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Mocha Club

#mcjourney2018, AFRICA TRIPS, Education, FROM THE FIELD, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, MOCHATERNS

#MCJourney2018 : meet Kathryn!

T minus one month and we will be heading out on the Mocha Club Journey 2018! And we want you to meet the team!

Up first…

Meet Kathryn!

I have now lived in Nashville almost 11 years (crazy!) after growing up outside of Atlanta and attending Auburn University!  I have always had a big heart and passion for helping others, which drove me to start being involved in mission trips and non-profits here in Nashville.  When I’m not playing with my niece and nephews and hanging with my family, you can find me on my porch with a good book, having a glass of wine with dear friends, or eating my way through Nashville’s amazing restaurants.  Having been involved with Mocha Club through Ellie’s Run, I am beyond excited to go on this adventure with Mocha Club and these ladies.  I feel extremely blessed to be able to learn from the incredible people of Kenya and play a small role in supporting Mocha Club’s mission!


The Mocha Club Journey 2018 team is headed to Kenya!  We will spend time with our partners at New Dawn Educational Centre  in Nairobi, Kenya and participate in their second annual Run For Hope 5K! All proceeds from the race help support operations and send kids to school at New Dawn. We will also be visiting another Mocha Club partner, Action Ministry and their founder, Peter Ochiel who serves a leprosy community in Ukunda. Our trips provide an opportunity for Mocha Club members and their friends to visit Africa and witness firsthand how giving to Mocha Club & supporting local leaders creates thriving communities, while having a chance to serve the African people.

FROM THE FIELD, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

How Tito Is Love

Tito is our South Sudan Country Director. Although he has spent most of his life surrounded by war, Tito maintains an incredible capacity to love others. Here he explains what compels him to do so.

“We are truly the generation that can make history and it starts with us leading the way by not being selfish. The more you empower others and embrace team and mentoring – I guarantee, you will manifest more opportunity than you can handle.” –Gerard Adams

Fifteen years after hearing this, Gerard Adams’ message still rings in my head. I know with the knowledge God has given me I can become an agent of change. I know church leaders can be the source of hope and peace for my country.

As a college student in Kenya, I would periodically go back to South Sudan. I saw church leaders waiting for relief, waiting for someone else to make a difference – this I strongly disagreed with. Our motivation is supposed to be the love of God, but people were waiting to be given rather than giving. That was the state of the church I wanted to see transformed.

This compels me to be part of changing the situation.

I realized that sharing Christ through your own life, way of living, what you do, your business – in relation to all the difficulties South Sudanese are going through at the camps and villages, you can still be able to give hope. If you do this with integrity, peace can be realized in our communities, churches, and the country at large.

It is all the product of love.

The money you give in love has an effect – it has blessings on both sides and can actually change lives. What friends and donors have given in love has enabled us to train about 4,000 church leaders since 2004.

From being a student seeing a lot of need to taking action, I found peace and can now see hope in South Sudan.


Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be showcasing the ways we see loved people love people across our network. We’d love to hear from you! Why do you give or volunteer? How have you been loved? Share your story with us online – hashtag #LovedPeopleLovePeople & #mochaclub and we’ll send you a Mocha Club sticker!

AFRICA NEWS, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION

Loved people love people

Loved people love people
A note from Mocha Club President Emily Blackledge.

 I often get asked why I do this work…why Africa?

My answer is simple: loved people love people. And for me, that answer is not specific to Africa. Sure, I work at an NGO that focuses on Africa, but I have a lot of hours in my day that aren’t spent at work. I serve at my church, I care for a family, I volunteer in the inner city.

In each case, my “why” is always the same: I am loved, so I love.

Being loved is an asset. It’s a gift that I have been given. And I don’t believe we are given gifts for ourselves alone. I have been loved, and I have been loved well. So out of that love, I have much to give.

I see that modeled so well when I travel across Africa.

Places and people who do not know me, welcome me in, offer me food and drink, give from what they have. Why? Because it has been done for them. Somewhere along the way, someone loved them, offered them food and drink, welcomed them in.

It’s a mark of humanity that I want to champion in all parts of my life. I can only give from what I have – and love is my best asset. The love of Christ compels me.

Loved people love people.


Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be showcasing the ways we see loved people love people across our network. We’d love to hear from you! Why do you give or volunteer? How have you been loved? Share your story with us online — hashtag #LovedPeopleLovePeople & #mochaclub and we’ll send you a Mocha Club magnet!

AFRICA NEWS, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, Orphan Care

War, poverty…and thriving?

War and poverty have written much of Congo’s story.

But there’s a church in the countryside taking back the narrative. They are rewriting their story as that of a thriving community.

How? Your everyday generosity allowed Pastor Jean to dream of a new reality for the children in his community. Then you gave him the chance to learn how to make it happen.

Your support of Mocha Club helps equip local leaders like Pastor Jean.

What was this community like before? Pastor Jean explains, “I saw in the streets many kids. Children filled our church every morning. Some wept. They’d never smile and would get aggressive. Joy was missing and it was difficult for me to see. I tried to help them, bring joy to them with songs and dances, but it was not enough.”

Pastor Jean dreamt of helping the children in his community, but he didn’t know how.

 Thanks to you, he received training in child trauma-healing. He learned how to help children thrive despite the trauma around them.

“It was a blessing. It opened my mind and made me strong in this ministry, which is not only a pillarto my church but that will help many children in this place. We’ve become friends with these kids and have helped them commit their lives and pains to Jesus who can take care of us. Now I know the trauma these children live with and how to lead them. Now they can get healing in my church, in my family, and in our environment.”

In a place where thriving seems impossible, Pastor Jean is changing the storyline. His church has become an agent of change for traumatized children, a place where the next generation can heal and grow and thrive together.

He has been the difference to his community, and you have been the difference to him. Together, we are building Africa’s dreams.

Uncategorized

How can you thrive in the midst of hardship?

Our culture tells us to avoid pain – it encourages a pursuit of pleasure or feeling good. And there is nothing wrong with feeling “good.” But one thing that has been lost in this pursuit is the beauty and goodness of feelings that don’t feel so good. When you experience a feeling, you have a choice, you can go to one of two extremes with that feeling. One is healthy and always invites community and growth. One is unhealthy and usually ends in isolation and despair.

Lets take hurt for instance; when I’ve been hurt, I can choose to either move toward resentment and bitterness or toward courage. Resentment pushes me away from relationship (at least with the one who hurt me) and leaves me to wrestle with this painful feeling alone. On the other hand, I could choose to move toward courage to be honest (with the one who hurt me) and potentially lead to restoration of the relationship. This honesty doesn’t cover up the hurt but chooses to express this emotion and create a space to find reconciliation.

From just this one instance, I can use hurt to grow my courage and potentially build a healthier, stronger relationship. This is thriving. Using the experiences life hands you to propel you forward physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And the beauty of thriving is that when you are thriving in community, you are naturally helping foster a thriving atmosphere for others around you. When you thrive, we thrive.

Emily Blackledge, Mocha Club President

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, Uncategorized

Learning your A-B-C-Ds…

We sat down with Mocha Club President, Emily to discuss the strategy of how Mocha Club educates local leaders in Africa & it’s all about your A-B-C-Ds:  Asset-Based Community Development. Through many years of working with African friends, we have seen (and learned) how powerful it can be when you look at what you have instead of what you lack. And it’s a good way to look at life, in general!

Read along with our conversation with Emily…

How do you use asset-based community development to think holistically?

Asset based development starts with what you have instead of what you lack. It’s a perspective, a mindset, a way of thinking about the world and your place in it. This mindset creates a positive posture from which to approach any topic or situation. And its open-ended question of “what do I have?” naturally allows you to explore answers from multiple angles. Not only do you create a list of things you know intellectually, but you also use your passions as strengths and consider what you can do with your hands. This question and mindset allows you to bring all of yourself to a situation or  problem and create the most holistic response.

Why focus on assets instead of problems?

Both are important. Problems arise by knowing where you want to go and what stands in your way to getting there. Equal to the creation of progress is knowing what you have to work with. “Assets” is just a fancy word for what you have. So when we choose to focus on what we have instead of what we lack, we can begin to see where we currently are and all the avenues for moving forward. It propels progress. Progress brings development – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

What transformation happens in a community when you start to look at what you have instead of what you lack?

Positivity. More than anything else, when you start a conversation with what you have – you begin on a positive note. This alone can help spur progress and development. Just like all elements of confidence and assurance, when you look at your surroundings and can see something positive – or at least start with something positive, you invite progress and development. When you consider the circumstance from all of your assets – you think holistically about the circumstance – you often notice elements of yourself or those around you that you might have missed otherwise. That knowledge can bring transformation.

Where can ABCD be used outside of a community in Africa? (relationships, self care, school, etc.)?

YOU can use this concept of asset based in anything – your relationships, yourself, your job. I am always shocked where I find it. For example, I was recently reading a course book on trauma counseling where they spoke specifically about using asset based tests to work with their clients on what they have to bring to their circumstances, not only focusing on their need or lack or trauma. I’ve talked with college students about using ABCD when determining how to split up a group project. Wouldn’t you rather ask the person who LOVES numbers to be in charge of the budget or numbers doc than the person who can write sheet music?! And with children – it works really well to build self confidence to start with what they can do and what they love to do than what they are struggling with in school. How do you work with what you have to solve the issues that keep you from getting to where you want to go.

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES

Using Your Gifts to Make a Difference

It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to the bigger problems in the world. You may look around and see all that’s wrong, and want to help, but feel unsure of where or how to begin. You may even dream up a solution, and then your brain interrupts…but I don’t have x, y, or z, so I can’t. You may think you lack what you need to make a difference. That’s a normal thought.

But it’s not true. Through asset-based community development, you can make a difference right where you are.

What’s asset-based community development?

Asset-based community development is working with what you have, rather than being hindered by what you lack.

A community in Africa might lack clean water. The multitude of issues that arise from that one problem — water borne diseases, girls missing school to gather water, and more — make it seem even more complex to address. Installing a clean water well is expensive and time consuming, creating an overwhelming hurdle for many African communities.

However, asset-based community development allows you to look at these problems in a new way.

In Africa, our leaders are trained to look for their assets first. When you partner with Mocha Club leaders, you help this important work happen. Leaders may find they have a community member trained in water engineering, or maybe they discover easy access to piping, or are able to connect with a local storeowner willing to donate a water tank. By educating community members on the direct benefits of clean water, many may volunteer their labor. Leaders may even find that stones, sand, and construction tools are all readily available locally.

Little by little, you help a practical and doable solution take shape.

This is how Mocha Club operates all our programs. You may see poverty around the world and think, I don’t have the money or the time it takes to make a difference. But what might be possible when you consider your assets?

Do you have a passion to help others and the determination to follow through? Do you have some spare change you can set aside during the week? What specific gifts do you have that can be used to tackle poverty? Do you have friends who can combine their efforts with yours?

You are uniquely gifted to make a difference.

So, what would happen in your world if instead of getting stuck in …but I don’t have x, y, or z so I can’t, you reframed your thinking to …I have a, b, and c, so let’s get started?

Consider your assets. You may find you’re closer to making a difference than you think.

Not a member of the Mocha Club giving community?
Join Today!

Uncategorized

Shout it from the [social media] mountain tops!

Psst…in case you forgot, Mother’s Day is on May 13th!

Join us as we share how much we love our moms (and other important women in our lives) by participating in a fun social media post.

Save the image below to your phone & upload it to your Instagram story. Fill in the boxes with information about your mom and let’s join in learning about  & celebrating all these incredible women!

Uncategorized

Southwestern + Mocha Club

Have you ever heard of Southwestern Advantage? Yes, the book selling company! Although it’s so much more than that.

The Southwestern Advantage mission is to help young people develop the skills and character they need to reach their goals. And these products are marketed by college students and recent graduates building their own businesses and gaining the tools they need for success in life.

Southwestern also encourages it’s booksellers to have a social impact when building their business. And Mocha Club is a proud partner of those efforts. Watch and learn more!

HQ, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

Will you be my neighbor?

Everyone has a story. And in each individual’s story, they are their own hero – the central figure to their story.

In a neighborhood, to find out what the problems are or the solutions can be, the best way to do that is to listen to the stories of those already in the community. With time, as you build

relationship, trust is given and respect is built. Then, there comes a time where asking questions and offering ideas adds value to the task at hand. But for starters, listen!

Because like it or not, our neighbors are a part of our “we.” The people that live around my house, the colleagues that share my office space, the men and women, boys and girls that go to my church are a part of my community. And I believe there is value in every human being. So the value and strength of my community is directly tied to the people and potential that exists in each of the individuals there. By not knowing them, I can’t know what value, what beauty, what assets they bring to the community.  And when the whole is only as great as the sum of its parts, then the whole suffers when the assets of the individuals are not recognized and used. So – get to know your neighbors!