Editor's Note: OBU alum Melissa Busby, a 1999 graduate, is a 2013 recipient of the OBU Alumni Association's Profile In Excellence Award. The award is given to a former student who has "demonstrated recognizable accomplishment in his or her profession, business, avocation, or life service in such a way as to bring pride and honor to the University." Each year, Profile In Excellence recipients are featured in OBU Magazine.
A mission trip to Uganda not only created a wave of change in the life of Melissa Busby, a 1999 OBU graduate, but the ripple effects of God moving in Busby's life have changed countless lives on two continents.
Busby met a beautiful little girl who needed a family while she was on the mission trip. She believed God wanted her family to adopt the child, whose mother had died in childbirth. Busby and her husband, Cody, a 1998 OBU graduate, started the adoption process, which led to a year of paperwork and government red tape. They waited for their newest daughter, Mercy, to join their daughters, Emma and Avery, and the rest of the family in Mulvane, Kan., where Cody serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church.
"In August of 2010, I left for what I thought would be a four- to eight-week trip to complete the adoption," Busby said. "Unbeknownst to us, God had other plans. Those four to eight weeks led to a nearly 11-month stay in Uganda completing the adoption. During that time, God did some amazing work. I was able to help many ministries and other families that were trying to adopt. I also started my ministry, Mercy for Mamas."
Shortly before traveling to Uganda to complete Mercy's adoption, Busby learned about "mama kits" and decided they would be a great way to honor Mercy's mother. At first, she expected to collect and distribute only a few donations. But as her time in Uganda dragged on, Busby heard stories again and again of women dying in childbirth. About 500 women die giving birth per 100,000 births in Uganda each year; in the United States, the rate is about 13.
"I felt a huge burden for the thousands of women who die every day in childbirth," Busby said. "I learned that one easy way to help eliminate this problem is by providing clean birthing kits to the expectant mothers."
Each $7 "mama kit" contains all of the supplies needed to deliver a baby. Women must have the supplies to give birth in a hospital or clinic in Uganda. During her 10-plus months in Uganda, Busby distributed nearly 700 kits. In the two years since the ministry started, nearly 4,000 "mama kits" have been distributed through crisis pregnancy centers, churches, community outreach groups and by missionaries.
"By giving the kits, we encourage women to give birth at a hospital with trained medical personnel and/or we provide sterile supplies for a home birth," Busby said. "We also eliminate a huge financial burden for these women who generally live on about $1 a day."
Busby said while she never planned to stay in Uganda for nearly a year completing Mercy's adoption, she can see how God used that time in many ways. She learned to trust God like never before. He transformed her prayer life and strengthened her marriage and family. He gave her a precious daughter who perfectly fits into her family. And He allowed her to be a part of His work around the world.
"Uganda has thousands and thousands of orphans," Busby said. "My goal through Mercy for Mamas is to help prevent any more. I want more mamas to be able to live and raise their own children."
For more information visit the Mercy for Mamas website.
View a list of others who have received the Profile in Excellence award.