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#mcjourney2018, AFRICA TRIPS, Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, I NEED AFRICA, Orphan Care, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

Our time at Blessed Camp

Hey, Kathryn here!

I’m one of the members of the Mocha Club Journey 2018 team!  I’m excited to share the first-half of our journey with you at Blessed Camp through my photos below:

Meet Beatrice. She shares her talent of sewing by teaching other women in the community sewing skills so they are able to support their families.  Here, my team member, Fallon purchased a skirt sewn by Beatrice; and her sweet daughter, Favour wanted to join the picture!                                                                                                                                          >>>>

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What a blessing these children were. We loved playing with them and learning about how they keep busy…no iPhones, iPads or tv, just their beautiful imaginations!  These girls found a rope, so of course, jump rope it is!  We also experienced jump rope without a rope…try that at home!

 

 

 

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Peter, also known as ‘Pastah — Director of Action Ministry and Mocha Club partner, walked us through the first edition of Blessed Camp, which was originally known as Rejected Village.  Next to the leprosy hospital, patients were not welcome back to their homes, therefore they had to create their own community.  Today Blessed Camp is full of love, life and lots of laughter!  Here you see individuals going about daily life — carrying wood and making concrete.

And Mother Margaret, “Maggie”, welcomed us into her home.  She was one of the first people to arrive in Blessed Camp and due to leprosy has difficulty walking. But rain or shine, finds her way to church every Sunday!                                                                             >>>>

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The second day we were at Blessed Camp, we helped participate in their weekly sanitation and prevention of parasites known as jiggers. The leaders of Blessed Camp along with Doctor John are able to serve not only the children in the school, but have opened their doors to the entire community of children.            >>>>

 

 

 

What is Blessed Camp planning next? A guest house for future visitors!

 

Our trip to Blessed Camp was short and sweet, however we will treasure these memories forever!  And, of course, never forget these sweet faces that greeted us every morning and left us with big smiles!

 

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When you thrive, we thrive.

I am convinced of the idea that when you thrive, we thrive.

Its nothing new or special – but its true. The concept that the whole is only as great as the sum of its parts. This is true in families, its true in classrooms, its true in communities. And its why we do what we do at Mocha Club. We believe that as we strengthen individuals within the communities we serve in Africa, we add to their ability to thrive together. When we work to create thriving individuals who understand the concept that “Loved people love people” they choose to leverage all that they have and all that they are to love well the people around them and create a space for themselves collectively to flourish.

LINK TO TEE ON MC STORE

I have spent some time recently with our African leaders and continue to hear of the power of this work. When the time is taken to invest in the lives of men and women leaders, communities thrive. As we invest in these leaders, they are gaining language, awareness, and skills to care for those in their communities. Often the circumstances of these communities stay hard – they continue to live in war, or drought, or refugee camps – but they thrive. Their perspective has shifted. They are leveraging all of what they have to dream of a future for themselves and their children. And they are flourishing amidst the hard and broken of their surroundings.

Its a gift to work and walk alongside them. I believe we are made to care for others. Its part of our DNA. We want to be a part of something larger than ourselves. We want to leave a legacy. We want to have mattered. This is a space where we can do that! We get to rally with friends from across the United States and leverage what we have and who we are and what we know to care for our friends in Africa. To dream with them. To equip. To walk and work alongside them.

Join our Mocha Club family!

#mcjourney2018, AFRICA NEWS, AFRICA TRIPS, CAMPAIGNS, Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, Orphan Care, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

#MCJourney2018 : meet Fallon!

And last but not least, it’s time to introduce the remaining team member of the Mocha Club Journey 2018!

Lastly…

Meet Fallon!

Hey friends! I’m the trip leader for our journey this August! I officially joined the Mocha Club team in Nashville in early 2013, but have been a long-time member and supporter.  

As the Mocha Club Artist & Member Care Manager, I’ll make sure your trip to Africa is just one of the many ways you stay connected to the club! I love dancing, baseball (Go Tigers!), and leftovers.


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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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The Power of Yes

As Mocha Club President, Emily Blackledge is constantly on the move meeting with leaders, pastors, donors, and friends of our organization — those that want to learn more about life in Africa, how we are involved & how, as a community, we get to work together to make an impact in this world. After several encouraging and inspiring conversations last week, she shared with us her musings of what she wants this “work” to be about…

I want to expand the margins and boundaries we build around us. I no longer want to fight against something…but for something. I want my life to be about the positive – the propelling movement into the future, not the raging battle against the negative. I believe by being for the positive, it is in fact more powerful than standing against something. I want to say “yes” more often. “No” is limiting; it fights against something; it defines the negative. “Yes” is powerful. It invites as opposes to divides. It speaks to what we have, not what we lack. It’s a powerful tool for inclusion. It’s a means to fight for, to stand for, to work toward. It means I have something to offer – my “yes” defines what I can give or be or extend. I want to say “yes” as often as possible. Yes to opportunity, to possibility, to movement. Yes.