This cast of characters is joined by a common passion — to love and care for orphans and people who are hurting and in need through missionary work. To be a father to many, even if for one day. To hold and hug those children who do not have a father. To show women the healthy touch of a man, and to be an example to other men of what a real man is like -- what it means to be a father. The Man Up team washed dishes for the women, cooked, gathered food, washed feet, shaved and fed lepers, played games and simply loved big.
Many of the men call Missouri, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Uganda and Ethiopia their home. Despite being miles apart geographically and worlds apart socially, economically and culturally, this band of American brothers includes a seasoned cop, a retired military man and an architect. Then there is the standout ex-college football player, the highly successful businessman, the well-known publicist, the celebrity athlete, and the teenage boys. Most of the over 30 adventurers on this team had never stepped foot on African soil.
The film focuses on five Americans and reveals their unique stories before the missionary work trip even starts. We see them at home, at work, and at play, and we connect with their unfolding lives. The film's journey continues as the team comes together at an airport in Washington DC. For most of them it’s a first time meeting, yet they unite as one.
The lives of the Americans are contrasted and compared with the lives of African brothers. Included are harrowing stories of survival through unthinkable situations — one was left for dead on a mountain of bodies and the second once orphaned himself, living in a dump. These stories and others represent shining examples of manhood and the spirit of the adventure.
The Man Up team’s missionary work takes them to hidden children prisons and a dump site, which is home to thousands of orphans, drawing strong attention to the touching lives of the orphaned children. The journey continues to a ministry for street children, a remote village in the middle of Ethiopia, and to a multitude of orphanages. The needs of the precious children are revealed by the spirited actions of the Man Up team’s missionary work, entwining strong, common threads of hope, joy, love and the power these have over adversity.
In the end, the American team travels home to their comfortable lives, but will they ever be the same? Will the facade of the American dream grip them like it used to? The men return with the truth planted in them that life is not just about them; they are transformed by their African missionary work and the brothers they met there, and they are united with a strong commitment to love big and to be fathers to the fatherless.
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