“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” Isaiah 28:16
(Theme verse for Sports Outreach efforts in Northern Uganda)
Heeding God’s call and under the auspices of Sports Outreach, Aloysius Kyazze first arrived on the scene in Gulu, Uganda in the early 1990s. At that time Northern Uganda was crippled by civil war with over 1.3 million people living in internally displaced person (IDP) camps and Aloysius’ native Acholi people had been especially targeted. At a Nairobi news conference in 2003, Jan Egeland, then UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said: “The conflict in northern Uganda is the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today.” Knowing that trust needed to be reestablished among those in the area, many years (nearly a decade) was spent building meaningful relationships with local leaders, churches, and individuals. Eventually, Aloysius felt his wife, Esther, and their three children could join him and in 2003 full-time ministry efforts began.
In 2005 Sports Outreach acquired the Koro Farm, located just outside the town of Gulu. If you had been there in the early days you would have seen acres of elephant grass that needed to be cleared with machetes in order to be built upon or cultivated. Once cleared, it wasn’t long before crops were planted, a piggery established, and building construction commenced. At the same time Aloysius was using his gifts of discernment, leadership and counseling to gather a team of committed leaders. People like Maureen (farm operations), Garrard (agriculture), Millie (preschool), Lydia (vocational training and trauma counseling), and Kenneth (construction training and physical plant supervision), who were not only trained in the effective uses of sports ministry, but in skills needed to oversee day-to-day operations at the Farm.
Today the Sports Outreach Good News Community Center at Koro Farm thrives with over 45 full time residents and continues to be a place of healing for people broken by war’s horrors. Programs such as the annual Christmas Camp (trauma care), Oaks Academy (a discipleship oriented sports camp), Christine’s House/Victory Teens (trauma counseling, vocational training, education), and chess mentoring are all providing a strong Christian foundation for Northern Uganda’s next generation. All this in just ten years!
This year the Kyazzes are transitioning to a new role—one with less “hands-on” farm oversight and more focus on Christian leadership development and church planting. More time will be spent strengthening the young churches in outlying villages and training others in Christian principles like marriage, work ethics, and giving. God has blessed Sports Outreach’s efforts to build a sure foundation through the simple model of indigenous staff training committed Christian leaders through building meaningful relationships. Together with you, Restoring Hope and Transforming Lives!
Rodney L. Suddith, President