Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mission Accomplished!

The Mercy for Mamas 2015 Mission Team returned last week from a great trip to Uganda. We had 7 ladies on the team from all over the country. Most everyone did not know each other beforehand, but God beautifully composed the team. The team worked so well together, and each lady found her niche.

The stats from the trip:

+5 outreach events held
+3 pregnancy or crisis centers visited
+2 churches visited
+3 missionary encouragement events
+140 missionary women attended events
+1300 mama kits distributed
+1600+ women and children ministered to
+ Countless miles on the road
= A Hugely Successful Trip

Thank you so much for your generosity that made this possible. You gave money to buy the mama kits, you bought merchandise to pay for the outreach events, and because of your giving we were able to help hundreds and hundreds of women. 

The team did lots of prenatal, breastfeeding, delivery, and nutrition teaching. We did basic exams and check-ups on pregnant women. We shared pregnancy and labor massage techniques. We prayed over hundreds of women one-on-one and as a group. We shared the gospel every we went. We worshiped with and encourage missionary women serving full-time in Uganda.  We made crafts with pregnant teenage girls. We shared laughs, hugs, and play time with lots of children and babies. Each day was full of new challenges, surprises, and blessings. 

Stay tuned for more stories from the trip in the days ahead! Here are just a few pictures of the many women we were able to meet along the way.

Monday, September 14, 2015


If you have spent much time with me in the last five years, you know that I can talk for hours about the amazing women we serve in Uganda. I can tell story after story of their strength and resilience.  I could explain to you the hardships they endure and the complex reasons why it can be so difficult to escape abuse and the cycle of poverty. I could talk to you about the prenatal care and education these woman receive, and I could try to describe to you the difficult conditions under which they give birth.  (Check out a few of stats on this here.)
Women at a refugee camp receiving their mama kits.

Oh, how I wish that you could know these women like I do. You could see their beautiful smiles and hear their laughs for yourselves. I wish you could see the heartbreak and also the power of hope firsthand, so you could fully understand me when I say these women desperately need our help.

Since I cannot personally spend hours talking to each of you, I do my best to share stories and pictures to help you all connect to the women and their babies. I want to help you understand the need. I want you to see how this simple solution is impacting thousands of women and opening up new doors of ministry all over the country. Our $7 mama kits provide the supplies needed for a woman to give birth either at home or at a hospital. If you want to know more about what exactly this entails, click here

I want you to know about women like Judith. (Sadly, we do not have a photo of Judith to share) This story comes from Kathy, one of our missionary partners. I have known Kathy for 5 years and she has such a beautiful heart for women and ministry. 
"Judith lives in a slum where I do ministry near Jinja.  She is a neighbor to Milly, my main contact person in the slum.  So when I visited Millie I would often try to engage Judith in conversation, but she didn't seem too interested.  Then I noticed she was pregnant, so I gave her a mama kit. She was so very grateful, and that seemed to open the door!  I told her that the mama kits were given by people in America who wanted babies and mamas to be safe, and wanted the mamas to know Jesus as Savior. Before I went home to America this summer, I gave her a little outfit for the baby, who was born, healthy and happy, while I was in the States.  When I came back, I met baby Jesse, and Judith once again thanked me profusely for the mama kit.  I told her it was God's way of showing her that Jesus loves her and wanted her to know God personally.  Then, about 2 weeks later when I was visiting Millie, she told me that she heard Judith crying all through the night.  Turns out she had a horribly infected finger.  We invited her to Millie's, where I cleaned and dressed her finger, gave her antibiotics, and prayed with her that her finger would heal and that she would know that it was Jesus who had healed her.  I have trained Millie in first aid, so Millie continued to dress her finger daily.  Millie came to my house today to get more first aid supplies, and to tell me that Judith's finger had healed.  Judith thought she might lose her finger, and she saw that it was Jesus who had helped her, so she wanted to become a Christian!  She prayed with Millie and Judith accepted Jesus as her Savior!  That week she and her new baby went with Millie to church.  There's a new name written down in heaven, and it all started with a mama kit!  Please pray for her spiritual growth, and pray for her husband to become a believer.  I met him while I was dressing Judith's finger, and he expressed heartfelt thanks for the mama kit.  We are praying that he will soon join his wife as a follower of our Savior!"
Meet Pastor Ernest. Ernest is one of our ministry partners. He has a huge heart for reaching his fellow Ugandans with the gospel. He takes teams all over the country. They lead crusades, help with building projects, do health outreaches and any other way they can find to be a blessing to the people. We often provide mama kits to Pastor Ernest to use. He has always been faithful to share pictures and stories of how the kits have been a blessing to their work and to the women they serve.
Pastor Ernest is pictured here with two newborn babies he had the privilege to name. 
Recently, Pastor Ernest took a team to far Northeastern Uganda to the Karamoja area. This area has had an extreme drought for three years. It is dry, hot, desolate, and very little can grow. Many of the people there are nomadic as they try to find adequate water and grass for their animals. I knew it had to have been quite the experience for Pastor Ernest, when he told me that he had never experienced anything like it.  Ernest and his team got to meet with the traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in that area. He said that the need there is critical.  The TBAs told him that many of the women get pregnant at a very young age and receive no prenatal care. When it is time to deliver they have very few choices as far as medical care. There are only a couple of hospitals or clinics in the district. If they try to walk to the hospital they often end up giving birth in the dirt along the way or they get extremely dehydrated because of the distance and heat. The TBAs are doing the best they can to help the women, but they have no supplies and often no training. Ernest and his team were able to do some basic prenatal teaching and education. They also passed out mama kits to those most in need. Ernest will be taking a group back to this area in November. He would love to have many, many mama kits to distribute. The need in this area is huge.
Prenatal teaching in Karamoja
We partner with some amazing crisis pregnancy centers that are doing life-changing work. They provide medical care, counseling, schooling, vocational training, and parenting classes. These centers counsel girls coming from some of the most difficult situations you can imagine.  I would never want to sensationalize the stories of these girls, but just for example, at one center they recently had a 10 year old child that was pregnant.  Ten years old. I cannot imagine. They had a 15 year old who had been gang-raped, a 16 year old orphan who had been attacked by another child in her orphanage, and an incest case.  These are real girls who are in desperate need of help. Our mama kits are a simple way to help.  Our kits relieve a huge financial burden for these centers and provide a chance for a safe, clean delivery for these precious girls.
I got to visit most of our crisis pregnancy center partners this Spring.
This is at the Youth For Christ Center in Kampala
Why do I tell you these stories? I tell you because we need your help. Each week I get more and more requests for mama kits. These kits are such a valuable tool for ministry. They help to give women like Judith hope. They give dignity to the teenage girls. They prevent infection for the women in Karamoja giving birth on dirt floors.
We want babies to stay with their mamas.
We want these mamas to survive childbirth and be equipped to raise their little ones.
We have new places that need kits. These group are working with women rescued from sex trafficking, refugees, and women living in extreme poverty.  I hate the idea of having to tell them we cannot help them. By the end of the year we'd like to be able to supply 3,000 women with a mama kit.  We have a mission team going to Uganda in November. We'll need at least 1,500 mama kits for that trip alone.

We are a small organization doing our best to make a big impact. We have virtually no overhead costs, no advertising budget, no marketing gurus helping us. We know so many groups are vying for your donations, and we take your money seriously.  Every donated dollar goes directly towards the purchase and delivery of kits. We work hard to make sure we are working with trusted partners that give mama kits to those most in need and that are also using them as a tool to share the gospel. We use money from our merchandise sales to host outreach events, help with special projects that arise, pay our in country coordinator,etc.

We need your help.  Would you consider a donation today? It's very simple. Just click on the donation link below and you can give through Paypal, even if you do not have a Paypal account. You can also sign up to automatically give each month. Every $7 donation puts a kit in the hands of a mama. The cost of your average fast-food lunch can change a life. Give Mercy today.

**As an added incentive, every person who donates in the next 5 days will get their named entered in a drawing to win this gorgeous Ugandan basket.
Each person who "likes" our Facebook page and shares it on their timeline will be entered to win this Pineapple Novida Soda. This is a favorite and a must-have for most people who visit Uganda. Tag us on Facebook or comment on our post there about this post to make sure your entry is included. Winners will be selected at random.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Four Reasons You Should Give Mercy this Mother's Day

The following was written by Mercy for Mamas board member, Kim Gunter. Kim has been a huge supporter of our work from the beginning. Her help, insight, and passion is a huge asset to us.  Kim wanted to share with all of you four reasons that she thinks all of you should give mercy in some way this Mother's Day....
Melissa and Kim on a boda boda in Jinja, Uganda
 "Mother’s Day is right around the corner and we are beginning to think about ways we could honor our mothers.  This is also one of the biggest donation times for Mercy for Mamas.  Over the years we have seen individuals, families, and churches give to Mercy for Mamas as a way of honoring the mothers in their lives and congregations.  I’d like to share with you the reasons I personally support Mercy for Mamas, how our church gets involved,  and why I would encourage you to add your support this Mother’s Day, too.
[Insert Peer Pressure Here:  EVERYONE IS DOING IT!] 
REASON #1: Because people matter, no matter where they live.
I have had the opportunity to be involved with Mercy for Mamas from the very beginning and see Melissa’s heart in this work.  Her passion is to see fewer moms and babies suffer due to the simple fact that they don’t have the proper medical supplies. Lives should not be put in danger over the lack of the most basic sanitation supplies, yet this is exactly what happens every day in Uganda.  The bottom line is, all lives matter. Melissa believes (and I do, too) that if we can do something to save lives, we should.  If that reason is enough to motivate you to support M4M, then you have my permission to stop reading now and send in your donation. While that is a big reason for me, here are a few more:
REASON #2: Because the global sorority of maternity is real.
Motherhood is everywhere, and your mother shares that special connection with every mom, everywhere.  I have the opportunity/responsibility/privilege to be a mother.  I did not have the easiest labor and delivery experience (high blood pressure and some other things made the situation less than ideal), but never once did I ever feel like the doctors in the hospital couldn’t handle it. Why?  Because I had the care I needed.  I was giving birth in a hospital with state of the art equipment and skilled professionals overseeing the situation.   Women in Uganda do not deliver surrounded by state of the art equipment, let alone even in a hospital, because they can’t afford the supplies needed to give birth in a hospital.  This simple fact causes many Ugandan women to give birth without decent medical care, which is why there is a needlessly high mortality rate.  Not long after having my son I remember having thought if I was a woman in Uganda with my birth experience, I would probably not have made it and one of two things would have occurred: my son would not have lived or he would not have his mother.  My friends, that is unacceptable in my book.  I can’t imagine as a mother not being able to deliver my child in a medical facility simply because I couldn’t afford the basic supplies they require.  As a mother, I don’t want another mother to have to make that decision.  And if for $7 I can provide those medical supplies so an expecting mother can have access to birth care, then that’s a no-brainer to me.  My life as a mother in America matters as much as the mother in the village of Uganda matters, and I love that Mercy for Mamas is doing something about it.  In short, I care because I’m a mom.  Your mom will care, too.

Kim and some of the beautiful women at a health outreach seminar on prenatal education
REASON #3: You can do this! You church can do this! Your moms will love this!
Giving a Mama Kit is an inexpensive way to change a life.  Most moms this Mother’s Day will get flowers, jewelry, or candy to say thanks for being my mom.  Those things are great to say thank you, but flowers will die eventually, and candy will cause us to have to do more exercises to fit into our clothes.  So could we think about another way to honor our moms, an eternal way?  For the past few years, our family has taken the money we would have spent on our moms and donated that to Mercy for Mamas.  Here’s what I love about this: I’m honoring my mother and mother-in-law, but I’m also honoring another soon-to-be mom and protecting her life and her child’s life. 
REASON #4: Because spiritual life matters as much (and more) than physical life.
Mercy for Mamas is not just bringing physical hope by providing Mama Kits, but also spiritual hope.  This is one of the most important reasons for me, because it shows the deep heart and conviction behind this ministry.  I had the opportunity to travel with M4M a couple of years ago, and the best thing I saw was that everywhere we went and passed out Mama kits the gospel was being shared.  Mercy for Mamas partners with several crisis pregnancy centers, local churches, and missionaries.  They are using these kits as a tool to open the door for these women to know the Hope of Jesus.  I remember visiting one of the crisis pregnancy centers and thinking these girls are so young, and I know nothing about what they are going through. How do I relate?  I remember God just bringing to mind the story of Joseph (See Genesis 37-50) and the verse when Joseph says “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” (Gen. 50:20). I wanted so badly for those girls to know that God had a plan for their lives.  What might have looked like a hopeless situation still had hope.  They could know the One who is our Hope.  Let’s be honest - while it would be great to say we are meeting a great physical need as Christ-followers, we also need to be addressing a greater spiritual need. I want them to have hope that they will be able to deliver in a hospital because of a Mama kit we provide, but I also want them to have an Eternal Hope. 

This Mother’s Day as you are thinking about what you will give personally or what you are doing at your churches - I’m talking to you, pastors (or probably more accurately, fellow pastor’s wives) - would you consider supporting Mercy for Mamas?  Our church has had a great experience partnering with this ministry over the last few years.  Instead of passing out the traditional Mother’s Day trinkets to all the moms, our church has donated the funds that normally would have purchased those small gifts and given a starting donation in their honor.  Beyond that, our congregation has given generously in a special offering to support Mercy for Mamas in honor of the mom’s in their lives. I believe our congregation loves this about our Mother’s Day celebration because it’s making an impact for eternity.  This is my challenge to you and to your church, could we think outside of ourselves this year?  Could we have a kingdom mindset and say, “Mom, because who you are and what you do matters, we are giving so that women in Uganda would know their lives matter?”  Could we think beyond the bookmarks and flowers this year and give life, give hope, give mercy in honor of our mothers?"

Thanks Kim for sharing your heart. If your church is interested including Mercy for Mamas in your service this year, please send an email to We'll be happy to send you a downloadable card you can pass out to your congregation explaining your gift. We can also mail brochures to you if you would like. 

If you would like to make a donation directly please click on the Donate button here and make a note that you'd like to receive a donation card to give your loved one.

And don't forget to check out the wonderful digital prints we are selling this Mother's Day! They would make a great gift. 
Thank you so much for your support.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mother's Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is one of the best times of year for Mercy for Mamas. What better time of year to give to help mothers in Uganda, then this time we set aside to honor our mothers and the special women in our lives.

This year for Mother’s Day, Mercy for Mamas is excited to partner with our friend Mandie Joy at Echoes of Mercy. Mandie makes incredible digital prints for all occasions. She designed these special prints just for Mercy for Mamas.  We have two quotes to choose from. They are just $14 each, which will provide two mama kits to women in need in Uganda.

The first option is a quote from Mother Theresa. She said, “Do small things with great love.”  I think so often as mothers we worry if what we are doing is really having an impact. We fear we are not making moments special enough for our children. Are we really taking the time needed to impart wisdom, love, grace, and mercy to our children? But in reality, the greatest truths that are children learn from us are in the small, every day details. It’s the lunch that is packed every day for school. It’s tucking them in for bed at night. It’s cleaning up after them when they are sick.  It’s in these moments that our children learn about sacrifice and true love. So as we fold laundry, wipe noses, and fill out school forms we are showing our children love. I think a copy of this print would be a great way to tell your mom thank you for all of the small things that she did for you and the lasting impact that she has had on your life. This comes in two color/design options... blue and coral. The watermarks will be removed from each one when your order.
#1 Do small things (blue)
#2 Do small things (Coral)
The second quote comes from Pastor Andy Stanley. He said, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” Again, I think that many women fear they are not living up to expectations. They question if their actions are good enough for God or are really making an impact for the kingdom of God. I think this quote is a great reminder that one of the most important tasks for a believer is to pass on their faith and passion for God to their children. Yes, God wants us to be great missionaries. He wants to reach the lost, and to lead powerful ministries and to serve in the church. But our first mission field most always first be within our home. This print is a great gift for the mother, grandmother, or special someone who helped to raise you to know Christ better.
#3 Your greatest contribution (this watermark has a typo, but the one you get will be corrected!!)
These prints are available as a digital download for $10 each.  You can order through Paypal right here....

Mother's Day Print Options
We will email you the digital version along with a card explaining that all proceeds from the print go toward purchasing mama kits.  Then you can print if off, put it in a lovely frame, and your Mother’s Day shopping is done! (*Mandie recommends that you print on 110 lb. cardstock at your local Kinkos or print shop. It is usually less than $2 each.) And remember, these make great gifts for anyone in your life, such as a friend, mentor, teacher, or even for yourself.
Another great Mother’s Day option is to make a donation to Mercy for Mamas as your gift. This can be something you add-on to another gift, or make it your entire gift. You can donate any amount starting at just $7 (the cost of one mama kit) Just make a donation using the Paypal link and make a note that you need a Mother’s Day card. We’ll email you a donation card you can print off and give to your loved one.

For those new to the Mercy for Mamas website, our goal is to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Uganda. We want to help more women survive childbirth so that they can have the opportunity to raise their own children. We do this by providing sterile birthing kits to women called mama kits. We also provide prenatal education and connect women to ministries, clinics, and churches in their areas that can provide long-term help.  We do all of our work while also sharing the love and mercy of Christ with the women we serve.

For just $7 you can provide a mama kit to one woman, which relieves a large financial burden for her, gives her all of the tools she needs to deliver, and also gives her dignity and hope.  Just as Mother Theresa said, sometimes we show great love by doing small things.  A $7 mama kit, may seem like a small thing to you, but to these women it can be life-changing and it shows them great love.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Expanding our Work

I am so excited to get to visit some of our new partners in ministry during my upcoming Uganda trip! (I'll be there for about a month for our adoption). 

One of our new partners is Life Center Ministries Africa, which operates a hospital and nutrition program in a remote area of Eastern Uganda. The missionaries working there told me that they were struggling because most all of the women who came to the hospital did not have their supplies for delivery and had not received much prenatal care. We provided mama kits for them and now they pass out the kits to the women free of charge after they come for at least three prenatal visits. 
"Moms out here don't usually come for antenatal (prenatal care) until they are 6-7 months along so to be able to get 3 or 4 visits in before delivery is awesome! We are thankful to Mercy for Mamas for the kits that have increased our antenatal visits from 5-10 a week to 30-40 a week! Thank you for your heart for healthy mamas and babies!!, " Katrenna, LCMA Missionary.
These precious women just received theirs kits and will deliver their babies very soon!
One of our other new partners is Pastor Fred and Jesus the Way Ministries. Pastor Fred is so excited to get to be a part of our work. I can't wait to see firsthand the work they are doing and meet these women. The women in this area have a very hard time getting proper medical care, so these kits are very important to them and help to keep their births sanitary and free from infection.
This sweet little one was born just 6 hours after her mama received her kit!
This mama got her kit the night before she delivered. Her and baby are doing well.
These women all received their kits at a health outreach at their church.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Creative Ways to Help

Some days I get overwhelmed with the needs of the women in Uganda and my limited resources, time and abilities. I am thankful I serve a limitless God who faithfully funds the work that He favors. It seems there have been many times in the past year when I have been overwhelmed, and then that same day or week God sends little messages to me to tell me He has things under control. One way He has done that is by laying Mercy for Mamas on the hearts of people around the US and giving them creative ways that they can help support this ministry. These are often times people I have never met and they have caught the vision of what we do and have decided to find a way to help. Each time I hear about these beautiful acts of generosity I stand amazed. I thought you might enjoying hearing about them too. Perhaps it will even give you an idea or two.

Kasi in Texas included Mercy for Mamas in her son's birthday party. They were able to purchase 50 mama kits with people's donations!
"We chose MFM to celebrate our son's 2nd birthday. We did this because his bio mom died giving birth to him. We thought this would be a great way to celebrate him and honor her. I often think what might have happened if she would have had one of these kits. We asked people to donate a kit instead of bringing gifts. It was a truly special day..."
C'mon how cute is he? Thanks T for sharing your big day with Mercy for Mamas!
Mandy in Illinois wrote me and share about how her family incorporated Mercy for Mamas into her daughter's first birthday...
"As I was planning my daughter’s 1st birthday party, I had a few relatives asking what to get her for her birthday. Every time I was asked, I would think about how blessed she is to have everything she needs and then some. I started looking online for ideas of what to do instead of gifts. The suggestion of donating to a charity popped up and I thought it was a wonderful idea. Mercy for Mamas was the first charity that came to mind as I had heard about it at a MOPS meeting about a month prior. Mercy’s story really touched my heart and it opened my eyes to the need. My daughter, Hattie, is so blessed to have both her mommy and daddy to hold, care for and love her. The high risk of death in Uganda from pregnancy and birth complications breaks my heart. Every kit donated gives one more mother an increased chance to hold, care for and love her child. On the birthday invitations, we expressed all we really wished for was for their presence to help us celebrate but if they had a desire to give we politely asked them to bring a donation for Mercy for Mamas in honor of Hattie. I also included information about the organization so our guests knew what cause they were donating to. We had a very positive response and our guests loved the idea. I am so thrilled we were able to raise enough money for 50 kits!"
Thanks Hattie!
As Mandy mentioned, she learned about Mercy for Mamas through her MOPS group. Mercy for Mamas has been thrilled to have the support of various MOPS and other similar parenting groups around the country. One group made a donation in honor of each mom in their group this past Christmas. Others have taken up collections, invited me or one of our team members to come speak, or sold jewelry on our behalf.

Several months ago Heidi, the principal of Christian school in Massachusetts emailed to tell me how they are including Mercy for Mamas in their weekly chapel offering...
"This fall our school needed to choose a cause to support with all of the Thursday morning chapel offerings that we collect.  I am happy to say that we have chosen Mercy for Mamas to receive whatever we collect.  We are a small school of 55 students and we usually only collect a few hundred dollars a year, but hopefully it will go a long way towards purchasing Mama Kits.... I purchased a baby bottle for each student in the school and attached a laminated “Mercy for Mamas” tag with information on the back so that students and their families would be more likely to send in all of their loose change on chapel days. " 
I'm anxious to hear how much these sweet children are able to raise this year!
My friend Kristine decided to include Mercy for Mamas at her baby shower. Instead of buying party favors for her guests, she decide to make a donation in honor or her friends and in honor of her new baby. Her friends loved the idea and a few of them have made donations of their own since the shower.  Below is a picture of the Mercy for Mamas display they had at the shower. Isn't it lovely?

Sheli decided to challenge her friends to celebrate her 40th birthday by purchasing mama kits. Her friends donoted enough money to buy nearly 100 mama kits. What an amazing way to honor Sheli's big day! 
Sheli says, "The reason I chose MFM was because I've seen first hand how the lack of medical care can easily devastate a family. Having spent significant time in Uganda and other countries in Africa, I believe the more that we can do to keep families together is a blessing in itself. If a simple $7 can change the future of a child and save the life of a mother, then why wouldn't you support MFM?"
Happy Birthday Sheli!
 A young lady who works as a waitress told me she set up a little display with a few of our brochures in her break room at work and she encouraged the other servers to donate a portion of their tips.  

Some of the sweet senior adults at our church held a garage sale last year and donated all of the proceeds to buy mama kits.

My friend's daughter made loom bracelets and duct tape flowers and then sold them to her friends at school. 

These are simple ideas that make a big impact. Do you have any ideas?