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

*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.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

November Updates

'Let us come before Him with Thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.' Psalm 95:2-3

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, observed during the last week of November. It celebrates the harvest time before the cold winter sets in and reminds us of our blessings and reasons to give thanks during the past year. We celebrate with visits from family coming from far away and have a big feast, which resembles the harvest feast in 1621 shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag (Native American) people. We typically eat turkey, potatoes, cranberries, and bread. It is not celebrated by everyone as a religious holiday, but Christians will use this time specifically to thank God for all of his provisions and blessings.

Image result for cartoon cranberry

While the holiday does not extend much outside of North America, it is good for all people and countries to give Thanksgiving to the Lord for his goodness! Not just this week, but all year long. For where would we be without His mercy and grace?

As the holidays come around again this year, we have so much to celebrate and thank God for here at MOPS Africa! Here is what has been happening this month:

At the beginning of the month, Uganda MOPS Coach Penlope Muhindo and Ambassador Alison Kasiringi returned from a trip to visit all 31 MOPS groups in their region of Western, Uganda. They came home with a great report. These groups range in age from eight years old to newly established just two months ago! We have some groups getting trained for the first time through the Leadership Handbook and Global Curriculum, and others who have just received their 'To The Full' globalized curriculum. I am so proud of what this area of MOPS is accomplishing. Here are just a few of the photos from their travels.


Coach Penlope (below) and leaders happy to receive their new curriculum
MOPS Nigeria started a new group at mentor Chioma's place of work this month with eight moms. They will be meeting during a MOPS lunch-hour fellowship, twice a month. Welcome to the global MOPS community, ladies!

Newest MOPS group in Nigeria

MOPS Rwanda also started a monthly prayer-meeting called 'Saturday for Christ'. This month, they prayed and shared stories and testimonies how Jesus changed moms' lives through MOPS, and they look forward to this prayer meeting once a month at Hope Haven. Stephanie says "MOPS surely came at the right time in Rwanda!"

First Saturday prayer meeting

And finally, I want to introduce these two awesome women who have stepped into the role of MOPS Advocate over the last few months:

Haley Strong lives in Oregon with her husband, Matt, of nine years. They have four beautiful children together. Haley has been helping with our MOPS sisterhood partnerships here in the US and is working to get more MOPS connections! She has been to Africa before - a trip to Ethiopia for hospital work, where she helped to deliver a baby! - and she is looking forward to her next trip. 

Here are a few interesting things about Haley:

Favorite food: Tacos
Favorite bible verse: Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Favorite color: Teal
Favorite place traveled: Sweden
Fun fact: Her favorite band is an American group called Hanson - She has seen them in concert 60 times (and is at their most recent show tonight!).

Kimberly King lives in Maryland with her husband, Jim, of 18 years. They have two beautiful children and two cats.  She has been helping with group communication, leadership support, and administrative guidance. She has also been to Africa before - to several countries including Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and Ghana. Interestingly, she also helped deliver babies (on her Zambia trip)! 

Here are a few interesting things about Kimberly:

Favorite food: Brownies (dense chocolate cake) and warm chocolate-chip cookies.
Favorite bible verse: Ephesians 4:29 - "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen"
Favorite color: Green
Favorite place traveled: Safari trip to Kenya/Tanzania
Fun fact: She has run an 80km ultra-marathon race.