action.

If you'd like more information on how you can incorporate Mercy for Mamas into your church please email us at info@mercyformamas.com.  Also, make sure to check out the whole website, so you can get a better understanding of the work we do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Great New Merchandise!

Rock some amazing Mercy for Mamas merchandise and help our mission team get to Uganda this summer! We are taking orders for t-shirts and tumblers. 

T-shirts are unisex, preshrunk, and available in sport gray and sapphire blue. Both colors are available in Adult Small-Adult XXXL ($2 extra for XXL and XXXL). We will do kids' sizes in the gray, Youth XS-Youth Large. Shirts are $17 local, $20 shipped. 


Tumblers are $10 local, $13 shipped. They are BPA free, 16 oz, double-walled, and include a matching straw (actual blue will be a bit brighter and easier to read). 

All proceeds go toward our trip costs.  Email your order to info@mercyformamas.com or place your order through a team member so they get credit. Orders will be taken through April 12th.

We should receive all merchandise by the end of the month, so you will get items in time for Mother's Day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Your Help is Needed

Hang with me, this could be long. Friends, I know I often tell you about the needs of the pregnant women of Uganda and I ask you to give. Sometimes, I feel like I am a broken record, but I am passionate about this cause and I love these precious women.  I have seen the needs firsthand.  I have held the precious babies who lost their mothers.  I have cried with the women who have lots their sweet ones.  I have seen the conditions in which they deliver their babies.  The need is real.  

Just this week I got a request from a missionary for mama kits.  This is a critical need and one that I need your help to meet.  Many of you have heard that there is a civil war going on in South Sudan.  You may not realize that this war has forced thousands of Sudanese people to flee their homes.  They are now living in refugee camps (or IDP camps) in Northern Uganda.  This missionary, Curt Iles, and his team work with these people and they are trying to help them through this difficult time.
Refugee camp in N. Uganda
Curt said that during a recent trip to the camps someone pointed out a woman giving birth under a mango tree.  The woman had a group of caring women from the camp trying to help her.  He realized that there were many very pregnant women at the camp and that there was a serious need here.  Then a local pastor's wife pulled out her mama kit and showed it to him.  This pastor's wife received her mama kit from our partners at Uganda Baptist Seminary.  

Side note... We supply the kits to the seminary.  The seminary's nurse gives a kit to each student who is having a baby during the next term. She teaches them how to use the kits and asks them about prenatal care and such.   The students then bring her back reports about the babies during their next term. They also include precious thank you notes written to Mercy for Mamas.  It's been a great partnership.  I got to meet many of the pastors who have benefited from the kits during my recent trip to Uganda.  What a blessing.
Meeting one of the students who used our kit last year.
Chapel service at the seminary.  There are students from all over East Africa
Back to Curt and the need at the refugee camps... Once Curt saw the mama kit he asked the woman where she received it. She pointed him to the seminary.  The seminary connected him to me.  He said that he can see how these kits can meet so many needs in these camps.  "I really believe these kits-- given through the local churches and through the UN's specific channels, could be a major blessing and open wide doors of ministry." 
 
Sudanese woman

Curt estimates that there are at least 500 pregnant women near term just in one camp alone.  My friends, the need is great.   For more insight into what life is like for these precious people read Curt's post here and check out his other stories.
 I cannot imagine fleeing from my home with no plan, no job, no resources... let alone doing so while in my third trimester.
Collecting water at one of the camps
The same day I got the first message from Curt, I also got a message from one of the churches we have partnered with from the beginning.  This church holds health seminars for the women in their church and neighborhood throughout the year.  They do teaching on prenatal care, breastfeeding, nutrition, HIV, etc.  They also often go out into rural areas and do these same seminars as an outreach program.  The director, Isabelle, told me they held an outreach last Sunday.  They had more than 130 ladies attend, many of whom were pregnant.   They passed out mama kits to all those who were pregnant, but more importantly they had a chance to share the gospel. At least 11 ladies gave their lives to Christ that day.  I get so excited when I hear these stories.  This is what it is about.  We want to teach these women the basics of pregnancy, delivery, and raising their children.  We want to give them a mama kit and help them get medical help during delivery, but we also want to use these opportunities to share the love of Christ with them.  We want to show them mercy, give them hope, and help them find peace.
Outreach last year at the church in Muyenga
This is where you come in.  Friends, I want to be able to tell Curt that he can have all of the mama kits he needs.  I want Isabelle to not worry and to continue to plan all of the outreach events that they can.  I want to tell our friends working on the islands that we can commit to providing all of the mama kits needed.  I am in the middle of planning our trip for June where we will host many outreach events.  To put it simply, we need lots of mama kits.  In the coming months I would love to be able to buy at least 3,000 kits that will be distributed all over Uganda.  This is where my flesh steps in.  I start doing the math.  I start worrying.  But then I remind myself that God is in control.  He will provide what we need, but I would love for you to be part of that provision.  

The global issue of poverty is beyond me.  I cannot fathom how to solve these deep seeded issues.  I don't know the best way to handle refugees or how to make sure children don't go to bed hungry.  It is overwhelming when I consider all of the people and serious needs that I have seen during my time in Uganda.  I do not have the skill set to take over their medical care or to give great economic advice, but I can do something and so can you. 

I'm really not trying to sound like an infomercial here, but for just $7 you can show mercy to a precious woman.  Your simple gift will make a difference.  All money goes directly toward the purchase and distribution of the mama kits.  If you'd like to give you can use the "Donate" button below or it is on the upper right side of this page. You can also give through our partner non-profit, The Hope Venture.  Or you can send me an email (info@mercyformamas.com)  and I can tell you where you can mail a check.  

I think the woman under the mango tree who has had her life turned upside down by war and strife deserves to have clean supplies for her birth.  Don't you?

(**If you are new here and made it all the way to the end of this post, thank you!  Be sure to check out the rest of the website to better understand the work that we do!)

Donate now. All money goes directly toward the purchase and distribution of mama kits.