The compassion that motivated your prayers, volunteerism and financial support in the past year has taken you with Sports Outreach into some of the darkest regions of the globe. You went with us into places where the broken, the neglected, the downtrodden, the abused, the poor, the sick, and the outcast live. You know that compassion is not enough to change this world! It takes action and so you chose not to be passive but to be part of the answer! You chose to get off of the sidelines. Thank you for choosing to share the labor of love in 2015. You are an essential part of our mission to Restore Hope and Transform Lives.
So, where were you in 2015?
You were in Mukuru, a large slum in Nairobi filed with people from many other nations, filled with the outcast, the ones no one else wanted or cared about. Mukuru, the place that is for everyone that belongs somewhere else! Do you remember the school where every day 365 children receive two meals, the only food they will receive that day? Those meals are part of the 1,551,254 meals that you served to the poor and abandoned last year! You were in northern Uganda witnessing communities being transformed— communities populated by internally displaced refugees—people that had never had a place to call home. You were with them and you witnessed the transformation of barren, hopeless places into centers of hope, peace, and healing. It was there this year that you planted two new churches and provided vocational and agricultural training to just over 1,285 individuals thus empowering them to be self-sufficient and to become active agents in the further transformation of their communities.
You were in the slums of Kampala, using your hands, heart, and mind to teach chess to 135 abandoned street children. There you saw the beginning of transformation. Together we witnessed the inclusion of over 1,260 children in the various chess programs of Sports Outreach, some now even traveling to compete internationally. You were in the Katwe slum of Kampala watching Disney Studios film a full-length feature movie about some of the chess academy children and their coach and mentor Robert Katende. “The Queen of Katwe” will premier in Fall, 2016.
You were with the Blessed Back Medical team in the villages of northern Uganda, the slums of Kampala, and the future site of the Kampala Ministry Center. You witnessed our public health program at work, a program that includes 238 trained community health volunteers, in addition to our staff. You saw peoples’ physical, mental, and emotional health restored.
You were in El Salvador assisting our staff with sports and spiritual mentoring of just over 1,450 students. You visited the homes of these children’s families and helped start the process of restoring hope in developing communities. You met some of our Andrew Popp Scholarship recipients (note: this year seven Andrew Popp Memorial Scholarship recipients are full-time university students!). In El Salvador, you saw a little less than 10% of the educational outreach of Sports Outreach.
You were with us in Ometepec, Mexico and saw how sports are used to build relationships with people of all ages. You saw the Sports Outreach Camp on the Pacific coast where children and youth attended annual sports camps and evangelistic retreats!
You were in a noisy, crowded room in Lynchburg, Virginia mentoring children who want to find a way to avoid gang violence and break the chain of generational poverty. These children are found in every city, often ignored and forgotten. But you see what they can become through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.
You were in many places with us this year! And wherever we went God was there first, preparing the place and the people for us to serve. Together we learned that true faith is not passive in the face of need. It does not look away. It does not merely wish for something better; it becomes part of the answer. We celebrate and thank God for You!
You have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat…Isaiah 25:4.
You might be new to Sports Outreach and never taken the step to “Join the Mission.” I invite you to do so. Check out our website www.sportsoutreach.net or visit us on Facebook. If you have questions or desire more information contact us at email@example.com. You don’t necessarily have to travel to a remote place to be present with those we serve. You can forge a relationship with one child through sponsorship. Or you can learn about the challenges faced by those we serve in slums, war-torn countries, and devastated communities and commit to supporting our effective ways of Restoring Hope and Transforming Lives!
Will you please make a special year-end gift to help us continue? Sports Outreach is trying to raise $200,000 by December 31. To help us achieve this ambitious goal, two donors have pledged $60,000 in matching gifts! That means any gift you make between now and December 31 is doubled! Please act today – Give the Gift of Hope this Christmas!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Rodney L. Suddith, President