Fred Osore dreamed of having an overnight camp on African soil ever since he observed FCA Camps held throughout the U.S. Always in close connection with the FCA Lacrosse staff in the States, Osore, who serves on staff with FCA Kenya, wanted to do something special. He invited FCA Chief Field Officer Dan Britton and longtime FCA Lacrosse partner Frank Kelly III to travel to Kenya and be a part of African history.
In August 2023, FCA hosted its first overnight camp in Africa, gathering 120 athletes throughout Kenya to learn the sport of lacrosse. Lacrosse was first played by Native Americans in the 1600s, and they referred to it as “the Creator’s game,” playing it to please the Creator. Playing to please the Creator was certainly seen throughout the four-day, three-night camp in Mumias that focused on skill development, scrimmaging, and integrating play and faith.
After practices, worship filled the evening and a pastor from a local church gave a message about knowing Jesus. On the evening of the altar call, 56 people stepped forward to give their lives to the Lord. Some Bibles were distributed, and a few days later, 27 athletes were baptized.
“It was really big for all the East African countries to see it is possible to do an overnight camp,” said FCA East Africa Regional VP Moses Muge.
FCA Lacrosse trailblazers Dan Britton and Frank Kelly III, along with their wives Dawn and Gayle, partnered with the young local leaders and served as coaches to inspire and encourage.
“We got there, and they had lined up Huddle leaders who have been a product of the ministry, athletes who went through the lacrosse programs when they were in high school,” said Britton. “They're now in college, so they're in their 20s, and they were coaching and leading the Huddles and having an impact. We had a chance to jump in and coach, but the local leaders were the ones leading it.”
Kelly has invested in lacrosse ministry in Africa for over a decade. His first introduction to the sport being played in Africa dates back to 2012, and he says one of his most impactful moments of the most recent trip came through the joy of watching young athletes play lacrosse despite the impoverished conditions where they live.
“To see the joy of these young people, despite many of them coming from severe conditions, was incredible. We took 17 large bags full of equipment—helmets, gloves, sticks, balls, cleats—that were distributed to several areas, and to see kids get new cleats and put them on and smile was awesome.
“They had a chance to connect with and enjoy the Creator,” Kelly added. “It was just really beautiful to see.”
For Britton and Kelly, camp brought their lacrosse history full circle.
“The cool thing is, Frank and I helped start FCA Lacrosse way back in the beginning in the early 90s,” said Britton. “For us, 30-year friends and our spouses, to get an opportunity to do this together and see how God used it, was incredible.”
In addition to top caliber coaching, the greater Kenyan community observed how Osore and his leaders approached the camp. “For the local staff, volunteers and all the staff to see our four FCA values of Integrity, Serving, Teamwork and Excellence in one place was huge,” said Muge.
For Osore, having a heart willing to hear and move where the Lord directs has given him great joy.
“The excitement of being used by God to be part of His plan for salvation for people, especially people from my own tribe and neighborhood, was amazing,” Osore said. “But God has always had this plan and He was just waiting for someone to partner with.”
Experiencing camp and the care Osore and his staff pour into their athletes, Britton echoed a similar sentiment.
“Part of it is you just have to show up,” he said. “We all want to see a miracle, but we’re not willing to put ourselves in a position to be part of that miracle. You need to put yourself in a position that you need God to show up, like traveling to Kenya, not knowing what God’s going to do, but be obedient to God and leave your comfort zone.
“Put yourself in a position to see God work.”
Want to see God show up in your life? Take a step of faith and see where it leads you. Consider supporting Fred and his ministry in Kenya or collect lacrosse equipment in your community and email FCA Director of International Advancement for the Southeast Central Region Swayze Waters at email@example.com to see how to send it over.
Photos courtesy of Fred Osore and Frank Kelly III