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Are you a Runner?…Or a Camper? or..both?

Greetings to you on behalf of all the youth and staff of Soweto Youth Uganda.

As the snow melts, the sun shines, and new life sprouts in your territory, we’re trying to stay dry on this end!  We are smack in the middle of rainy season and has it ever been a wet one so far.  During this season it usually rains every early morning, watering the gardens and crops, but this season has been a bit more than watering…we’ve actually been getting ongoing downpours turning some roads into small streams, flooding people’s yards and ruining some crops.  However, we are thankful for the rain – soon enough we’ll be complaining of the dust!

Here’s an update of the happenings here in the ‘Pearl’.Maize harvest In October last year we began a new venture that has proven to be fruitful, or should I say cornful?!  We planted maize (corn) on a plot of land in a nearby village provided by our good brother, John.  Since then the Lord has watered the maize so we began the maize picking.It was a good time with a great harvest, unfortunately, our Pastor’s car (which we borrowed) broke down on the way back while (over)loaded with corn!  However, it gave us a bit of a break from the blistering sun while we waited for someone to help us repair the car.  Needless to say we had a good harvest and are now taking it for grinding which will become flour and will be used as food (called ‘poscho’ usually served with a bean sauce) for the youth at our youth centre, the young street children who gather with us once a week, and at our boys home.

We have since planted again and are waiting on the Lord to bring another harvest!  This has helped us reduce on the cost of buying it as we strive to some day become self-sustainable.


Camp is coming 2013 – “Rest, Reflect, Refresh, Renew” 2014 – “Connect. Abide. Grow” 2015 – “Nourish, Flourish, Thrive” What will 2016 be??  “Encounter Camp – ‘Break Free. Ignite.’”  Ok so if you haven’t figured out what I’m talking about let me tell you – Youth Camp!  This is one of the most exciting events we plan every year in Masaka and this year will mark our 4th annual youth camp – how time flies (especially on the Equator)!Needless to say, we are very excited for this years’ camp as we believe it will be a camp set apart from the rest.  We are expecting the presence of God to transform young people more than ever before!  And what a place to experience it – in an environment not disturbed by the outside world on the short of Lake Nabugabo.

The planning and preparations have begun, which include quite a large list of things.  Things like transport for 45 – 50 students (it’s a 40 minute drive on a terrible road), food (all meals for 3 days), cooking supplies and equipment, games and basic sports equipment, and other basic necessities.  Boys will be sleeping in tents which are thankfully provided by the Anglican Diocese owned facility called Lake Nabugabo Holiday Centre.  Girls will be sleeping in a small dormitory which actually used to be a lake house years ago.  The Centre charges 15,000 Ugandan shillings per person per night which totals to 30,000 for the weekend per person (approx. $12 per person).  That is approximately $600 for 50 people for the whole weekend (accommodation only).  In addition to accommodation, we shall need to rent a small bus from a fellow Christian organization from the US which costs about $80 (to pick up and drop off everyone), then food will also need to be bought – unfortunately, our corn won’t be ready by then!  The three day camp will cost approximately 2,000,000 Uganda shillings (roughly $800 CAD).

It sounds like a lot of money just for three days, but what I know is that you cannot put a price on the smiles, joy, and experience a young person has at camp in the presence of God.  In previous camps most young people have returned from the quaint and God-centred camp transformed and re-energized.  We are thankful that we have been able to host these camps for three years already and we trust that the Lord will continue to provide for every need for this life-changing experience.

If you’d like to help us cover some of these costs this year, please visit our website for more info or simply click HERE for your chance to Sponsor a Camper for $25 or click HERE to contribute ANY amount.  Thank you!

2016 SYF Youth Camp is coming! May 27 – 29, 2016. Sponsor a Youth Camper for only $25!

Uganda International Marathon 2016 On your mark. Get set. Go!  It’s that time of the year again – the Uganda International Marathon!  Some of you may remember last year, many of the young men from SYF participated in the very first Uganda International Marathon in Masaka.  It proved to be a great motivator for those who took part, giving them a new mind-set in goal-setting and not giving up.  Youth, at times, get so easily discouraged that’s why I believe such an event helps them to break out of that self-discouraging and sometimes self-destructive mindset.This year’s marathon will be on June 5, so many of the youth at SYF have begun training and actually some of them never stopped training since last year’s marathon in May.  Masaka has now become a magnet to all types who want to take part in this fun event.

Registration of participants has already begun as the big marathon weekend in June quickly approaches.  Local Ugandan participants do have to pay a fee of 10,000 Ugandan shillings, which most students at SYF don’t have that money to part with, however, they are chomping at the bit to run.  So far we have atleast 7 runners who wish to run, and the number keeps growing week by week…so, we are asking for your help!  We are giving you the chance to help these young people run the race by sponsoring a runner for only $20.  This will pay their registration fee which will seal their entry into the marathon and they’ll also get a 2016 Uganda Marathon t-shirt to wear and to keep!  Also, 10% of any funds we raise for marathon purposes goes to the Uganda International Marathon whereby they will put that money back into the community into other local projects that also develop and help Masaka.  In addition to all that, the sponsorship will also help us to balance other running expenses like buying shoes, water, and other things that may come up (which usually do!).  If we receive an excess number of sponsorships compared to the number of SYF runners don’t worry – any extra will go towards this years camp costs – already its a Win Win scenario!  So, if you would like to Sponsor a Runner for $20, please click HERE!  If you’d like to make a contribution of ANY size, please clickHERE.  Stay connected so we can send you some 2016 Marathon photos in June 🙂

Thank you for the support!

Well, I have so much more to share but I think I’ll stop here for today.  Please keep your eyes peeled for part 2 of this newsletter which will soon follow.  I’ll introduce you to a Godly young woman, Winnie, who is looking for our help as she embarks on an important life goal.  To learn more in the meantime, please visit our websitewww.SowetoYouthFellowship.org.

Also, we’ll update you with our latest ‘growing’ news as we look to the future and expand our team of staff at the SYF Youth Center!  For more info on Soweto Youth Fellowship, please visit us at www.sowetoyouthfellowship.org or check outwww.change2change.ca and follow the links.  You can also find us on Facebook!

We’re also running a GoFundMe Campaign raising awareness and funds about our Uganda Boys Home.  This small but busy home is in need, therefore, I encourage you to check it out by clicking here or the picture above, and share with your family, friends, and even on Facebook!

As we grow (beyond our means), I am reminded at how great leaders don’t allow circumstances to hold them back.  If we are to look at the great men and women of faith in the Bible, we must question ourselves on how much faith do we really have in our own lives.  Therefore, as a leader in this ministry, I boldly step out in faith following the path that the Lord is leading me through without any doubt.  However, as I do my best to follow His lead I cannot ignore your prayers, your love, and your support – thank you, yes YOU for each and every blessing you have sent our way, and thanks to our great and amazing God who never leaves us nor forsakes us!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, all the days of your life,

Kurt Petersen Executive Director Soweto Youth Fellowship (UG) / Change 2 Change (CA) e: kurt@sowetoyouthfellowship.org

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