While the whole world is watching the COVID-19 epidemic unfold, I am reminded of these words:
“We look away from the natural realm and fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection.” Hebrews 12:2 TPT
We are approaching this time with our gaze fixed on Jesus, not on the natural realm. We are taking steps and precautions to protect what has been entrusted to us and doing so from a place of faith, not fear.
A core value of Sozo Children is to be child-focused. This means in every decision we make, the best interest of our children is our top priority. Two weeks ago, following a two month delay in the visa approval process, 14 of our Ugandan children along with Aggie, our Ugandan Child Development Director, arrived in the US to begin their 2020 choir tour. These precious kiddos worked for over a year to prepare their hearts and voices to bring the joy and hope of their Ugandan worship to our American brothers and sisters. Yesterday, in observance of federal, state and local agency warnings to best protect our children from COVID-19, we made the decision to pause our choir tour and move all of the children into one safe location on a multi-acre farm outside of Birmingham. Ron and I are staying with the children, along with Aggie and our chaperones, one of which is an RN.
On the farm our kiddos have plenty of space to run, play, enjoy meals together, share daily devotions, worship, and continue their education. We have an RN on the property and we have two physicians we are consulting with throughout their stay.
Our prayer is to keep the children healthy. Our hope is to be able to resume their choir tour but, for now, we are taking it one day at a time. Meanwhile, back in Uganda our other 111 children are doing well. Although Uganda has not been directly impacted by COVID-19, we are praying for their health and safety, preparing for the possibilities, and temporarily suspending all travel by any Americans to or from Sozo in Uganda.
Run for a Reason 5K
In alignment with the agency warnings mentioned above, our team made the decision to postpone our annual Run for A Reason 5K scheduled for Saturday, April 18th. We believe this is in the best interest of our children, runners, volunteers, staff, sponsors, and community partners. Sozo will work closely with the City of Birmingham to determine a possible date to reschedule.
Sozo Trading Co.
Finally, to best care for our employees, customers, and local neighbors, we closedSozo Trading Co.to the public through March 31st. We’ll continue to make donation pick-ups, and hope you will remember us if you take on some spring cleaning over the next few weeks! You can drop off at our donation bin outside the store at 4 41st Street S in Avondale or call us at 205-703-0553 to schedule a pick-up of items left outside your house. Even though we’re closing our doors temporarily, we hope to reopen with a fully stocked store, and you can help us make that happen! You can also shop our global handmade goods and new Halo boutique clothing and jewelry online at sozotrading.org. We’ll ship these items directly to you.
Because our mandate to care for those God entrusts to our care is very clear, these decisions were not difficult. However, these decisions do come at a cost. We incurred significant expenses to bring theSozo Choirto the US, and we are facing three months of lost income from performances to offset those expenses. Run for A Reason 5Kis one of our largest annual fundraisers, and Sozo Trading Co. provides sustainable revenue for Sozo Children. There are so many needs across the world right now, especially in light of COVID-19. You may have critical needs in your own family, church, and local community. This is not a request that overlooks those needs, but simply to acknowledge we are committed to faithfully fulfill our mission to empower 125 vulnerable children of Sozo, 14 of which are currently on US soil and the other 111 back home in Uganda, to become thriving leaders for Jesus Christ.
Our staff and children are praying for you and your families. Please keep us in prayer as we navigate these unprecedented times. I promise to keep you updated as our circumstances change. In the meantime, let’s all fix our eyes not on the natural, but on Jesuswho is leading us forward into faith’s perfection!
What you do matters!
Chief Executive Officer
205.208.0016 | email@example.com
P.S. If you have any questions or concerns about our way forward, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally via email or on my cell 205.401.8968.