Monday, May 26, 2014

Update From Uganda

SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2014

Our fifth full day in Uganda was the busiest day yet. Our day began at a local village in Soroti for a 
devotional with Bishop George. This man had a grin from ear to ear and was full of God's love and the 
joy of Christ. It was a blessing getting to worship with him, and Uncle Sam, our dear leader
 and friend, led us with a message from Psalm 84:1-2,10. His message was soaked in truth and the Spirit 
moved and challenged each and every one of us. After our time of fellowship, we visited four different 
schools and had the opportunity to teach the local kids them in football, field hockey, and baseball, as 
well as do some speed and agility drills. It was amazing to see how God works through sport and the 
connections that a simple ball can bring to people that have nothing else in common. The kids ranged 
anywhere from 8 or nine years old up to 19 or 20. Throughout the day, countless numbers of kids gave 
their lives to Christ after hearing numerous testimonies from every one of us. 

In partnering with the Divine Stars, we were able to speak with the local children, many of which spoke
 little to no English. Another huge blessing has been the ability to fellowship with the Divine Stars and be 
able to be encouraged and encourage them. Their faith and dedication to athletic excellence is admirable 
and all of us have learned from them how to better represent Christ in the realm of athletics and their
 friendship is something that will be with us the rest of our lives. 

On top of all of this exciting news, the girls had the unique opportunity to play alongside the Divine Stars 
and helped them pull off a comfortable 3-0 victory against one of the local high schools.

May God receive all of the glory for the great things that are occurring in this beautiful country and we 
pray that our ministry here is touching the hearts and lives of all the ones who are supporting and following
 us as we pursue the advancement of  God's kingdom here in Uganda. 

We Smell Like Jesus

SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2014

We smell like Jesus

Hello friends and family!

Our bags are packed, and we can't wait to see what God has in store! The 2014 Uganda team arrived on 
campus Thursday to begin training. We are incredibly thankful to serve with AROMA, and work with 
organizations, such as Sports Outreach. We feel encouraged, knowing that each day we have the 
opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are the aroma of Christ (2 Cor 4:14-15).

Thursday night we got together as a team and got some touches in on the soccer pitch. We are thankful
 that God is using us, and the platform of college athletes to share the gospel.

On Friday we spent time with Sawyer learning about their water products and how we will be giving our 
friends from Uganda clean water. These Sawyer water filters are amazing! Sawyer has been distributing
them all over the world, and they prove to filter over one million gallons of water (enough for a lifetime).
 Later that night, the White's hosted us for dinner as we sat around a fire sharing our testimonies. This was
 great for team bonding! We all felt encouraged and we loved hearing how God is continually working 
cin us. We feel empowered, knowing that God is using us to pour into the Ugandan people spiritually, 
but also in meeting their physical needs with clean water.

One highlight so far has been the cross run. Highlight, because it brought us together, and helped unify us 
as a team. It was an incredible experience. We paired up with the 2014 El Salvador team to carry three 
wooden crosses on a run that brought us far off campus. There were four stops along the way. At each, 
Aaron Faro challenged us with questions, and encouraged us with scripture. This wasn't easy. We were 
tested physically, and spiritually. We pray that we will continue to persevere through hardships as a team, 
as we "fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the 
cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured 
such opposition from sinners, so you do not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews12:2-3)."

We Left Soroti Today

MONDAY, MAY 27, 2013

We left Soroti this morning with sad hearts.  We said good-bye to some good friends who wanted
 us to either stay or return in the near future!  We headed to Paraa Safari Lodge, which was about 
6 hours from Soroti.  On the way we stopped at an orphanage that was created and still facilitated 
by a couple from Oregon.  The orphanage is designed in family style housing that replicates African 
culture.  We had ice cream and homemade cinnamon rolls, which was quite a treat! 

We had an incredible opportunity to go on a safari this afternoon.  If anyone doesn't believe in God,
 they only need to take a ride through the African country, see a sunset here or the magnificent
 animals that He created.  We saw lions, elephants, giraffes, wart hogs, water buffaloes, hippos, 
cobs, and many more!   Tomorrow we are going on a hike and then heading back to Kampala.

Last Days in Soroti

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013

Hey everyone!!!

This will probably be super short because the internet here goes in and out and because it is almost
midnight and we have an early morning tomorrow! But we wanted to write a quick post about the past
 two days in Soroti!!

It has been an incredible two days... Yesterday (Saturday) everyone but about 5 of us weren't feeling
well... some had to stay home for the morning, but everyone is feeling so much better today!! Thanks for
all the prayers from back home! :) Saturday, we started out with morning devotions, which were awesome
as always, and a service project in the morning, which consisted of picking up trash throughout Soroti with
 the Divine Stars! We got to use little brooms made out of bush branches. After lunch we headed to a
village for a soccer match... We got to watch Aaron, Jarrett, and Kyle play with the Divine Stars and
spend some time with the kids, share testimonies, and see some people come to Christ!

Today, we got split up into groups to go to different churches in the morning. Some of us got to give a
message, share a testimony, or sing a song for the church. It was definitely on Africa time though... the
church services here go anywhere from 6am to noon! We were supposed to be on the road to the village
by 9am, but didn't end up leaving till after 11! We made the long journey to the village with a packed bus
of team members and Divine Star players and attended the church service at the village when we got there.
Kate and Chris got to share their testimony at the service... which was a small building packed with about
800 people!! After the service we got a huge lunch they cooked for us, played with the kids, gave a water
 filter demonstration, and then headed down the road to the soccer match. We again watched the boys play
 in the game, interacted with the people, learned how to count to 10 in Ateso (the language they speak
here), were taught how to dance, had some really special encounters with the people, and got to see 300
out of the almost 2,000 people at the soccer match step forward to give their lives to Christ... what an
incredible sight!!!

We made the trek back to Soroti, spending our last hour and a half with the Divine Stars players. It was
sad to see them go and have to say good-bye! We have formed some awesome relationships over the past
 week! We leave at 6:30 tomorrow morning to head to the safari, and then we head back to Kampala on
Tuesday! We miss you all... Thanks for the love and prayers from back home! Pray for safe travels
tomorrow on these bumpy roads!!

Goodnight! :)

Updates for Thursday and Friday

Thursday, the 23rd

In the morning, we went to the school to have worship and devotions with the Devine Stars girls soccer team. Our time of worship with the team was an amazing experience, it was really great to just see how much they love God through their singing! Dori had the chance to share a devotion and Jenny shared her testimony. After devotions, the Divine Stars had to leave for a soccer tournament that they are participating in (more details later on the tournament). After the girls left, we stayed and had the opportunity to talk with some of the other students and some of the guys Divine Stars soccer players. It was really nice to just have time to talk with them getting to know them and building relationships. 

We then left from the school to have a special visit to the mayor's office to visit him. We were invited into his office and we explained why we were in Uganda. We also explained and demonstrated the Sawyer water filters to the Mayor. We even let him take the first drink of the filtered water.

After we finished at the Mayors office, we traveled down the road to the soccer field to run a practice for the girls and guys Divine Stars. Coach Brad took the soccer girls and guys through a soccer clinic and there was also field hockey, volleyball, and many other activities going on at the same time. Note, Coach was under the weather, and still was able to fight the pain, he is truly living up to his teams motto of "as iron sharpens iron."  (He is feeling a lot better after a good nights sleep)

After lunch, we headed to a school where we ran a basketball clinic on a dirt court with some of the guys from town. Some of the group played net ball, some played volleyball, and some chased the little kids around with a soccer ball. We had an awesome time of conversation with the basketball players after the clinic and then Jim and Emily shared testimonies to the whole group. 

When we got back to the hotel, a group of us ran up a small mountain next two the hotel before dinner and got to see an awesome view of Soroti. We finished up the day with dinner and sharing about our favorite moments of the day.

Friday, the 24th 

This morning we had our morning devotions at a church with some of the men's Divine Stars players. We had an awesome time of worship and then Jarrett and Aaron shared a short devotion about Nicodemus. Kyle shared his testimony as well. After devotions we got to go to the women's soccer tournament that is being hosted in Soroti and cheer on the women's Divine Stars team. They were awesome to watch and ended up winning 11 to 0! We had a lot of fun watching the game, talking with the Ugandans, and playing with the kids that ended up on our laps. After the game, we walked across the field picking up all the trash on the field and headed over to another field for a track and soccer clinic.

Jenny and Vicki took us all through a track and field clinic filled with drills, races, and relays. Aaron and Kyle almost beat the Africans. Coach Brad and the guys took the rest of the time to teach more soccer drills to the men's team. The rest of us spent time with the people watching the soccer, blowing bubbles and playing games. We left the field after 1:30 hungry, hot and ready for lunch!

After lunch, we had another great memorable conversation that ended in lots of laughs... and then headed to another church to worship with them. We had an awesome time of worship and listened to testimonies from people from the church, some players from Sports Outreach, and from Coach Brad. There were other songs shared and lots and lots of dancing. 

We finished up the day with dinner and phone calls home! We are all loving Uganda, the people, and getting to know each other better! Keep Brenda, Molly, Vicki, and Dori in your prayers as they are not all feeling the best right now... but we are taking good care of them! We have a busy weekend ahead of us, with a community service project tomorrow, a soccer game tomorrow night, and more planned for Sunday, before we head out to our safari and trip back to Kampala! Thanks for all the prayers from back home!!

- Kyle, Jarrett, Aaron, Chris, Coach Brad... but mostly Emily and Jenny

It Begins...

Tuesday, the 21st

So much has happened today that it is hard to put it all into words. We are thankful that our group got to spend time in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, to see all of the programs our sports outreach partners' have established.

We began the day with devotions at the headquarters of the sports outreach team, which is housed at Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped. We worshiped with our team alongside of the staff of SOI. We sang, heard a devotion from one of the staff members about Christ as a remote for our lives, and then split into small prayer groups. Stacey, our Sawyer water filtration representative, demonstrated how the filtration system works. Everyone was amazed when the dirt filled water was transformed into clean and clear drinking water, enjoyed by team members of both groups.

Next we set out to the soccer field for a clinic to provide additional drills for the coaches within the Good News team. This team is a group of young Christian men that are coaching local children within the slums of Kampala. Coach Brad led multiple drills which these coaches can now use for their players. While some Messiah team members participated within the drills, others played with the children that ran out to play with us. After a fun time of bonding and playing, we had to say goodbye to head back for lunch and our next adventures.

After lunch, our Messiah group was split up into 3 groups to go visit and minister to various slums within Kampala. One group held a basketball clinic for 18 girls, led by the 3 basketball players from Messiah, Dori, Emily, & Kate along with the help of Kyle. They played for 3 hours together, moving from various drills to scrimmaging. They also had time to sit with the girls and learn more about them. The other two groups each went to 2 slum areas. The focus of the 4 slum areas is to play soccer, a feeding program, and to share about Jesus.

The one group (Aaron, Brenda, Jarrett, Jim, Chris) played soccer, talked about who they were and how much they loved Jesus, along with water filter demonstrations. 200 kids showed up, which led to on-the-spot thinking as the group only had 2 balls to play soccer with.

The second group (Vicki, Jenny, Brad, Molly, Stacey) that went into the slums also played soccer, along with being able to share their testimonies and stories. As a result of the sharing, and the help of Don, the leader of SOI, and one of the Good News coaches, 4 boys accepted Christ. This group also went to visit the Chess Academy, where children who don’t want to play soccer can learn to play chess. This is a way for them to be off the streets and learning about Christ.

At night, the Messiah team regrouped and was able to share with each other stories from the day.

Wednesday, 22nd

Today we drove from Kampala to Soroti, 190 kilometers of bumpy and rough roads. The drive was supposed to take 7.5 hours. We started out the day with one person vomiting, making us worried about the long drive ahead of us. We prayed as a team for Kyle while we waited for him to gather himself. God was faithful and answered our prayers; Kyle did not become sick again once on the drive, and is now feeling normal once again. Our bus had 2 rows of seat taken up by luggage, which left us with 19 people and 18 empty seats. The men were gracious and took turns standing in replacement of the missing seat. The drive helped us to establish stronger relationships with the host staff of Uganda during our long drive.

We had the opportunity to stop in Jinja, a major city, where the source of the Nile River is located. We got to take pictures, along with putting our hands in the Nile River, which was a memorable experience for all of us. For lunch we stopped 2 hours later where we enjoyed local stews along with fresh bananas and pineapple. Throughout the drive, we were pulled over 6 times by the police on the side of the road for checkpoints, however none of these stops caused us problems. We probably alerted them due to our white skin, which also led to children running and waving beside our bus, yelling “muzungus” which is the word for white person/visitor here in Uganda. We arrived at our hotel where we enjoyed a game of ultimate Frisbee within the Messiah team prior to dinner. We discussed our plans for tomorrow over dinner and after enjoyed fresh mangos for dessert. We are excited for our time here in Soroti and cannot wait to see what God will do here within the next few days.

Messiah College Heads to Uganda!

A group from AROMA, A Revolution of Missional Athletes, from Messiah College has sent a team to Uganda and here is the line up:
Don Brenneman
Bryan Brunk
Bethany Brunk
Lara Stilwell
Mackenzie Clapper
Nikki Elsaeasser
William Franken
Tyler Goglio
Brittany Horst
Lucas Malmberg
Christina Prall
Joshua Thomson
Elizabeth Timmer
Sienna Wisse

Please be in prayer with us as they travel through Soroti, Uganda from May 18 through May 29!  

Friday, March 14, 2014

As one comes home, another goes...

We are so thankful that our team from Life Point Church made it safely home from Uganda to Wilmington, NC on Thursday.  We can't wait to hear from the team about what they did, learned, and saw.  Thank you all for your prayers while they were gone.  

But, in true Sports Outreach fashion, there is always something going on!  So, we sent out another team!!  Lipscomb women's soccer team headed to El Salvador today.  This is a huge team of 24; 21 girls from the team, Assistant Coach Chris Klotz, two ministry leaders from Charlotte, Brett McDonough and Eric Bernier and SOI Lynchburg's very own David Granada!  

The team has an amazing ministry filled with the Gospel, ministry to the children at Pedro Pablo Castillo School and Vito Gurato Orphanage, as well as lots of pick-up soccer games with the community.  The team will be busy to say the least.  

We appreciate all prayers for the team while they are in El Salvador, check back here for daily updates about the team's itinerary and schedule!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fourth Team in Three Months

Life Point Church Uganda Mission Is On Their Way...

Good Morning! 
Sports Outreach is so excited that our fourth mission team of 2014 is on their way to Uganda today.  We ask for prayer for safety of the team as they travel and for our staff in Uganda as they prepare for the team's arrival.  The team will have a long day and night of traveling, they will not actually arrive in Entebbe until tomorrow.  When they arrive they will stay for the night at Pope Paul IV Hotel and will move to Gulu for orientation with the Sports Outreach staff on Wednesday.  The team will be posting to the blog when they are able about their progress and the work they will be doing while they are there.  We hope you will follow their journey with us here.

Thank you in advance for your prayer and support for all of the following team members:

Aaron Talley, Team Leader
George Kapusta
Karen Kapusta
Jeff Kapusta
Alicia Brooks
Kaitlyn Brooks
Brittany Fennell
Brenda Starling
Craig Slagowski
William Hutchings
Scott Seibold
Mary Callagham
Sharon Rondeau
Cathy Thornton
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
~Matthew 28:19-20

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Look Back at the Brentwood Trip Blog