Blessing through the S4J Challenge on 1 May 2020

On 1 May 2020 you will have an opportunity to bless the people of Sudan and South Sudan through the S4J Fundraiser Challenge. Details to enter below.

The S4J serves the people of Sudan and South Sudan through, among other, four projects. These include: 1. Access to clean water. 2. Basic care and education for children. 3. Eye surgeries. 4. Bibles. These projects developed through ongoing partnering relationships with both quality field partners and local partners in Sudan & beyond over many years. More info on S4J projects here and here.

To do the S4J fundraiser challenge you have to EITHER: do a ONE-hour fitness activity OR: do a 5 km / 10 km or 15 km run. This Friday would be the first day that people in South Africa would be allowed to run outside their properties under specific regulations that will be published by the SA Government this coming Thursday. Link to the events page.

Blind Sakkie Parson is going to do an hour on his treadmill.
David and Dianne Condron is going to do it from the USA.

One of the ways you could contribute to the S4J projects, is through our page on BackaBuddy. Link to S4J on BackaBuddy.

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Vision 2020: S4J Projects

This forms part of a series of articles on the S4J. This is article 1 of the series.

The S4J team is super excited about what 2020 might hold. We aim at the start of this year to share a vision on a couple of aspects through which we trust that both the S4J family of athletes and supporters and those in the Sudans that we partner with, would be blessed.

S4J vision 2020 (1): Projects

We’re continuing with the FOUR projects established during the S4J 2019 year. Below these are just briefly mentioned to refresh our collective memory thereof. All of these projects are done in partnership with quality field partners. Working with and through them greatly increases the S4J team’s capacity to deliver support to where it’s really most needed. On our own, this work would simply NOT happen. The S4J STRONGLY believes in the value of partnering.

The Beja Peoples Project

In this, we focus on corrective eye surgeries among the Beja people.

The Bibles for the Sudans Project

We aim to fund at least 20000 Bibles during this year.

S4J Bibles Project

The S4J Children’s projects

This is focussed on children’s education in both South Sudan and Sudan.

From our partner at the New Life Ministry children Centre – South Sudan, we’ve received the following e-mail on Monday this week:

“Good morning. I hope you are both doing well. I’m thankful for this news. It’s my hope that this would be a new way for these vulnerable children to continue with their education and good living in the center without so much worry because the small blessing you are both giving it does really make so much difference again with hope for their future.

I’m so very much appreciating the funds you are giving, it’s not easy but it’s through your hard-working with love in you wanting to bring the change in these children’s lives. 

 I’m also looking forward to doing this work with you and to be giving you all the stories you might want to make this possible, with also hoping to receive you and share with you in the compound later in the future to see how God has blessed those orphans’ children in all these many years, and I will make sure the report you needed it’s also done and send to you in every time you want I promised.”

In the North, from Port Sudan, we’ve received this and much more. We’ve been heavily involved in supporting Christian education at Port Sudan before and would love to take up this challenge again. The school with which we partnered is under new management. That is very encouraging.

Water for THE Sudans Project

On the pic below is Eddie at the borehole sponsored by the S4J in Nimule. Sorry to mention that Eddie is no longer a full-time member at S4J. He still volunteers at the S4J with a grateful heart. We’re for now still connected with partners International Aid Services and still at Nimule in South Sudan through water filters.

Let’s take hands in making this vision a reality.

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It’s going to be a HOT summer! How to run in the “HOT”

I am sitting here in the SSNET offices looking out of the window and thinking: “How do you train in this weather? How do you breathe?”

Since I have not run for a while I would not know! ha ha

Here are some tips that I thought would assist all our brave S4J family runners when running in the Gauteng heat (Courtesy Runner’s World):

  • Even when it’s cool enough that you’re barely sweating, your muscles are getting less oxygen and therefore are less efficient—an important factor in longer races.
  • Instead of avoiding heat during training, help your body adapt to it. Within a short time your system will become more efficient, as it learns to anticipate the rise in core temperature.
  • When heat and humidity start to creep higher, it’s best to slow down. Your performance relative to the competition will often be better (though slower) if you remain conservative.
  • If you are working on acclimating to warm temperatures expected on race day, remember to back off two days prior to the competition to make sure you’re not overstressing your body.
  • Hydrate wisely and don’t create dangerous imbalances by not using the right electrolyte supplements. Train to consume more liquids to build resistance to dehydration.

Now that we have you running, for those of you who have joined the S4J fundraising initiative for the 2020 Comrades, good luck with your fundraising efforts. Remember, if you do not ask, the answer will always be NO!

Blessings, Eddie

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Locals rally around runner headed to ultra-marathon

Greg Cowan

Published on: May 31, 2019 | Last Updated: May 31, 2019 6:21 PM EDT

Andy Foster leaves Saturday for South Africa to run in the world’s largest ultra-marathon in support of the nomadic Beja people who she lived among for parts of 15 years working with non-govermental organizations and not-for-profits in northeast Africa. Photo submitted.

It’s an 89-kilometre race at least 15 years in the making, perhaps a lifetime, for one Owen Sound woman.

“It felt like a calling,” Andy Foster said. “I think I am supposed to run this.”

Foster leaves Saturday to race in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. It’s the worlds largest and oldest ultramarathon. There are 25,000 people expected to run, and the entirety of the race is broadcasted on the nation’s largest television network.

“It’s the Boston (marathon) of South Africa,” said Foster.

Foster lived in Africa for 15 years originally working with the non-governmental organization Samaritan’s Purse. It was there she worked and lived alongside the Beja people, a nomadic group who live primarily in the Eastern Desert crossing the borders of Egypt, northeastern Sudan and into Eritrea.

In support of the Beja, Foster has raised nearly $10,000 from local businesses and sponsors that she will donate to the Al Germaniah hospital in Aswan, Egypt. The money will help pay for corrective eye surgeries.

“Because they live in the desert they (the Beja) get something similar to cataracts, even in the children, the dust and the sun and just having no protection. The surgeries can be very expensive,” Foster said.

When Foster first arrived in Africa a war broke out in northeastern Sudan. She was relocated from the southern part of the country to help provide aid.

“It just happened the Beja were the people in that area. They’re nomadic, and that was sort of their area. All the sudden you have all these rebel soldiers and now the Beja can’t move. We saw a lot of death and a lot of really hard things,” Foster said.

Over time Foster and her husband moved on to other not-for-profits and lived in other African nations, but the Beja remained a constant in her life overseas.

“They just always were where we were, and because they’re nomadic they don’t get the . . . they are not high on the priority list,” Foster said. “They literally live in the middle of nowhere. Medical needs don’t get met.”

Foster said she grew a lot and learned much more during her time in Africa. She said the Beja were very kind and patient as she became accustomed to the different cultures and way of life.

There was a young man named Ali. Foster was surprised to learn he was married with children because he never seemed to spend any time at home. Ali was surprised to see Foster’s husband help with the dishes at camp. One morning Ali took Foster’s light teasing about helping out more with the family chores to heart and decided to make the morning coffee. He told his wife to stay in bed while he started the hours-long ritual that included roasting the beans from scratch. In that time, his wife had gone to her extended family complaining that her husband had gone crazy.

There were the Friday afternoon meetings to which the Beja always arrived late. Foster assumed this was in order to send a message, when in fact, the mostly Muslim community were at prayer.

And there were the jogs. Foster would head out among the conservative Beja people in shorts thinking nothing of the reaction to her immodesty. When a Beja man told her husband he should suggest she wear long pants his response was “why don’t you tell her.”

Foster had a number of stories ready in a moments notice when asked to describe the impact living with the Beja had on her. She learned to speak the language and later was able to apologize and laugh about her small transgressions as she learned the Beja way of life.

Years later when someone asked if she knew anyone who would help raise money for the Beja she decided to take the task on herself.

The decision came to her in the middle of a November run. Now, a mother living in Owen Sound, she asked her family and partner for their blessing. She then asked for help from running coach Tim Wood, and has since spent much of her time putting sneakers to street-top.

Over 1,000 miles since January. Most days she wakes up at 4 a.m. to train.

Foster entered Ottawa’s Winterman marathon to qualify for the Comrades and ended up winning the women’s division in weather quite unlike she can expect to endure running between the South African cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Training for an ultramarathon in the dead of a Canadian winter provides a host of challenges unlike the ones Foster will navigate over 89-kilometres or less in South Africa’s Comrades Ultramarathon. Photo submitted.
Training for an ultramarathon in the dead of a Canadian winter provides a host of challenges unlike the ones Foster will navigate over 89-kilometres or less in South Africa’s Comrades Ultramarathon. Photo submitted.

At first, Foster wanted to raise $1,000. Then $3,000. And now she is nearing her new goal of $10,000 as she embarks after the months of training and fundraising. She has been blown away by the response of local businesses and people who helped her along the way.

“I’m not originally from Owen Sound, but it’s been so amazing,” she said. “I think people know it’s beyond even what I can do myself. I’m not an ultramarathoner or someone who has done this before. I’m a mother. I just felt really called to do it, and I really believe the Beja need help.”

The Comrades Marathon will run on June 9 beginning at 5:30 a.m. local time.

Link to web article.

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S4J is getting READY for 2020!

Yes, it is that time of the year that we get cracking again with the preparation for the 2020 Comrades. It’s such an exciting time for us as we search high and low for athletes to join our cause.

We are looking at subscribing again this year approx. 100 athlete’s that have a heart for people and who want to make a difference in their lives. We have four projects which we fund and manage at the moment in the Sudan’s:

  • Water Project – in partnership with International Aid Services (IAS) in Stockholm, Sweden, to drill boreholes in the Sudan’s.
  • Bible Project – in partnership with the Bibles for Africa to spread the word of God in Sudan 
  • Children’s Project – Initiative to supply educational equipment to the children in the Nuba Mountains. An Operation Mobilization partnership. 
  • Beja People’s Project – Supply funding for medical procedures for the women and children of the Beja peoples in the Aswan region.

So, are you that person? Do you want to change the world one race at a time? Then give us a call on 071 4622 663 or write to us at We would love to hear from you.

A throwback to some of last year’s crowd just before the Comrades

We have so much to offer this year. We are looking forward to also share our new Barika Coffee initiative with you. This initiative fits perfectly in with our S4J athlete’s fundraiser as the funding is used in the same way.

Aren’t they just beautiful?

We are looking so forward to experiencing this year with you!!!

Regards, Eddie

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