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Encounter Fellowship

ENCOUNTER FELLOWSHIP

May 27 - July 26, 2019

Through a 9-week intensive experience in Uganda, our goal is for you to Encounter a deeper relationship with Christ by integrating into the mission and vision of Sozo Children in the culture of Uganda.

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WHY BECOME AN ENCOUNTER FELLOW?

Connect

Cultivate meaningful and lasting relationships with other Encounter fellows, short-term teams, the Sozo community, and most importantly Christ.

Serve

Experience biblical servanthood by placing the needs of others before your own to be the hands and feet of Christ in tangible ways, expecting nothing in return.

Support

Provide encouragement and assistance to short-term teams during nightly debrief, Sozo’s house parents with daily responsibilities, and our outreach efforts in the village community.

Grow

Become a life-long learner and live empowered to make a difference in your circle of influence and to the ends of the earth.

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WHAT YOU’LL BE DOING

Serve

Fellows will get to experience life in Uganda through serving alongside our house parents, assisting with specific construction projects for our village, and participating in community outreach efforts. Through these projects, fellows play a unique role as they have the opportunity to learn how Sozo is practically meeting the needs of our children and community.

Fellowship

You can look forward to building meaningful relationships among the Sozo community through nightly worship and debrief, weekly devotions with the children, intentional time alongside our summer teams, and a weekly bible study. Through each opportunity, fellows will begin to form deep and meaningful connections with those around them.   

Adventure  

At the end of the program, fellows will embark on an incredible two-day safari at Murchison Falls National Park! Each week fellows will also have a day off they can use to discover the beauty of Uganda. Some of these include visiting the equator, the zoo, crafts markets, and other fun activities.

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APPLY

The application process opens November 5, 2018
Applications close when program is full. Each year the fellowship is open to 8 exceptional individuals. 

Step One: Expectations

Read our general expectations before applying. These guidelines are meant to prepare fellows for what will be expected of them as they serve in Uganda.

 

Step two: application

Each applicant will answer questions regarding spiritual growth, service projects, and general passions. The application will also require a video introduction and written testimony.

STEP THREE: Interview

If you’re selected for an interview, you will be contacted to set up a time to speak with our Commissioning Coordinator.

COST

$3500* + airfare

*Includes lodging, meals, visa, insurance, supplies, safari, and transportation for all scheduled activities. Does not include personal items, airport expenses, and pre-departure medical expenses.    

Deadlines

Deposit ($250): Due within 2 weeks of acceptance
Travel Documents: March 1
First Payment ($2000): March 15
Team Forms: April 1
Final Payment: May 1

Minimum Requirements

+ Must be at least 18 years old (One year of college preferred)

+ Fellows must be in a committed relationship with Christ and seek to exemplify Him in all areas of life

+ Fellows must have relationships with spiritual mentors and demonstrate accountability through a community that encourages spiritual growth

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FELLOWSHIP FAQ

WHERE DO WE STAY?

Your security is our first priority. You will stay in a fenced and gated compound with at least one of our full time Uganda staff members. The guest house is split into separate rooms for men and women. Sleeping arrangements in each room will have a have a few twin sized bunk beds for fellows. There will be a kitchen, indoor plumbing, and a shower (usually with hot water).

WHAT DO WE EAT?

Fellows will eat traditional Ugandan food cooked by our staff every night. You will also occasionally eat at trusted local restaurants that serve American-style meals.

WILL THE TEAM TRAVEL TOGETHER?

Fellows will likely be flying from different areas of the United States and will meet in Amsterdam. All fellows will be on the same flight from Amsterdam to Entebbe. We try our best to book the team together on the same itinerary if possible, however, this is subject to availability. We can guarantee all fellows will fly from Amsterdam to Entebbe but cannot guarantee will leave the US together.

HOW DO WE TRAVEL ONCE WE ARRIVE IN UGANDA?

In order to ensure the safety of our trip participants, we use our own personal vehicles that are driven by Sozo staff. If our transportation is occupied for the day, we hire private transportation that is reputable and safe with drivers that we have built relationships with and trust.

WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS DO WE WORK ON?

Work projects are determined by the needs that arise, so it’s difficult to predict projects in the future. However, examples of projects you may work on would be organization within our homes, general upkeep of our homes, planting of crops on the land, building buildings and structures on Sozo’s land. Projects vary in terms of demand and required skill level – all fellows will be placed at projects that fit within their skill level and will be assisted by Ugandan staff and locals. All projects are designed to benefit and improve the physical surroundings of the children’s homes and village in which we serve.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE?

Fellows will begin their day with breakfast and morning quiet time. Our days are then spent in the village or around our land helping with specific projects while immersing into Ugandan culture. During the evening, we’ll have nightly worship and debrief with the current team and occasionally, we’ll join our kids for their nightly devotion. Fellows can expect to assist the team throughout their time in Uganda.

WHAT ADDITIONAL MONEY SHOULD I BRING TO UGANDA?

We typically suggest bringing $400-$500 dollars for any personal items and/or excursions.

Will fellows go through a training?

Yes. Prior to departing, each fellow will go through a short training with our Commissioning Coordinator to prepare for their departure. In addition, as soon as the fellows arrive in Uganda they will begin a one week extensive training with our staff to prepare them for the 8-week fellowship. The staff will cover policies, expectations, service projects and any other pertinent information fellows will need to succeed during their time in Uganda. During this week, short term team members will not be on the ground as we have reserved this intentional time for the fellows to adjust to their time in Uganda.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT REGARDING THE USE OF LAPTOPS AND INTERNET WHILE IN UGANDA?

Laptop computers and/or tablets are strictly prohibited during the fellowship. Once in country we will participate in a 2-week internet & social media fast. This time proves to be powerful as we dive intentionally into the new culture and spend extended times in the Word daily. Throughout the summer you can expect limited access to internet for blog posts, emailing home, etc. Cell phones are acceptable to bring, however Sozo Children is not liable for any broken or missing electronics during your stay.

CAN I RECEIVE LETTERS OR ITEMS FROM HOME?

We love when parents and friends send letters of encouragement to our fellows in the field! Sozo will collect pre-written letters for our fellows prior to the trip which will be distributed throughout the summer. Please have friends and family send sealed letters inside an additional sealed envelope to the Sozo Children office in Birmingham. Items will NOT be sent once the fellowship has started. Space is extremely limited and reserved for sending necessary supplies.

DO FELLOWS EVANGELIZE?

Sozo Children does evangelize in the surrounding community. However, we utilize our fellows in a support role to our Ugandan brothers and sister as they lead our evangelism efforts. Due to the language and cultural barrier in the communities we serve, we believe fellows are better used in the capacity to support our long-term efforts. We strongly desire and pray that each child and family we serve will come to know Jesus as his or her personal Savior and begin a relationship with Him. As such, we are very strategic in walking alongside these new believers in our community. Please respect this method of evangelism as we together watch the lives of our community transformed.

How does the application process work?

After reading the expectations fellows will submit the application which requires a 400-500 word written testimony and a 2-3 minute video introduction in addition to other questions regarding your spiritual growth, service projects, and general passions. After submitting an application, our Commissioning Coordinator will review your application in conjunction with our Chief Operations Officer and Chief Executive Officer. If you are selected for an interview, you will meet with our Commissioning Coordinator either in person or over a video call. Once you have completed an interview, we’ll proceed with checking references. If you are selected at this point, we’ll reach out and extend an offer contingent on a background check in which you have 2 weeks to register for the fellowship. Failure to register and pay the $250 registration fee within 2 weeks may result in removal as an accepted fellow.

DO I NEED A PASSPORT PRIOR TO APPLYING?

It is highly recommended that prior to applying, you either already have or are in the process of getting your passport. It usually takes between 4-6 weeks to receive your passport, but for an additional cost it can be expedited. Visit www.passports.state.gov for more information. We cannot book your flight until we have a copy of your passport in hand.

CAN I FUNDRAISE FOR MY FELLOWSHIP?

Yes! We highly encourage you to fundraise for your fellowship with Sozo. If selected, you will receive a social fundraising page you can use to share with your friends and family. You will also receive a great fundraising guide to assist you in fundraising ideas.

WHAT SHOULD I PACK?

You will receive a complete packing guide prior to your departure which will be uploaded to Managed Missions for your reference. For general clothing ideas, girls will need to plan to dress modestly by wearing skirts, loose fitting shirts, jeans or capris. The guys will wear shirts and shorts around the compound but plan to wear polos or button-up shirts and a pair of slacks to church or when doing door to door ministry.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN UGANDA?

In general, the temperatures during the day range from the mid to upper 70’s to the mid to upper 80’s. The temperature in the evening can drop into the mid 60’s during certain times throughout the year. The weather does vary a bit based on the season, but is hard to predict due to the seasons changing from the norm.

DO I HAVE TO APPLY FOR MY VISA BEFORE I TRAVEL?

No. The cost of the visa is included in the trip cost and our Commissioning Coordinator will apply for the entry visa on your behalf. Most often you will receive an approved electronic visa prior to departure, however, sometime we do apply for the visa upon arrival. In that case, the team leader will provide you with the cash for the visa fee.

DO I NEED A YELLOW FEVER VACCINE?

Yes! Uganda will only allow you into the country with proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination. When you get vaccinated for yellow fever, your doctor will fill out a yellow International Certificate of Vaccination. You will most commonly hear us refer to this as your “Yellow Fever card”. Yellow fever vaccinations can often be in short supply so please be sure to get this vaccination as soon as possible. You can find a clinic near you Here.

WHAT OTHER VACCINES/IMMUNIZATIONS SHOULD I RECEIVE?

Please refer to The CDC for the most current and up-to-date information regarding recommended and required vaccinations. Additionally, consult with your primary physician. We recommend being up to date on all routine vaccinations prior to travel.

DO I NEED TO TAKE MALARIA MEDICATION?

Absolutely! All fellows are required to take malaria prophylaxis during their time in Uganda. We recommend Malarone or Doxycycline, however, please consult with your physician for his or her recommendation.


REQUIRED READING

WHEN HELPING HURTS BY: STEVE CORBETT AND BRIAN FINKERT

Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good. But it looks ahead. It encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy—and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself. Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts provides proven strategies for effective poverty alleviation, catalyzing the idea that sustainable change comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out. 


FELLOWSHIP TESTIMONIES

Grey Price
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The summer that I spent in Uganda consisted of two of the most transformative months of my life and my walk with Christ. I was pushed to the edge of my comfort zone and learned how to extend patience and grace to myself and others in every situation. I loved deeply and served whole-heartedly, gaining a better understanding of the Father’s heart for us. I learned the value of vulnerability and the great reward that comes with opening up our lives and sharing the intricate details with my fellow interns - who became like my brothers and sisters. I learned how to find joy in every day routine - even if it just meant sitting with someone, detached from distractions, and talking about our life stories and how they intersected with God’s greater narrative. And overall, I learned that in order for God to use you, all you have to do is step out in faith and trust that He is in the details. I would absolutely recommend the Sozo Children fellowship to anyone!”
— Grey Price
Morgan Jones
If you are even questioning doing the fellowship, pray about it, and then if you feel God calling you to Uganda, do it. Spending my whole summer in Uganda with Sozo was the best decision I have ever made and I would do it over again 100 times. The relationships I formed with my group, the Sozo children, and the village children are ones that I will cherish forever. The Lord taught me so much about Himself and His creation. The Lord changed me from the inside out and I am forever grateful for the things that He revealed to me about myself in Uganda. The fellowship gave me memories that I will remember forever and the Lord was so good through it all.”
— Morgan Jones
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Abby Zajac
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My summer in Uganda with Sozo Children could not have come at a better time. I found a confidence in my walk of faith that I had never known before. Every day in Uganda is surrounded by faith, conversations about Jesus and the best worship experiences you will ever have. I find my self every day now wanting to spread the word of Jesus more and more, whether that looks like supporting a friend going on a mission trip or inviting a co-worker to church. Because of my 8 weeks in Uganda, from the things we did to the people we met, and the verses we studied and prayed over day in and day out, I’m now more comfortable talking to anyone about Jesus than I was before. You will never regret choosing to go to Uganda with Sozo, and I guarantee that you will be hoping and praying for a second chance to visit your home away from home in Africa after the best summer.
— Abby Zajac
Meghan Allen
Co-leading the summer program was an even greater joy than I could have anticipated. Although I had been to Uganda several times before, living there for two months was a treat because relationships didn’t just bud but had time to blossom. I relished in the opportunity to continue building a friendship with the Sozo child I sponsor and I savored living in community. It taught me so much about how God made each of us uniquely gifted and how to use those gifts to serve Him selflessly. We also had so much fun together—from countless van rides to making pavers and charcoal to riding bodas—we laughed a lot. Even more than the relationships with others though, God drew me closer to Himself. I saw God in the mundane like washing laundry in the village and the extraordinary like seeing the lions on safari. Miracles were tangible. Through the slower pace of life, God moving became more apparent. While eight weeks in Uganda seemed like both a long and a short time, the relationships built and the lessons learned remain. God was so good to me in Uganda this past summer.”
— Meghan, co-leader // summer 2018
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