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.

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