62 children and teenagers. Each had a different story of life on the streets of Kampala – life that was without family and may have included only a blanket and night of sleep inside a landlord’s (pimp) warehouse, if the child brought in enough money. One child was staying with supposed relatives who would beat him and make him go without lunch if he did not bring in $2 per day from begging. One boy lost his father, and then his own mother and aunt neglected him, sending him to the streets. Another boy’s uncle left him on the streets at the age of nine with the promise that his father, a motorcycle taxi driver, would come and pick him up. He never came… Instead, he got picked off the street by the police as they rounded up street kids to bring to a children’s center called UWESO—a type of half-way house started by the government to try to resettle street kids into their own tribal area.
Our worlds collided at Musana when UWESO sent these kids to us for a full week of camp. Like at all of our camps, the kids had an incredible time swimming, playing new games, and eating good food. Much more important than having a good time though, they were impacted by love…to hear about God’s love and plan for them and then to experience it through our staff. We rejoiced that over 15 of the older kids gave their lives to Christ as they heard the gospel message throughout the week. “Encountering Truth; Transforming Lives” – that is the heartbeat of Musana.
In the last 4 years
This past fall marked four years from Musana’s first camp and it is awesome to look back and see how far God has brought Musana from our simple beginnings. Kids from David Family at NHU’s Kasana Children’s Center can tell you how excited they were in September 2008 as they loaded in the back of a lorry and traveled the dusty, bumpy, over-six-hour journey to be Musana’s first campers. They fully enjoyed four days of camp in the bush all before a single brick was laid. They slept in tents, fended off the termites at night, fetched water from the stream, cooked over a fire, explored the forest, swam in the lake, and had a wonderful time.
Since that first group of 41, Musana has seen over 1,200 people come to the camp. We have partnered with churches and organizations working with orphaned, abandoned, rejected, and abused children from village settings to the streets of the cities. We now are able to comfortably host groups of 40, although our average group size typically reaches 50 participants! Our core staff has grown to three families and one single. Our whole staff has grown to over 20 total, including people from the community that come to work at Musana. In addition, we have been able to build different enterprises that help to feed our guests and offset operational expenses. The Lord has blessed this place!
The most exciting part of the growth of the camp is knowing that each person who has come to Musana (more than 500 in this past year!) has heard about Jesus Christ and has had the opportunity to begin a relationship with Him or grow in their relationship with Him. Many decisions have been made. The potential for Musana Camps that we saw in the beginning has been confirmed in the last four years. Christian camp ministry, though still new in Uganda, has endless opportunities.
Please be praying for Musana as we seek to further develop our biblical manhood and womanhood programs throughout this next year. Other areas we are focusing on in 2013 are completing more camper housing and bathroom facilities, finishing our clinic, and furthering our enterprise endeavors. Each of these areas will help us to bring the light of Christ to more people, whether through campers attending our programs or through community people receiving much-needed physical and spiritual care.
We look forward to seeing who God brings to us this year—from successful Kampala businessmen to hurting, but hardened street kids. We have the privilege of leading them to fresh encounters with their Creator, opening His Word of Truth to meet them in their place of need. And as lives are transformed in the safety of Musana Camps, our campers can go out and share about the One who transformed them to a watching world.
By Syd and Andrea Sparks, Musana Camps Manager (as published in the New Hope paper newsletter)
How U Can Help
• Please pray for our relationships with the people of Nalumuli (fishing village next to the Camp property).
• Our top two needs are to finish our clinic and find staff to run it and secondly to build cabins. Please pray that this will be enabled to happen.
• Please pray that we are able to continue to develop our manhood and womanhood programs.
• Water Infrastructure – $8,500
• Cabins – $11,000 each – 10 needed
• Toilets – $3,000 per set – 3 needed
• Picnic Tables – $175 each – 10 needed
• Kitchen Tables – $100 each – 4 needed
• Medical Clinic – $17,000 to complete.
To give a gift to Musana Camps, click here