At Sozo, our vision is to raise up our children to be the future leaders of Uganda, for the purpose of seeing the next generation of Ugandans become thriving leaders for Jesus Christ. As our mission says, all children thriving, all communities transformed, all for God’s glory—this is the goal we wish to see accomplished.
We seek to equip our kids in every way we can—relationally by modeling healthy friendship and family dynamics; mentally by giving them quality education that matches each child’s abilities, needs, and skill-sets; physically by providing medical care; spiritually by feeding them with the truths of the Gospel. Our goal is to furnish them for service or action so that they can accomplish their dreams and build the Kingdom.
As our kids grow and prepare to graduate from Sozo, we hope to not only provide for their current and immediate needs, but also to push them toward a successful future. Recently, we have been able to see the tangible effects of this desire through the efforts of two of our boys, Patrick and Badru: two of our oldest Sozo boys who have just transitioned from their Sozo home and into the busy world of real-life Uganda.
Patrick and Badru had two unique stories. Then, one day, their stories converged.
When Patrick was very young, he lost both his parents, an event that caused him to move in with his grandmother Jajja Gladys. As his sole caregiver, Jajja Gladys struggled to care for Patrick financially because of her dependence on external, unreliable resources to provide the food and care that the growing boy needed. Over time, it became apparent that she could no longer care or provide for Patrick, a fact that forced her to look for other options of care for him.
Just like Patrick, Badru had a difficult, tumultuous childhood as well. When he was young, he lived with his father—a relationship that over time proved unhealthy and abusive. After years of financial and emotional struggle, his father abandoned Badru, but ultimately what ended their relationship was the fact that Badru decided to follow Christ. Early on, Badru attempted to share his faith with his family (who are all Muslim), but he was denied and his father told him that he was no longer welcome in their own home. This has not stopped Badru from sharing the gospel.
Badru and Patrick were taken separately to Mercy Home of Children, an orphanage in Uganda. This was where the two hoped to find healing and rest, a place they could trust and find provision. This is where the two met and where they began to share a story. Over time, however, the children’s home proved to be unsafe as well. The haven that they expected to provide peace and hope became a place of unrest and abuse. Eventually the government intervened, closing the organization due to its corruption.
But these boys’ stories were not over.
In 2012, Patrick and Badru were moved from Mercy Home to Sozo, where both were enrolled in school. Sozo wanted to equip Patrick and Badru for work that would use their specific talents and gifts, a realization that began their plumbing education and apprenticeships.
Today, after having spent six years of training and preparing, Badru and Patrick are ready to transition into their adult lives.
“Tomorrow, we are shifting,” Badru said when reflecting on his graduation from Sozo. Both boys, now men, are leaving Sozo with dreams they are ready to pursue and have been equipped to follow, but both recognize the departure as bittersweet because of the love and experiences they have had here.
“I didn’t expect this, I didn’t expect to be who I am today. I am thankful for all of you and the impact you had on my life,” Badru said. “It’s a bit scary. But we started a good job, and now we finished it.”
That is the power of their determination, something they have been equipped to understand and pursue: realized passion and hope fulfilled.
Aside from receiving an education, aside from living in safety, aside from creating community and close friendships, the boys recognize that the most valuable gift they received from Sozo was an understanding of the Gospel.
“God is everything. In every situation, we have to lean on him. Now I don’t need to fear, because the Bible tells us to ‘be strong and courageous.’ We know God because of you guys. This is truth, this is love, this is life.” – Patrick
At Sozo, our goal is to empower vulnerable children to become thriving leaders for Jesus Christ. We believe we can do this by following the exhortations found in Ephesians 4:12-13: “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Equipping our children to become thriving leaders for Jesus Christ is what will transform community and give glory to the Creator. Witnessing Patrick and Badru’s stories of determination and hope gives us a tangible picture that God is faithfully working through the mission of Sozo, and so much of that is due to the support and prayers of you, our Sozo community.
We ask that you would continue to pray for Badru and Patrick as they step out into their new lives on their own two feet, that they would keep their eyes fixed on the Cross and that they would grow into strong, humble leaders in their communities.