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Watoto Children's Choir to perform at fundraiser

The Watoto Children's Choir will perform in Holmes County Friday and Saturday, June 23-24. The Friday concert will take place at Mt. Hope Auction and will also include a volleyball tournament and an ice cream social. The Friday concert will take place at Walnut Creek Mennonite.

Submitted

Few things can match the joy of putting a smile on the face of an orphan and giving them hope. Through Watoto, the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of orphaned children in Uganda, Africa is an easy donation away, and people from throughout Wayne and Holmes counties will have an opportunity to experience the joy and hear stories of some of those children when the Watoto Children’s Choir visits to perform during a fundraiser in Mt. Hope.
The upcoming Watoto fundraiser will take place Saturday, June 24 at the Mt. Hope Event Center, and the event will bring clarity to what the organization is doing to change lives in positive ways. It will also serve as a major fundraiser for the organization.
The day at Mt. Hope will include a volleyball tournament as part of the fundraising activities. To register a team or for any questions regarding the tournament contact Syl Nisley at 330-231-7490.
The big draw for the night will be a concert by the Watoto Children’s Choir at 6 p.m. The Watoto children put on a high-energy, uplifting concert that is inspirational and represents the joy the children have found in life through the efforts of the Watoto mission.
Immediately following the concert there will be an ice cream social to cap off the evening.
There is no admission fee for the concert but there will be a free-will offering taken to support the mission, and all proceeds benefit Watoto Childcare Ministries. 
Eugene Stutzman, Watoto executive director in Florida, began his experience with Watoto when he made a mission trip there with his wife Glenda. After witnessing the impact the organization was making, they made a commitment to serve there, and led the children’s choir from 2006-2008.
“It’s an amazing worship experience,” Eugene Stutzman said. “The music is a mix of traditional and contemporary African music. I think people will be surprised because it is more contemporary than people think. That reflects the move to more modern contemporary music in Africa right now.”
As for the testimony of the children, he said those stories are heartwarming and are perfect examples of how Watoto is making a huge impact.
“It is exciting to see these young children get a chance to live productive lives,” Stutzman said. “There is such great potential there to develop leaders in Uganda. And there is a real sense of the peace of God in the Watoto village, compared to elsewhere in Uganda. The youth are happy, they have a sense of purpose and they are going to school to learn. It is truly inspiring.”
The Watoto mission is a ministry to orphans and widows in Uganda, Africa. The story of Watoto is one of hope, transformation and empowerment that began in 1994, and since then it has enabled thousands of disadvantaged children and adults to regain control of their lives and to realize their potential.
Watoto Child Care Ministries has cared for more than 4,000 orphaned and vulnerable children since it was established, with more than 3,000 youngsters currently receiving care. Some are former child soldiers and some were born to rebel leaders during the civil war.
The growth and empowerment Watoto has created in these children is immense, with many of these children having gone on to become lawyers, teachers, computer scientists, journalists, farmers, doctors and many other useful professions. As a result of the care and education they have received, they are now impacting society in a positive way.
Vernon Mullet has ventured to Africa on several occasions to join the Watoto mission, and he said the experience is one that not only benefits the children, but has a major impact on those who serve.
“It is amazing to see the way this ministry has changed lives,” Mullet said. “They have a totally new outlook on life, and you will see and hear that through their testimony and in their music at the concert. The program will bring to life what Watoto is doing to make a difference, and it will definitely touch hearts. It has impacted my life greatly, to see the incredible changes that have taken place in the lives of all of those children.”
Those who have experienced the transformation in Uganda will testify that putting smiles on faces and hope in the lives of the orphans is exciting and meaningful. That is why this fundraising event has such a deep, meaningful purpose.
While the children are often the focus of the Watoto mission, the organization is intent on turning its attention to building up the entire family structure.
Through Living Hope, Watoto comes alongside some of Uganda's most vulnerable women to embrace and empower them, so that they can begin to engage their children and their community. As a result, not only do these women benefit, but their children also benefit as they are nurtured, educated and empowered to reach their full potential.
The Watoto model is designed to provide vulnerable women and children in Africa with holistic care and to impact communities in the process. The model involves physical care, medical intervention including HIV/AIDS treatment, education - formal and vocational, counselling and emotional well-being as well as moral and spiritual discipleship.
Through a program called Father’s Heart, men are being encouraged to commit themselves to becoming father figures and positive male role models to a specific Watoto home. They visit whenever they can to help the children with their homework, to play with younger children and to disciple the older boys.
While some are called into the mission field to pick up their roots and go serve in Africa, not all receive that call. However, through financial support, compassionate people can give to this incredible mission and help make a difference. Through the giving of many, Watoto is touching lives and impacting a nation as it continues to build relationships and more importantly, is helping these youngsters build a desire to return to their native land and make a difference.
“Watoto has raised a generation of children who have a deep desire to return to where they grew up in poverty to step in and make a real difference in the lives of others in their communities,” said Mullet. “They are learning, growing and helping to create positive changes.”
In addition to the concert in Mt. Hope, the group will also perform at Walnut Creek Mennonite Church Friday, June 23 at 6 p.m.
For more information on how Watoto is impacting the lives of these children, visit the website at: www.watoto.com.

Published: June 15, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170619970