For the love of the game
If you are a soccer fan and you are enjoying the FIFA World Cup, you can imagine the sense of excitement in South Africa, the host nation, where streets are filled with fans and their painted faces, blowing their vuvuzelas. The buzz continues despite the home team being knocked out in the first round. And it is here that Youth With A Mission is having our busiest month of the millennium so far.
Kubio (pronounced Ko-boy) is a young African YWAMer who joins others from around the world for an aptly named Kick-Off outreach. These YWAM teams from every corner of the world will soon be on their way to the tip of Africa with the aim of reaching out to international soccer fans who will gather in their thousands to support their teams. The goal is for sports teams, churches, youth groups, and other organizations to unite to bring hope to the people of Africa through all sorts of ministry. The long-term vision is to see partnerships formed with churches across the country through sports.
For Kubio this is the opportunity of a lifetime. As a boy, he never imagined his love of football would take him to the other side of his continent. Like so many of his peers, the homemade ball he had was his only toy; kicking it around was as much about escaping the harsh realities of life as it was about winning a game.
Kubio had fled to Nigeria from war in his native Liberia. Along with his pals, he played soccer every chance he got. When a YWAM DTS outreach team came to the camp to present the message of Jesus, he and his friends halted their game long enough to hear them. Kubio decided there and then that his true allegiance was to Jesus Christ - and his life changed forever.
Together with four friends, Kubio attended a DTS run by YWAM in the refugee camp. On outreach, they traveled to Port Harcourt where they met staff member and DTS leader Jackson Ndecheck. As Jackson got to know the group he thought, “These young men have a dream, and that dream is football.” Jackson was inspired to run a soccer-focused DTS especially for guys like Kubio. Encouraged by YWAM Nigeria’s National Director, Paul Dangtoumda, Jackson led the first Football DTS.
Most of the students came from poor families or were street kids with little hope for the future. As Jackson discipled them, he often said, “God wants you to use your talent to bring the gospel to other footballers. God wants you to be football ambassadors to the nations.”
With the lectures over, Jackson led the students on outreach to Accra, Ghana, to minister at the Africa Nations Cup. They worked with local churches running tournaments for local teams. But they didn’t just play football… they preached, performed dramas, danced, and drummed. They exhorted the youth to use their talents for God’s glory. Through the sport ministry, another congregation was planted in a village outside Accra.
Kubio and Jackson have similar hopes for their time in South Africa. Unlike other football fans, they don’t see soccer as a goal in itself, but as a wonderful way to connect with people. As fans enjoy the game they love, YWAMers like Kubio and Jackson have an opportunity to introduce them to Jesus, the One who’s in a league of His own.
For more information, contact Mandi Dreyer: email@example.com