Transforming Lives, Traveling to Gulu

We began our day with a trip to the Sports Outreach Chess Academy. The building was about a 30 minute bus ride through downtown Kampala. This was a unique experience for our team that allowed us to learn and ask questions of the coaches, trainers and chess students. Though the duration of time we stayed was brief, the impact was real, the work God is doing in the lives of the chess students was obvious. After boarding back onto the bus, one of the chess coaches Richard, graciously gave our team a tour around the slum of Katwe and we saw where portions of “The Queen of Katwe” was filmed. We then embarked on our journey to Gulu, a village roughly 7 hours from the city of Kampala.  We traveled by bus along paved roads for a majority of the journey and had a lot of time to share stories and grow closer as a team. We got to see the Nile river, some monkeys, and even some ambitious baboons that would jump on moving cars.

We arrived at the Sports Outreach Center and were immediately welcomed.  We gathered as a group and did brief introductions before breaking off into the guys playing a soccer game and the girls spending time with Christine’s House of Anointing.  Christine’s House is a group of women who serve younger girls who are facing difficult situations at home.  Here they are fed, given a place to sleep, ministered, counseled, and embraced with a loving and supportive community.  The girls in Christine’s House were so joyful and welcoming, even though they have been through so much.  There are a couple girls who have recently given birth to precious and healthy babies and a few who are expecting.  We got the opportunity to hear a couple of testimonies from the girls and how Christine’s House has helped transform their lives.  It was so powerful how open the girls were just right off the bat, sharing their stories to complete strangers.  They trusted us and it showed how desperate they are to be loved and to show God’s love.  We have been asked to pray for peace, provisions and enlightenment in the girl’s lives.

The guys attempted to run some futbol, or soccer passing drills with the kids and struggled through the language barrier and lack of skills.  However, the ability to use hand motions, eye contact or facial expressions, and demonstrations allowed us to connect with the kids and have fun running simple practice drills.  This transitioned to a full-fledged 10 on 10 soccer match that brought out the fast paced, energetic side of two golfers and a washed-up baseball player. It was such a joy to compete and spend time with the kids that ended up turning into some education on the importance of stretching, and devotions. It was moving when we transitioned from working as a soccer team, to sharing how we can all work together on God’s team, supporting each other and most importantly, loving one another.

In the coming days, we will be sharing in church, ministering through water filter distribution, and interacting with younger kids in the community by running sports camps.  We are so blessed to be in Gulu and have this opportunity to served alongside the beautiful people of Uganda.  Thank you for your continuous thoughts and prayers.

Noah, Maddie, and Colleen

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