Friday, July 3, 2020

June Updates

June flew by! And God is good all the time. It was a relatively quiet month. On a personal note, I was busy moving, and it took a lot out of my free time. But our African groups did what they could despite many of the difficulties of still being on full or partial lockdown. There are many groups really having a difficult time still. Survival is all that many can manage, being without work, school, and food.

Here are a few things to celebrate:

First, let us welcome our newest MOPS Africa Coach -  Harriet Livingstone from Ghana. She is a mom of two beautiful children, and she is doing a fantastic job overseeing the 15 MOPS groups in her country.

Pastor Harriet Livingstone

This month, several of our leaders have taken the next step, and formed a mentor group, comprised of women who want to focus on the important step of mentorship of younger moms in their MOPS groups. This group has mentors all around Africa, and I look forward to seeing all the good comes from this.

About a week ago, the Global Team hosted a Global Leadership Summit called Stronger Together, welcoming over 100 MOPS leaders from all across the world. Many of our Africa groups were excited to be a part of this. If you want a peek into what this was all about, you can see the replay here: https://event.webinarjam.com/go/replay/17/2zn81a5bybqbk

Celebrating all of our Global MOPS Volunteer Team during the summit
A fantastic opportunity for training and encouragement

One of our Teen MOPS groups in Uganda was able to purchase sewing machines a few months ago, and they have been working hard learning a new skill this month!

Moms learning to sew face masks

We've had a few babies born this month. Congratulations to MOPS coordinators Joy in Nigeria and Faith Rose in Kenya!! Many blessings to your families and special prayers of anointing on your precious babies.

Joy with her new baby boy

And please keep a few of our mommas in your prayers: One mother in Uganda lost her special-needs son this month. Praying for peace for this family. And another mother in Kenya is grieving the rape of her young daughter. We are never without tragedy in this life. Lifting up these moms and our MOPS moms all over the world during this very difficult time going through extra difficult circumstances.

One sweet MOPS family, the day before their son passed on.

To end on a positive note, here's one of our Zambia groups, lead by Elevine, meeting for the first time since lockdown:

Praying during their MOPS meeting





Monday, June 1, 2020

May Updates

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. - Philippians 4:8

Another month, more good news to report. I'm always thankful for the opportunity to look back over the month when I do these posts. It is such a great reminder that God is still working even when the darkness seems so overwhelming at times. There is always something praiseworthy.

MOPS Africa has gotten impressively technology-savvy this month ... which is crazy only because I myself struggle so much with it. But our African leaders were ready to jump into this long before I was, and it was the biggest blessing to all of us.

We've had four online video meetings on Zoom this month. The first was a trial-run to make sure everyone could log-on well. The time was filled with introductions, encouragement, and opening the floor for everyone to share a bit. We had over 35 MOPS Africa leaders from 11 countries! 

The last three meetings were virtual trainings on the following topics: 

  • All about MOPS Mentors
  • MOPS 101 - an introduction for our newer groups
  • MOPS Outreach

Praising God for such good turnout to all of these meetings and a wonderful opportunity to connect with so many leaders virtually when meeting in-person this year is not possible.




This month, a brand new MOPS group, lead by leader Oluchi Ogu, started in Andranomena Ambohbao, Madagascar. Congratulations for a great first meeting ladies. Welcome to the Global Sisterhood!

The first meeting is off to a good start - icebreaker!

We had several MOPS areas recently experience significant flooding in their towns - West Pokot, Kenya and Kasese, Uganda. One MOPS group in particular had several families loose most everything - please pray for them! But amidst the chaos, some neighboring MOPS groups came together and did what they do well - they make 2,000 bars of soap to help hand out to those most affected by the flooding. Subsequently, relief help also came with food, too.

Mixing the liquid before pour into bars of soap

And for fun - look at these colorful MOPS shirts our Cameroon group just ordered. Love it! 



Many countries across the continent still have restricted movement, and that's quite a struggle for MOPS groups. We pray that these areas stay safe and begin to open as soon as they are able.

And I want to close here with a benediction my pastor says every week as he closes service. It rings truer than ever now - We don't know what the next month will bring, but may God bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you strength, courage, and peace.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

April Updates

This past month has been challenging for every MOPS group around the globe. Things have looked different in our motherhood connections during April. But there's always something to celebrate, so let's get to it:

First, we are going through group renewals and updating the counts for MOPS groups throughout Africa this week. I'm thrilled to say, MOPS Africa is now officially reaching 3,500 moms across 150 groups.  Last count I had was 2,500 - so, that is amazing! This ever expanding ministry on the continent is creating amazing waves of hope and community. Better moms make a better world, and our African leaders are on fire for reaching moms. We are praying this whole continent is lit up one day, reaching moms all over for Jesus!


Speaking of new MOPS members, our MOPS Madagascar group had their first MOPS meeting this month. It was online due to restrictions, but it was a successful first meeting, nonetheless. Welcome to the sisterhood, MOPS Madagascar!

Though our leaders can't be together over the next few months for what was going to be some amazing fellowship and training at various conferences across Africa (Ghana, South Africa, and Ghana to name a few), we had several leaders step up to show some love to us all. What a beautiful group of mommas! ... Hey Momma, You Are Doing Great! Have Courage, Stay Strong! With Love, MOPS Africa


One of the biggest difficulties right now across the continent are food shortages, due to lack of work before of the lockdowns. Many of our leaders have stepped up and are working hard to support their moms in the best way they can right now. They are helping to buy food and lending encouragement in-person where they can. Thank you to our leadership for being servant leaders during this time - for reaching out to your moms with much needed encouragement and support!

        


In not-so-great news, we have two MOPS members in Kenya that have tested positive for the COVID virus. Please keep them and their families and community in your prayers!


And finally, for a few more sweet photos I received this month....

Senegal: A peek into their MOPS meeting before gatherings in their country were shut down.



Cameroon: Leaders showing off their new promotional sign, outlining how MOPS can better their community:

Saturday, March 28, 2020

March Updates

In as much as the COVID-19 virus has impacted everyone around the globe, it has not left behind our African sisters. The news ranges between countries or towns, of course. Many of the African countries have taken a very strong stance and instituted strict protocol on their regions to keep the virus out or the number infected low. That is hopeful. But these lockdown restrictions have caused other very stressful issues, as well. There are no easy answers here. But we have a faithful God and know that no matter the trial, He is our source of protection and comfort!

My trip in May has been postponed, of course. As global travel opens, I will be reorganizing a trip. But for now, there's no indication how quickly that may be. It has left many MOPS Africa leaders and myself disappointed.

But now onto some fun news; because MOPS Africa is an amazing group of world-changing moms, and that is always worth celebrating.

Our Lekki, Nigeria MOPS groups held their first meeting this month. What a gorgeous group of moms we welcome into our MOPS sisterhood.


Meble, who works with moms of special needs children in Kampala, Uganda, took a special trip to visit her moms individually when they were not able to come meet together this month. She blessed them with food and love.


Our Ghana leadership team has been preparing to hold their country-wide conference mid-May if restrictions are lifted in the next few weeks. And if not, they'll postpone for a better time. They have over 400 moms interested in coming!


On International Women's Day earlier in March, one of our Rwanda MOPS groups blessed a mom who had recently been left by her husband. They sang with her, shared some of their food, and let her tell her story. What a blessing they were!


And here is an incredibly sweet gesture by one of our MOPS South Africa leaders' husbands.... who contributes to their monthly MOPS meetings by regularly taking charge of the childcare for the meeting. This month he set up this cookie dough activity to keep the little ones engaged while the moms met to talk about balancing work and motherhood. Thank you to all the dads who contribute to making these MOPS meetings a success in different ways!



Many of our MOPS groups, in Africa and around the globe, will not be meeting in person this coming month and possibly for many weeks to come. I have loved hearing from our African leaders about ways they will be staying in touch with their communities during this time. We have some planning on holding video calls, some who are starting up WhatsApp MOPS meetings. And other leaders who are intentionally checking in on each of their moms to pray and encourage her. MOPS is changing the world, one family at a time. And I am grateful to see this continuing, whether groups can meet in person or not.

Stay courageous, STRONG LEADERS, for you were born for such a time as this!

As always, I like to share a few extra photos of our MOPS groups in action this month:

Kenya

Kiberia, Kenya MOPS, listening to a guest speaker - Pastor Ben


Tanzania
Selfies at a Moshi MOPS meeting!

Malawi
Gertrude working with some moms in her community at their MOPS meeting

Uganda


MOPS Leader Peace and their group in Soreti, Uganda had their first To The Full meeting this month learning about living with fun and joy!

Friday, February 28, 2020

February Updates

Earlier this month I had a visit to MOPS Headquarters in Denver. Once a year the 12 Global leaders (myself representing MOPS Africa), as well as the top 30 US leaders, meet together with MOPS staff for a leadership summit. We are trained and equipped to carry-on into the next MOPS year strong.

We were taught about the importance of Excellence in our service within this MOPS organization. MOPS has a unique opportunity to reach moms all over our communities and the world, and if we do that with excellence, women see our love and grow closer to Jesus as a result. Not only that, but each mom in MOPS represents a family, and what a ripple effect our leaders and MOPS groups can have on her! When our leaders pour encouragement, prayers, and truth into moms, it may be felt for generations to come. But that will only happen with excellence.

Sherri Crandall spoke beautifully about how we can be in danger of loosing momentum if we are not all doing our part in the process. MOPS leadership in Denver pours into me, so that I can pour into our MOPS Africa coaches and leaders. Our Africa leaders in-turn pour into their MOPS groups and moms, so that they can then pour into the community and make changes in the world. In order for us to thrive as leaders in MOPS we must always pursue excellence - by pursuing God, pursuing others, and pursuing growth.

Melodi Leih taught us about the potential of MOPS and about our plan to stay on course of reaching moms: We must remain focused and eliminate distractions, because obstacles in our life will throw us off our race. We must carve out time to serve, because the life-changing relationships in MOPS do not happen without prioritizing this ministry in our lives.

I love the African leaders I get to serve with each day and the global leaders I get to collaborate with regularly, too. I'm grateful for the commitment every one of these women have made to making better moms and a better world!

MOPS Global Team in Denver


Preparing the next global curriculum!


I want to introduce our two newest MOPS Africa coaches we added to the team this month:

Saphira Mukuma from Zambia -



and Ernadize Fourie from South Africa -



Welcome to the MOPS Volunteer Team, ladies!! We are very grateful for the time and commitment these women dedicate to helping moms grow!

Our coaches have the responsibilities of:
1. Maintaining a strong relationship with the groups in her area, reaching out at least once a month, and aiming to visit in person once a year.
2. Training new leaders and ensuring the leaders in her area understand and complete leadership training and use the curriculum sent out by MOPS.
3. Investing in herself through MOPS training and through a true relationship with Jesus.
4. Starting new MOPS groups in her area.
5. Reporting back to me once a month on how her MOPS area is doing!

If our African leaders have questions or concerns about MOPS, a coach is your best place to start! We have eight MOPS Africa coaches now:
Sylvia (South/West Kenya), Pamela (North-Rift Kenya), Stephanie (Rwanda), Penlope (West Uganda), Sylvia (East Uganda), Saphira (Zambia), Chilufya (Zambia), Ernadize (South Africa).

We also have Favour serving as MOPS Country Coordinator over Zambia and Sonja serving as MOPS Country Coordinator over South Africa.


I also wanted to recognize our MOPS mentor Chioma, who was highlighted in this online article from Swim (Supporting Women in Ministry) International: https:www.swiminternational.org/resources-.html




To highlight a few of our beautiful MOPS groups this month:

Ivory Coast
MOPS group in Yamoussoukro, led by Viviane


Zambia
MOPS group in Lusaka, led by Elevine


Uganda
MOPS group in Jina, led by Jackline

Rwanda

MOPS Rwanda prayer meeting in Kigali, lead by Stephanie

South Africa

Sonja, Ernadize, and Roana sharing at a local function all about MOPS!


Saturday, February 1, 2020

January Updates

We have so many groups on fire in MOPS Africa. I want to highlight just a few of the great efforts this month:

Firstly, I want to introduce our newest MOPS coach - Chilufya Siamwiza of Zambia. She has been a strong leader of MOPS Zambia for several years, and we are so happy to have her on the official MOPS Volunteer Team!


We also welcome a new MOPS group in a new MOPS country - Senegal! This is a nation that is only 4% Christian. Please pray for these beautiful mommas starting out their group. May they grow closer to Jesus through meeting together and sharing together.


Pastor Sammy Kimitios, our MOPS Kenya Ambassador visited a local group in his region this month who, because of some language barriers and technology, I don't get to hear from often. It was good to see how our Mois Bridge, Kenya group was doing and receive a good report.



Penlope, our Western Uganda MOPS coach, visited a church who was interested in learning more about MOPS. They loved what they heard, and so we welcome our newest MOPS group in Uganda!


And in Eastern Uganda, I received a beautiful picture from our newest Teen MOPS group, run by Immaculate. Here the girls are, getting ready to practice their sewing skills:



In Ghana, Harriet and I have been working hard on an upcoming May conference in Accra. Ghana is home to more than 10 MOPS groups, and we are looking forward to celebrating with a great conference in May.



And finally, I'll be traveling to MOPS Headquarter in Denver tomorrow with the rest of the global team and other lead volunteers for training and meetings. I am asking for prayer that the time in Denver will be productive, inspiring, and a time to refocus on our Lord! None of these efforts in MOPS matter unless He is the one glorified.







Thursday, December 26, 2019

Happy New Year!



I want to take time, as we come to a close for 2019, to share some highlights of MOPS Africa this year 🙌

*One year ago, MOPS Africa had 54 MOPS groups meeting in 11 different countries. Today, MOPS is in 120 groups across 16 countries. We are directly reaching over 2,500 moms and their families in Africa! All backed by MOPS International - an organization impacting 100,000 moms around the world. Better Moms Make a Better World! Find out more at www.mops.org/

*Our team of leaders is growing: We now have 2 MOPS country coordinators, 5 area MOPS coaches, 3 MOPS ambassadors, and 2 MOPS advocates for Africa! And we're hoping to have 3 more area coaches lined up within the next few weeks. 

*Five countries hosted their own locally-run MOPS conferences this year: Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and  Zambia, including over 600 moms in their communities.

*55 MOPS Africa leaders have become MOPS Leader Certified by taking a series of 4 courses on the vision of MOPS, how to incorporate our mission globally, and how to lead others well. None of this was particularly easy for these leaders, as most don't have enough internet access to watch the videos. But with transcripts prepared, these leaders got it done!

*Two US MOPS leaders went with me on two separate MOPS Africa trips: The first to Kitale, Kenya and Lusaka, Zambia in April, where we attended MOPS group meetings, presented at several MOPS leadership retreats, and supported the official government launch of Zambia MOPS. The second visit was in June to Nairobi, Kenya to launch a new MOPS group and then to meet up with Favour in Kigali, Rwanda and launched MOPS at a strategic school -  and between these two launches, there are now 18 new MOPS groups reaching 650 new moms in Africa!

*We have 12 official U.S. partnerships to African MOPS groups.

If you haven't seen the other posts throughout the year, please take a look. There are so many beautiful updates to celebrate!

Welcoming our newest MOPS Coach this month - Sylvia Nantongo. Many know Sylvia as the amazing MOPS coordinator of our Teen MOPS group in Kampala, Uganda, working hard with Amy in Germany to establish sustainable living opportunities like sewing and soap making for her moms. She is now ready to be a coach for our 8 Eastern Uganda groups in the Kampala area, where she already serves helping many MOPS leaders.


And, here's a peek into all of our MOPS Africa Christmas celebrations this holiday season......

Ghana- On Christmas eve, one of the Accra MOPS groups visited a group of disabled women in their community, bringing them gifts of food. What a beautiful way to celebrate the holiday, by giving to others:


Zambia- Speaking of service, earlier in the month, Zambian leaders went to the local mall to reach out to new moms to tell them about joining a MOPS group:

 

Also, of special note - We started a conversation on our MOPS Africa Leaders WhatsApp group this month about Christmas traditions and specialty foods -by-country. And.... one of the food delicacies in Zambia is caterpillars and worms. I think my favorite part of the WhatsApp conversation was when no other African country could believe these were actually considered edible! 🤣 While I opted not to try these (pictured below) when they were offered on my visit this year, I have no doubt they were on many of our MOPS Zambia mom's tables this Christmas!

They're bought dried in a bag from the market, rehydrated, and then cooked 

Nigeria- MOPS Lagos celebrated this month with a Christmas party with their children.



Cameroon- Our Tiko MOPS group celebrated on the 26th with several of their group moms and the pastor!


Tanzania- Moshi MOPS had a big Christmas celebration on the 25th, complete with good food, dancing, and kids caroling.


Rwanda- MOPS Kigali had their monthly prayer meeting this month and also worked on their basket-making skills. These baskets can take two days for the moms to make, and turned out beautifully!




Loss- And as we all know, amidst the celebrations, there is always the possibility of deep loss, felt even harder this time of the year. We had two of our MOPS moms pass on this month, both very suddenly - one in Cameroon and the other in Rwanda. They both left behind small children, and in the case of our Rwanda single mom, there is now an orphaned five-year-old boy. The MOPS leader will do what she can to provide for the little boy, praying that extended family is eventually able to come to care for him!
Additionally, one of our moms in Kenya lost her baby after an emergency c-section. Her MOPS group came to rally around her in the hospital as she grieved this deep loss.
We are praying for all of those involved in these terrible tragedies felt at the end of this year.

And we are all hopeful and excited about what is to come in MOPS Africa next year. We have BIG plans.