South Africa (MNN) — With the World Cup kick-off less than two weeks away, ministries are excited about outreach during the games. The soccer tournament will draw over a billion television viewers each game. With that kind of excitement, many Christian groups are asking you to pray for outreach opportunities.
President and Founder of OneHope, Bob Hoskins, says, "This is by far the largest sporting event in the world. We want to take advantage of the focus and use it to reach the children and youth."
Hoskins says OneHope has produced a special edition of the Book of Hope. "It has testimonies from great soccer (football) players who have a living experience with Christ. It has statistics. It outlines the program of the World Cup, and it's something that kids want."
According to Hoskins, the outreach initiative is called Plan 10. "We train young people in local churches to distribute the book to 10 of their friends. It was so incredibly successful in 2006 that we're adding to the program in 2010."
Hoskins says they're also adding Soccer Clinics. He says 40 soccer teams from the USA, Europe and Latin America will participate, and the desire of OneHope is "to talk to them about soccer, to give them instruction in soccer and to play soccer with them, but also to give them the special edition of the Book of Hope and to minister to those children."
The clinics will be held in 15 countries, including South Africa, throughout the summer reaching a total of almost 24 million children.
OneHope also has another tool they'll be using. It's called the "Salvation Soccer ball" and is similar to the Wordless Book. "This is where you use colors to explain the plan of salvation, particularly to those who are illiterate or to younger children who can't read. So, they'll have special soccer balls to explain the plan of salvation."
Southern Africa has been notorious for the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Hoskins says, "Some of the countries of Western Europe have shipped millions of condoms to South Africa for the World Cup, as if condemns were the answer to AIDS. We believe what they need is hope. And, we believe that hope is found in the truth of God's Word."
Targeting youth is important, says Hoskins. "The greatest response to the Gospel comes from children under 14 years of age. So, this gives us a great opportunity to share Christ with over 24 million of them."
Hoskins is asking people pray for protection of the teams traveling abroad. Pray that God will prepare the hearts of children to hear the Gospel. And, also pray for funding. It only takes $1 to provide God's Word to three children through OneHope.