Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Give Mercy this Mother's Day

Can I be honest? There are days that I am not super excited about fundraising and doing logistical work for Mercy for Mamas. Sorting out airline reservations, doing spreadsheets, filing tax forms and organizing merchandise is not very exciting. I could spend that time working a real job and getting paid. I get bogged down in the mundane. Then God reminds me of my mission and passion.

I look at pictures like this one of my precious girls, and I remember my why.
With the Fearless Girl statue in New York City
I have four precious daughters. My two biological daughters did not come into this world easily. There were complications along the way, and I often wonder what would have happened if I had not had access to great doctors and hospitals. My two adopted daughters lost their first moms because they did not receive adequate medical care. The injustice of that is not lost on me. These gorgeous girls remind me why I do what I do.

I look at pictures like this one and remember the thousands of beautiful women on the other side of the world that we've been able to help.  I see them parenting their precious little ones and I remember my why.

I think about this sweet baby I got to hold just hours after he was born in a remote village using one of our mama kits. He is my why. 

I know you have not had the same experiences as me, but I hope I can help you see and understand the need and the reality these women face every day.  Women should not have to choose between feeding their family and buying gloves and a razor blade to give birth. Women should not die giving birth because they could not afford a simple $7 mama kit

It is a sad and dark reality that hundreds of women in our world die every day giving birth and that the majority of those deaths could be easily prevented. But the good news is that we have a simple solution. It will not save every woman, but it is making a difference. In the last 6 years, thousands of women have been given the chance for safer birth through the work of Mercy for Mamas. They have received the necessary supplies (mama kit), they have learned important warning signs in pregnancy and when to seek medical help, and they have successfully delivered their babies.  On top of the medical care, these women have heard about the love of Jesus and his great mercy and peace for us.

This Mother's Day season, I encourage you to give mercy. Here are a couple ways you can give:
  • Check out the beautiful jewelry we have for sale on our Facebook page. These gifts help provide work for women in Uganda, and then the money goes straight back into our ministry to cover outreach costs and to buy kits. So make your gift count and buy something for your mama and maybe something for yourself! After all, it's for a good cause. 
  • What if you prayed for God to lay on your heart the names of a few special women in your life you could honor and encourage? This could be your own mother, a friend, a mentor, whomever. You could donate a mama kit(s) (they are just $7 each) in honor of your special person. We'll give you a card that you can give them explaining your gift. Write them a personal note explaining why you choose them. I know this lady would be so honored that you thought of them and that you chose to help a mother in Uganda in their name. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Invite your church to give mercy this Mother's Day!

**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!**

What if you could find a way to honor women in your church, participate in missions, and help with orphan prevention? You can! This might seem like a cheesy sales pitch, but it's true. We would love for your church to partner with Mercy for Mamas this Mother's Day.  

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, close to 30,000 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
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. You could do just one of these or all of them!
  • 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 one of our Mercy for Mamas videos during your service and help us get the word out about the great needs of pregnant women in Uganda. There are several options here on our website (look under the "videos" tab). We also will have a new, shorter video (less than one minute) that will be available by the end of April. So you can choose the length that works best for your service.
  • 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.  The women of the church really appreciate that a donation has been made in their honor and that gift has a larger purpose and impact for the kingdom. 
From Pastor Nathan Gunter of First Southern Baptist Church of Lansing, KS... 
"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." 

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.