All Posts By


Love 2X, …er, 4X!

Meet Eva and Esther, Joshua and Jonathan. Two sets of twins who you support at Bringing Hope to the Family – one of our newest partners in Uganda. Bringing Hope makes sure that orphaned kids – like these little girls whose mom died in childbirth and these little boys who were abandoned – are taken care of. Thanks to you, they continue to grow!

The Best Place a Student Needs to be…

Kids in the U.S. may have just fled the doors of schools across the nation, but for kids at New Dawn in Kenya, school is in session throughout the summer – and they’re happy about it! Check out what Ochieng, a student in form three, had to say about her schooling: “This is the place I have been yearning to come because its environment is conducive and peaceful. It is the best place a student needs to be.” Ochieng wants to teach literature or be an author when she grows up. Thanks for helping to make her dream a reality!

An SUV Turned Ambulance

We recently helped the caregivers at Lizulu Orphan Care get an SUV to make life a little easier…and just in time! Recently, malaria has struck the region hard. Everton, our pastor on the ground there, wrote: “This time I have no problem taking sick children to hospital as the vehicle is working perfectly any time anywhere in the area we are operating.”

Hopping a Plane to Ethiopia Post-Graduation

What gives you the confidence to say, “Yeah! I can do that!” Eric, a recent Belmont University grad, found that “umph” after his trip to Ellilta in Ethiopia a few weeks ago. With a degree in finance, he is helping Ellilta strengthen its business practices. Which means, he dabbled in dollars and cents, but also in Internet marketing to reach tourists looking for local souvenirs, using technology to share documents, and long-term strategic business planning aimed at, one day, growing Ellilta to other locations.

“I love working with Ellilta because I get to wear so many hats,” says Eric. “Plus, that positivity of women who have so little, but are so happy, is something I just want to be part of.”

As an added benefit, Eric’s trip, which was his second time to Ellilta, meant he connected with the staff on a personal level, way before ever diving into the business details. “I was greeted with open arms,” he says.

Stay tuned to our blog for more to come on Eric’s work with Ellilta, which continues now that he’s back in the States.

Ever Met Zen Pig?

Ever met a Zen Pig? We have. He’s a cute little fella…round nose, full belly and a penchant for being thankful. Zen Pig is the star of a children’s book by Mocha Club friend, Mark Brown. When you purchase this little book, you also donate to clean water projects, including new latrines for the kids at Bringing Hope to the Family in Uganda. Thanks Mark! And thanks, Zen Pig!

Mochatern Monday : 06.15.15

Happy Monday, y’all! I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I joined the Mocha Club team! Time flies when you’re having fun, right? This month has been nothing but good: from Ellie’s Run, to meeting the other intern Katie, to TK coming to visit the team from South Africa, to attending the CMT Awards. My prediction after Ellie’s Run was right: there is still excitement and so much life, love, and positivity.

After a month, the once obnoxious train that passes directly behind the building every few hours has become something I barely notice. The zooming cars of the highway in front of the building remind me of my bedroom at home, and the air conditioner that sounds like a door opening is something I’m still not used to.

Since Ellie’s Run has come and gone, the next event on the docket is the Spread the Word Golf Tournament happening in August. I’ve been able to help with spreading the word (ha-ha, get it?) to various media outlets around Nashville. It’s fun getting to learn the in’s & out’s of advertising an event with a hands-on approach. Be sure to check out the site for more information on how you can be apart of it!

Last Wednesday night, Mochatern Katie and I got to attend the 2015 CMT Awards at Bridgestone Arena and that was a blast, but it didn’t come easy. The day before the awards, we waited outside for close to three hours in the 90-degree heat just to get a free wristband. Again before the awards, we waited outside for a little over an hour to get let in. Much to our surprise, we were seated just above all of the celebrities. We could see Carrie Underwood, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, and, of course, Luke Bryan and his crazy antics during commercial breaks. As you probably know, Lady Antebellum is one of Mocha Club’s artist sponsors. It was awesome getting to see a group who is passionate about the same organization we are take home the Group Video of the Year Award for their song “Bartender.” We’re so proud of them, and all the other winners of course- we’re just a bit biased here at Mocha Club.

Summer is in full swing here in Nashville, as the days are growing hotter and longer and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for the rest of the summer!

See y’all next time for another #mochaternmonday, but, in the meantime, you can keep up with us over on Twitter @mochatern!


The One Reason I Come to Work Comes from the Congo

by Emily Blackledge

Emily Blackledge leads our work on the continent of Africa, spending her days interacting with local leaders on the ground. She’s seen a lot…but Congo changed her. Take a look at how this trip gave her new perspective on work she’s done for more than a decade.

I’ve been traveling in slums and refugee camps for 13 years. But nothing prepared me for Congo.

On my first trip to the DRC last year, I was overwhelmed by the heat and the rain and the volcanic ash and the smells. I could not escape the constant feeling of being dirty and the despair of the harsh reality of a life smashed between active volcanoes and lakes, and surrounded by rebels. I just felt overwhelmed, the deepest expression of hopelessness I had ever experienced.

So I came home and wrestled… with God, with my spirit, with my job. Where was, where is, the Gospel in a place like Goma? When God kicked us out of the Garden of Eden, Goma became our reality….

So where do we go from here? How do I live? How do I work? How do I reconcile my passion for supporting the local church and question if it can ever truly work in places like Goma?

Since that trip, God has graciously wrestled with me and led me to the redemption of the Gospel story: the truth that the Gospel is ALWAYS at work, will ALWAYS win, will ALWAYS wash over the people and places in the world that exist like Goma.

And he has blessed this wrestling with people like Denis Hangi.

Amidst my wrestling, God overwhelmed my world with Denis who, in turn, has splattered the Gospel all over me. In the midst of the harsh Goma reality, Denis fights everyday to sing the truth of the Gospel to everyone he encounters. He stands in the rain, the heat, the volcanic ash and builds bedrooms for orphans who need to know there is a God that loves them so desperately, they will sleep dry and safe tonight. He hurries through the muddy roads and smelly slums with his camera to document the progress of the plants now growing through ash for food for widows and orphans, and sends me those photos so I may celebrate our God along with him. He laughs and patiently explains in broken English the things I didn’t understand from an email written in French.  And he loves… lavishly, on those orphans, on the widows, on me.  Then, he reminds me why we must celebrate, why we must sing… for the Gospel is true in Goma. How can I not be undone and forever changed by this work? For its the Gospel, working and changing in the most dirty and hopeless of places. And it’s splattered all over the life and ministry of my friend Denis.

This is the ONE reason why I come to work… The Gospel in Goma is true and strong and real.  I can’t imagine anything other than toiling alongside my friends, mourning the dirty and broken, and celebrating every moment where green plants grow in the ash and where white washed buildings protect the least of these.

Why listen?

Our Belmont students continue their work with Ellilta to make sure it can grow with the increasing number of women who seek help today…and will seek help in the future! The team continues to focus on business practices that simply need some updating. What’s the biggest lesson? It’s not the number crunching or the systems building. It’s the idea of listening and understanding that what works in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily work in Africa. It works best when we take a step back, learn from one another and then move forward. Good lesson for life, right?

The Only Source of Water through Ebola

Remember the well dug in Sierra Leone last year? Reports are in that the well served as the community’s ONLY source of clean drinking water throughout the Ebola epidemic and into today. We rejoice with that community as new infections are few and far between. And we look forward to sharing updates on the well’s effectiveness now that it’s been a year since the community served the first cup of water.