“Never give up…you never know what God is preparing for you!” said Phiona Mutesi to over 700 young chess players in Cincinnati, Ohio recently. Phiona and Sports Outreach leader, Robert Katende, were guests of the 15th annual Queen City Chess Invitational where they received the “Shining Knight Award” for global leadership and service to youth.
While this was the first international trip for Robert and Phiona in 2016 it certainly will not be the last! God has been preparing great things for Sports Outreach Chess Program and those we serve.
- In February, the sixth Annual Gulu Chess Tournament was held in Northern Uganda. Over 200 children participated in the tournament that included devotions, character development and life skills as well as chess. The key verse for the tournament was Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plants to give you hope and a future.”
- Also in February, Phiona completed all the qualifying rounds in first place to earn the right to represent Uganda at the World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan in September. Robert will also attend the event to assist Phiona and other Ugandan teammates as coach. This is the fourth Chess Olympiad for Phiona.
- In March, Beatriz Marinello, a Vice President of FIDE (international governing body for chess), was in Uganda providing training to Sports Outreach chess coaches and assisting Robert Katende in moving the program forward. She is also Chair of the FIDE Social Action Committee (Robert is the secretary) whose purpose is to advocate for the use of chess to promote gender equality, social and economic development, life skills, and good character.
- This fall Robert and Phiona will return to the USA for the premier of the Disney production, “The Queen of Katwe.”
- In October 2016 Sports Outreach is planning a special day to dedicate the “Chess Academy and Mentoring Center” and “Chapel and Dining Hall” at the Kampala Ministry Center! The Chapel provides a place of worship as well as an assembly hall for events. The Chess Academy will be used for training purposes and hosting international tournaments.
Robert Katende and Sports Outreach started the chess program in 2007 with just six young players in the Katwe slum of Kampala. It was a struggle, but Robert never gave up; God clearly had a plan and honored Robert’s efforts. Today over 1200 youth are involved in the Sports Outreach chess program in Uganda alone. That program has become a model for FIDE and has been started at Sports Outreach centers in Kenya, El Salvador, and the United States!
May we take the advice of Phiona and never give up in life, but trust that God is preparing something for us!
Would you please consider a gift toward the completion of the Chess Academy ($25,000 is needed due to cost overrun) or to our general fund? Thank you in advance for your continued prayers, encouragement and financial support.
Rodney L. Suddith