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sports outreach

i n s t i t u t e

GIVE their lives . . .

them hope . . .
What goes deepest to the heart
goes widest to the world.
I can no longer remember where I first heard the quote,
“What goes deepest to the heart goes widest to the world.”
Jesus spoke of this in Luke 6:45 – “The good man brings
good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the
evil man brings evil out of the evil stored up in his heart.”

We all know the television commercial from Capital One

that asks the question; “What’s in your wallet?” I would like
to ask each of us: “What’s in your heart?”

As we approach the Christmas season we will soon begin to

see the cards with the angel Gabriel visiting Mary, as well as
the cards with images of the shepherds visiting Mary, Joseph
and baby Jesus. These cards all proclaim biblical phrases like;
“Mary, you have found favor with God,” or “they hurried
off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying
in a manger.” But what intrigues me is the verse in Luke that
is often ignored by Hallmark; Luke 2:19 states that after the
shepherds left to go tell others; “Mary treasured up all these
things and pondered them in her heart.” She was trying to
understand the meaning of the events that had occurred in
relationship to the prophecies of the Old Testament and of
the angel who had visited her months before. She was trying
to understand what was going on both in and around her.
An understanding is nothing more than a mental construct,
an abstraction made by the human mind to make sense of
many distinct pieces of knowledge. Mary knew that she and
Joseph had been blessed – and she pondered in her heart
how best to share this precious gift with the world. In her
heart! What do we ponder in our heart? Why does it matter what fills our heart? Remember, “What goes deepest to
the heart goes widest to the world.” (Earl F. Palmer)

Ministry to HIV Mothers

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly
we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
I first met Mary when Franklin Shelimba, the head of Sports Outreach staff in Nairobi, Kenya and Carol, the Sports Outreach
Coordinator of Ministry to HIV/AIDS Infected Heads of Households, took me and a few other visitors from the USA to Mary’s
house. Her house reflected everything that I found uncomfortable about the Mukuru slum: it was noisy, as she was next door
to a bar that sold moonshine and played loud rap music; it was smelly, as she lived in a low lying area that flooded when
it rained and her home filled with raw sewage; it was hot, as the shelter was made of tin sheets and had no windows for
ventilation; it was uncomfortable, as all seven of us tried to force ourselves into the 8X8 single room dwelling, and, to further
complicate things Mary, herself, was infected with HIV/AIDS. After a brief introduction by Carol, Mary was invited to share
her story.
Mary was infected with HIV by her husband almost seven years ago. Mary knew that she should be tested but feared ostracism.
Within a few months of his diagnosis Mary’s husband simply abandoned the family.
When Mary learned that she was HIV infected she turned to her friends and her pastor for guidance. Mary was not ready
for what happened next. Her friends rejected her, fearing that being in the same room would result in their being infected or
that they might lose their jobs or income as a result of associating with a HIV infected individual. Unfortunately, her church
also rejected her as Mary was told she had been cursed by God. The children suffered abuse and ridicule from other children
and life quickly went from hard to almost impossible for Mary. Although surrounded by over 600,000 people in the slum of
Mukuru, she was alone, isolated and forsaken.
By the spring of 2006 Mary was spiritually dry, believing that God had abandoned her. Once a month she would go to a local
clinic to get her free medicine. Those visits were uneventful as the HIV counselors had little to offer in the form of advice. One
bright spot was that people at the clinic did speak to her and over time she developed a friendship with another HIV infected
lady, Zola.
One day Zola told Mary about Franklin, a man from Sports Outreach who with his wife and another woman named Carol had
befriended Zola and even visited her in her home, right in front of the neighbors! Zola then invited Mary to a meeting that
coming Saturday for any HIV infected women who were interested in finding out more about Sports Outreach and possibly
joining a support group. The basic goals of the Sports Outreach program were simple (1) provide assistance with monthly food
allowances, (2) assist the children of HIV infected women with tuition grants for school, (3) develop and direct small groups
that would meet weekly to support, encourage, pray and assist one another and (4) explore the possibility of using small finance
loans to help groups of HIV infected ladies start their own micro-enterprise.
Mary went to the meeting and was so encouraged that she took Franklin’s challenged to heart to reach out to other HIV
infected mothers in the community.
I have been back to Nairobi many times since my first visit to Mary’s house and on almost every occasion I have taken the
opportunity to visit with her. A lot has changed:
Mary and her two children have moved into a larger house that does not flood with sewage when it rains.
Mary and Zola started a micro-enterprise with 3 other ladies making jewelry (I have samples in the Virginia office if you
want some) to help raise money for their children’s school fees and food. The business is doing well.
Mary has gone back to church and is growing deeper in her faith.
Mary and the group she joined meets once a month with 75 or more other HIV infected women that are part of the
growing ministry of Sports Outreach to HIV/AIDS Infected Heads of Households.

But just a few months ago I was surprised by another development in Mary’s life. I was again in Nairobi with a team of visitors
at the Sports Outreach office for prayer and fellowship. Mary asked if we could do something for her.
Mary told us about a young neighbor, a man named Jackson, who was sick needed prayer. We followed Mary to his home
and found ourselves in a small room with absolutely no furniture, and there on the damp dirt floor lay a man, half naked,
shivering and sick. Jackson, has tuberculosis and had been living with two brothers who had decided that Jackson had become a
burden so they beat him, stripped him of all but his shorts and took all the furniture, food and belongings. Mary was informed
of the situation and she and her children had started to share some of their food and water with Jackson. I asked Mary if she
was related to Jackson. She said no, but that he was one of the people who had ridiculed her and tried to drive her out of the
community when he learned she was HIV infected. She went on to say that she used to hate him because of the way he treated
My next question was: “Mary, why are you asking us to pray for this man who was so cruel to you?” She smiled and said;
“Because he needs prayer and I need to learn to forgive.” I was stunned. Mary went on to say that she and her group were
determined to help care for Jackson and had started a collection to buy him a bed. The visitors soon volunteered the funds
necessary to buy a bed. We all prayed and then went to buy a bed and mattress for Jackson.
The following week I was back in Nairobi. Carol, Franklin and I were greeted at the office by Mary, she had heard I was back in
town, and wanted me to go pray for Jackson again. I was not prepared for what I found. Instead of a half naked man lying on
a cold, damp dirt floor, I found a man propped up on pillows in his bed! The bed had clean sheets that the ladies had provided!
The once barren room now had a chair, small table and a proper door. The room had been transformed into a home, Jackson
had clothes.
I am not sure who cried the most, me or Jackson as he told me how much he had been helped by those he once tormented.
He prayed with me this time thanking God for these ladies and their extraordinary kindness. As we prayed at least ten others
came by to thank Mary and Carol for the witness of Sports Outreach in their
community. It was during one of those visits that I heard the Scriptures come
to life. One of the visitors, a man, said to Mary; “For months I thought you
were just another HIV/AIDS person who was going to die and pass on your
sickness to others. Maybe even me. But you are not just someone who is
sick; you are someone who is bringing hope and love to this place. Thank
you for helping this man and helping all of us see how to help one another.”
Next, we were all blessed to hear Mary quote the very scripture memory
verse Carol had shared with the support group the previous Saturday:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” [2 Corinthians 4:16]
Please pray for Carol, Mary, Zola and all those involved in the HIV Infected
Heads of Households Ministry of Sports Outreach. Pray for wisdom and
strength as they strive to model the love of Christ and build communities of
care and compassion
Feeding Program
“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”
2 Corinthians 4:1
The Good News Football Club (GNFC) is a group of 14 highly trained sports
ministers and soccer players that work in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Four
members of the GNFC work daily in a particular slum known as Katwe. It is a large
slum and the guys work diligently to provide a daily feeding for a large number
of children. Last month I visited Katwe with one of those GNFC members, Rony
Mukasa. As we walked Rony shared about his upcoming wedding, as well as his
love for his work. I could tell Rony was tired and so I asked him what it felt like
to go into the slums everyday and see so much suffering.
Rony gave me a smile and said “Sir, I am grateful that I get to come back to
Katwe everyday. This is where I have been called to serve. One day I will not be
able to play football anymore, one day I pray God gives Rachel and me children,
one day I may even not be able to come and share food with the children. But at
the end of the day (that is Rony’s favorite phrase) I know that the things I have
done in Katwe have and will make a difference in the life of others.”
“That’s great,” I said; “but don’t you get tired? Aren’t there times that you feel
discouraged?” Rony laughed (sorry you don’t get to see Rony laugh because it
is contagious and full of joy), and said “No, I am never discouraged when I am
doing what God has called me to do! And he has called me to feed His children
and help the poor. I love this ministry and I love the people in Katwe!”
After a few minutes of silence Rony added a few more thoughts. “The food is important but it is not the only thing,” he
said. “No, we help these children and their families build healthy relationships, encourage them to go to school, teach
them the Word of God and model what it is to be a Christian.” He’s right. The feeding program meets an immediate and
crucial need but it also provides the opportunity to do so much more.

“...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12
Sportsbridge is the unique ministry arm of Sports Outreach that collects new and used sports equipment, clothing, household
items, educational materials as well as Bibles and Christian Education materials in the United States and ships them to the needy
in Africa. This year we are sending five large containers to our friends and staff. In July a 40 foot container that was shipped
from Portland, Oregon arrived in Nairobi, Kenya. Packed by groups of volunteers under the direction of SOI staff members Don
Brennemen and Les Forney, the container was placed in the parking lot of Deliverance Church.
The Kenyan staff started unpacking and distributing the contents soon after it arrived. Within a few days objects from the
container had: outfitted several teams of youth playing in the soccer league sponsored by Sports Outreach; helped re-supply
the kitchen in the Mukuru slum where hundreds of children are fed each day; provided clothes and shoes for many who live in
that same slum; equipped many new Christians with their first Bibles and built up the resource library of the staff with teaching
videos and discipleship materials.
I know this is not the most exciting thing to read about. But Sportsbridge changes lives as it relieves physical suffering and
hardship, brings smiles and excitement to children who have never had their own clothes,
toys, uniform or soccer ball and helps to equip our staff and church leaders. Pastor Oscar
works at the Deliverance Church and serves on the Advisory Board for Sports Outreach
Kenya. One Sunday, in August, following worship Pastor Oscar, Franklin and I were standing
near the still half full container. As we visited with one another, a group of children walked
by each was wearing a ‘new’ shirt that sported the logo of a soccer team in Portland! I must
say they looked smart as they headed to Sunday school class. Pastor Oscar noticed them and
said; “there goes a reminded of the kindness and compassion of the people in America.”
Please continue to pray for Sportsbridge and the many that support it by donating new and
used articles of clothing, shoes and sports equipment. The container sent to Kenya cost over
$9,000.00 to buy and ship – but it contained over $345,000.00 worth of goods
Mark Carr Memorial
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ,
God forgave you.” Matthew 11:29
In May of 2006, the Lord called Russell Mark Carr, the oldest son of Sports Outreach
founder and president, Russ Carr and his wife Sue, to his eternal home in heaven. Mark
was fifty-two years old had been disabled from birth but lived a full and productive life.
Mark’s sister, Jill Goughnour, on learning of Mark’s passing, wrote; “Mark never knew a
day in this life that was free from limitations, and yet while he wished he could be whole
like other people, he never complained. He started where he was and followed God with
a humble and obedient heart – a childlike heart. In so doing, he exampled that no life is
unusable, but rather, has much to give – just as he did for us. Just as he did for so many
others. Mark taught us that the only limitations in anyone’s life are the ones we choose to
hang on to.”
Upon hearing of Mark’s death, the children of the Kampala School for Physically
Handicapped sent a fax to the Carr family and the Sports Outreach staff; “Though at a
distance, we always felt that he (Mark Carr) was one of us and hoped that one time he
would come over and we would share even a lot. In a way we understood each other.
Even today we have not lost this hope, for on that day when ‘God shall wipe away all
the tears from our eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain…’(Rev. 21:4) we shall be forever more with Mark and share and talk for eternity.”
Mark was a friend of the Kampala School and took it upon himself to pray and write letters of encouragement to the children
there. He could identify with them and used that connection with his talent and passion for writing to share his love for the
This special school provides normal educational programming, opportunities for vocational training in computer software,
tailoring, gardening, screen-printing, cookery, crafts, tie-dye, knitting and poultry keeping as well as providing office space for
Sports Outreach Ministry, Uganda and the Good News Football Team to gather daily for Bible study and planning. In return
Sports Outreach provides sports therapy for the children and leadership for a daily Chapel service. It is a wonderful relationship!
Mark Carr contributed much to the Kampala School during his life and it is the desire of Sports Outreach Institute and the Carr
family that this legacy would continue. Funds collected in honor of Mark will be used by the school for staff development and
training as well as a yearly essay-writing scholarship program.

Micro-Finance Ministry
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
Sam, Moses and Wills are three more members of the GNFC in Kampala who minister and serve in the Nateete slum. In August,
walking through Nateete with three friends from the States, Sam took us to a small room and opened the door to a new micro-
enterprise dedicated to helping children and young adults in Nateete.
We entered a relatively small room with a few counters, a table, two chairs and what looked like an old refrigerator. Sam invited
us in and introduced us to several boys who were busy mixing cake batter and pouring it into small baking tins. One of the
young men opened the refrigerator and to my surprise I discovered that it was in fact a baking oven. The old refrigerator had
been modified and was now used to bake cakes!
The boys told me that they were in the third week of a six week course in baking. Each
had been forced to drop out of school due to lack of funds, but now, were being given
vocational training by Sports Outreach. Several of them were former street kids who had
survived by stealing and begging. Sam and Moses had taken them off the street, given them
a place to stay, and now were teaching them bakery skills.
Upon completion of the baking course, the young men will be given a small loan to help
them start their own business. In the meantime, each morning is spent baking and delivering
product. The afternoons are used to teach business and marketing skills.
I am convinced that Nateete is a better place because of the work of the GNFC. Life is hard
in Nateete and it will continue to be hard. The young men involved in the baking class will
face many challenges, but, they will not face them alone. Sam, Wills and Moses are there to
share the burden as well as bring the promise of a better day.
Good News Community Center - Gulu
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:29
After months of planning and meetings with local officials and committees—Sports
Outreach has been given official approval to move forward with the construction of
the Good News Community Center!
The total site will be developed in three stages. Construction of the Administrative
Block and Chapel as well as the house for Aloysius and Esther are already in progress
and in need of your prayers and support. Phase One includes:
Administration Building with a Chapel and multi-purpose room; Vocational
training classrooms and storage; Day Care Center; Manager’s house for Aloysius
& Esther Kyazze; Two full size soccer fields; Recreational space for smaller soccer
fields, net ball and playground; Further development of farming and animal
science programs; Wells for irrigation and drinking water; Road improvements;
Toilet facilities.
Will you prayerfully consider supporting the building of Phase One of the Good
News Community Center? The needs of Northern Uganda are staggering – only God
could call us and direct us to the completion of this task. Aloysius, SOI and the people
of Northern Uganda need your prayers and, if possible, your financial gifts. Help us
build towards a future of peace, love, education, vocational training, discipleship and
healing. This land and these people have suffered and labored for decades! I believe
that the Lord is preparing a harvest that is beyond our comprehension.
Thank you for your love, care, and compassion for the people of Northern Uganda

Andrew Popp Tuition Grant Program

“... turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding.”
Proverbs 2:2
Almost five years ago a young hungry young boy named Ivan showed up at one of the Sports Outreach feeding program sites
in Kampala. Like all the other children, Ivan was invited to participate in a soccer game or other sports related activities. Unlike
most of the children, Ivan refused to join in and simply sat on the sidelines. One of the GNFC members, Robert Katende, went
over to visit with Ivan and discovered that the young boy had no real interest in sports. A few minutes later Ivan willingly joined
Robert in a Bible sharing time, enjoyed his meal and left. The next day Ivan was back, sitting on the sidelines, so Robert again
engaged him in a conversation before the meal and discipleship training. This went on until one day Ivan volunteered to read
the Scripture passage before Robert led a group of young boys in Bible study. Robert was both pleased and surprised to hear
how well Ivan read, as many of the children in the feeding program have never attended school. A little later Robert asked Ivan
why he was at the field everyday and not in school. As Robert had suspected, Ivan was not in school because his mother could
not pay the tuition. Within a few weeks Robert visited Ivan’s home, spoke with a few of his former teachers and submitted the
forms necessary for Ivan to be considered for an Andrew Popp Tuition Grant.
Several years ago, members of the Santa Barbara, California community started the scholarship fund to honor the memory
of Andrew Popp, a talented young man who died just after completing high school. Sports Outreach receives funds for the
program and the staffs in Kenya and Uganda distribute the funds to worthy recipients.
Robert also invited Ivan to join the group that he was coaching in chess each afternoon.
Within a few days Ivan began to display remarkable skills in the game of chess. Ivan is now
the number one player for the Sports Outreach chess team and has been selected to be
part of the Ugandan National Chess Team. A few months ago Ivan led a team comprised
of children from the slums to a victory over the university teams in Uganda. Ivan has also
excelled in the classroom.
Ivan is just one of many who have benefited from the Andrew Popp Tuition Grant Program.
I was with Ivan at his secondary school in June and he shared how thankful he was for the
Popp family and scholarship fund that has given him the opportunity to study. As we talked
I could not help but notice Robert, smiling and nodding his head in agreement.
Vocational Training
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”
Colossians 3:23
Eight years ago Simon was kidnapped by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA)
in Northern Uganda and carried off to the Sudan. After months of training
and brain-washing Simon was transformed from a fun-loving child of 10 to
a trained, vicious killer. For over three years Simon fought alongside other
child soldiers in the LRA, kidnapping other children, and living in the most
horrible of circumstances.

Simon was wounded in a gun battle with the Ugandan army in the fall of
2003. Abandoned by the other members of the LRA Simon was found and
sent to a hospital in Gulu, Northern Uganda. After treatment for the wound,
Simon was sent to a World Vision Center for Reclamation, a place where
former child soldiers were treated and counseled. After a year there Simon,
no longer wanting to return to the LRA, too old to be returned to school (he
was now almost 18), and unwanted by his parents and family was released
to the care of a local pastor.

The pastor took Simon and introduced him to the Sports Outreach staff leader
in Gulu, Aloysius Kyazze. For over seven years Aloysius had worked with
former child soldiers and severely traumatized youth in Gulu. Recognizing
the special needs of Simon, Aloysius agreed to accept him into a vocational
training program. Simon was partnered with four other young men in need of vocational training and together they
were instructed in how to make and construct buildings with compressed earth block. Simon has some natural leadership
ability, as well as a keen mind. Soon he emerged as the leader of the team. Simon and his group finished the program
and now have a very marketable skill. Fortunately, for Sports Outreach, Simon has remained in contact with Aloysius,
making bricks to be used in the construction of the Good News Community Center, as well as training other young men
in this valuable skill.

Simon got married a few months ago and has plans to secure a small micro-finance loan of $1,400.00 to be used to buy
his own compressed earth brick-making machine. Once the machine is secured, Simon will be able to employ four others
as well as support his family and contribute to the construction of the Good News Community Center in Gulu.

Sports Ministry
“... I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
I Corinthians 9:22

“Every Saturday morning Charles is the most popular man in Mukuru!” Arthur said with a big smile. We were standing on
the sidelines as the Saturday morning league run by Sports Outreach in this Nairobi slum was getting cranked up. There
are 54 teams and over 800 children and youth. Unlike leagues in America that have Boards of Directors, lots of volunteer
coaches and assistants, and in some cases a league commissioner – the Sports Outreach
league in Mukuru has only Charles. But man, are we lucky to have him.
Charles recruits and trains coaches, officials and team leaders, schedules countless
matches, distributes balls and uniforms forwarded to him by Sportsbridge, organizes
and runs several special tournaments each year, and disciples hundreds of kids each
It was fun to stand on the sidelines and see the crowd of kids follow Charles around.
They love this man and he loves them. Franklin Shelimba, the Sports Outreach team
leader in Nairobi once commented, “Charles can get more kids involved and organize
matches and sports ministry better than anyone I have ever met.”
How Can You Help?
The stories I’ve shared are all about individuals involved in the
work of Sports Outreach. Individuals who freely share the love,
compassion, mercy and grace that is stored up in their hearts.
Each has allowed their lives as well as their hearts to be filled
with the love of Christ. This love is daily poured out in practi-
cal, burden-lifting ways.

What do you know of the love of God and the gift of His Son?
How have you reacted to the stories in this letter? How does
this all help us to “understand” God’s purposes for us and our
relationships with others?
What’s in your heart?
I would like to challenge each of us to prayerfully strive to fill
our hearts with that same love, mercy, compassion and grace.
Let us all ‘ponder in our heart’ how to use part of that which
God has blessed us with to help the ‘poorest of the poor’ and
to bring the gospel message of salvation and hope to the lost
and hurting.

Would you please pray for the ongoing work of Sports Outreach
and its dedicated staff? Would you consider supporting the work
and the staff with a financial contribution? If so, please take a
few moments to fill out the enclosed response card indicating
the particular area of the ministry you wish to support.

Thank you for your continued encouragement, support and


Sports Outreach Institute Organization
P.O. Box 11855 U.S. Postage
Lynchburg, VA 24506 PAID
Lynchburg, VA
Permint #260

Sports Outreach Institute, Inc. is chartered in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
All gifts and contributions to Sports Outreach Institute are tax-deductible as allowed by the Internal Revenue Service.