Africa (MNN) — With the semi-finals tomorrow and Wednesday,
the World Cup has reached fever pitch. Like other Christian ministries, Biblica
is using this event to reach out to kids through sports ministry.
Since April, Biblica has been bringing footballs (called soccer
balls in the U.S.) to Africa. But Benedict Omollo, vice president of Biblica's
African Group, said these balls are just the start: "We're not
just giving out the balls, but we're partnering with Ubabalo eAfrica …
Basically, this program trains coaches, and then the
coaches become mentors to the children. And they therefore spend some time
sharing and building the character of the children."
After Ubabalo eAfrica, an international soccer ministry, and
Biblica train these coaches; they are then handed balls to go out and gather
kids to coach and mentor. Omollo said, "In Africa, you just need to bounce
your ball and walk around, and young people and children will just come to you.
And they'll basically reach out to these young people."
Each coach develops two to three teams with 12-20 kids on
each team. Then, the coach mentors and teaches the kids character, as they participate
in tournaments with other teams.
Through this partnership with Ubabalo eAfrica, Biblica wants
to reach 1000 disadvantaged kids and also use the opportunity to share Christ's
love with them. Biblica is also reaching out to another 14,000 kids in Gambia,
Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and South Africa with their own soccer
Biblica knows that once you have focused on the kids' love of the
game, they can be introduced to the One who can heal and protect their
hearts: "You have a captive audience who [is] just willing to listen to
the Gospel as they play football," Omollo said.
Biblica plans to continue this outreach until August or September,
as the interest for soccer lasts long after the World Cup concludes. Their
press releases shares some of the responses they have already seen: "In
Kenya, Biblica and Ubabalo soccer ministry is bringing Muslims and Christians
together for games and the Gospel message. In Senegal, kids from rival youth
gangs put aside longstanding hostilities and learn to cooperate and work
together. In South Africa, youth in impoverished rural areas are gathering to
play soccer and staying for Biblica's Scripture-based HIV/AIDS prevention
programs and discussion groups."
Omollo said the main thing they need now is prayer. Pray for
receptive hearts and for protection, as Omollo knows the devil is not happy with
the success of the ministry so far.
You can also donate to this program at Biblica's Web site.