“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
It was dark and dangerous, and part of me did not want to be there. Fellow Sports Outreach staff members, Aloysius and Esther Kyazze, were with me to encourage and play games with hundreds of children in Gulu, Uganda. The children came there each night because their homes, villages, and camps were not safe from rebel attack; children filled with fear of abduction and a keen awareness of the danger they fled and the uncertainty of a dawn that would introduce another day of fear and hopelessness.
We were surrounded by wire fencing and military guards. One guard asked “Why are you here? Do you know it is dangerous to be in Gulu? You do not need to be here, why are you here?” In a voice, so soft, that it screamed for all to be quiet, Esther said, “We have come because we love you, and together we will launch an effort to help you, your friends, your families, and the people of northern Uganda.” Although softly spoken it was a bold declaration of a new effort, led by these two members of Sports Outreach, to Restore Hope and Transform
As you may know, the eighth chapter of Luke shares one of the most popular Bible stories—the one where Jesus calms the storm. The story begins with a demand from Jesus to His disciples, “Come let us launch the boat and go to the other side!” The disciples were being asked to go across the Sea of Galilee, something they had never done (even those that had been fishermen), to a land occupied by enemies, and danger. What a trip it turned out to be—transformational for the disciples—and at least one tormented, fearful, hopeless man who lived on the other side!
I keep a picture from that night with Aloysius and Esther. It fills me with hope. One of the frightened girls (Irene), through grace, helped launch and maintain our effort in the village of Lagutu. A boy (Aruna), with training and prayer, launched a transformational chess program in Gulu. Others overcame obstacles, finished school, and are now helping to launch a new era of productivity and peace in northern Uganda.
Friends, this year, with your continued prayers, encouragement and financial support, Sports Outreach will launch new initiatives to share friendship, hope, and the love of Jesus in places that are dark and forgotten by most of the world.
I appreciate your shared compassion and commitment to serve “the least of these.”
Grace & Peace,
President Rodney L. Suddith
& The Sports Outreach Ministry Team