Football in the Rain

11/04/2013 02:31:00 AM sendtheroths 0 Comments

*A post from Andrew

We travelled to Masisi with a team from Encounter Church of Orlando, Fla. to play soccer (aka the rest of the world's 'football') with the boys in our Peacemaker Program, which reintegrates former child soldiers back into their local communities. Through games like soccer and other activities we teach about life skills such as teamwork and responsibility. Soccer is especially useful for demonstrating the redemptive illustrations of Jesus.

Elijah (center) with some of our peacemakers.
Elijah, one of our prayer leaders from the Goma Training Center went with us. It was his first time to work in a red zone.

Managing 100 kids in any setting can be daunting regardless of language barriers and given the background of these kids. Nonetheless, once we divided into three small sided games everything got rolling.

Including the thunder!

Right as we started a storm rolled in - rain, torrential rain, then thunder and lightning… It reminded me of when I played soccer in the rain as a young boy growing up in southern Wisconsin. It rained and rained then rained some more! The field turned to mud and in the end turned into seemingly a marshy lake. But that didn't deter anyone's determination to play.

Ministry and worship after the soccer match.
Play, we did.

After the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed and the rain from the sky was restrained and the water receded steadily from the earth, Elijah shared his message. He shared about the importance of Biblical love by explaining that, like in football, we need each other in order to function. Moreover, we are a body of different parts working together to accomplish one unified goal.

We sang worship songs and prayed for each other and then sent the boys back to their homes.

"You really are missionaries!" Mukwenderlwa, one of the caretakers in our program exclaimed as he observed our completely drenched clothes. Amethyst and Ellee, the only women there sat on the sidelines shivering as they protected phones, jackets and other items that the boys gave them to hide from the rain.

This whole experience gave us two take away points.

One, jokingly all of us mentioned that we got to check off our bucket list, playing soccer with former child soldiers in eastern Congo's worst torrential down-pour ever. But more importantly, despite the situation, take every opportunity and make the best of it. Never withhold anything because 100% of shots you don't take, don't go in the net.

How true for us, if we're not willing to sacrifice and make opportunities to minister, there will be no ministry.

Shoot out time!