Cloetesville, South Africa
It’s an area full of colored, afrikaans speaking South Africans. It’s an area that is saturated with alcohol abuse, poverty, school dropouts, and pregnant teenagers. The average person doesn’t have much of a job or an education, let alone a loving and supportive family.
But you know what, the kids LOVE futsal.
Walk into an open field with a ball and some cones… and kids will show up out of nowhere. It’s a beautiful sight.
Within this country, well-known for its history with segregation and racism, you’ll find training4changeS. A nonprofit organization made up of: some radical americans desiring to impact the lives of kids through sport, a white south african girl with a heart for discipleship, a black xhosa speaking man who can preach and lead the youth with zeal, a colored afrikaans speaking man who just so happens to be the former head coach of the Futsal National team in South Africa, and a colored afrikaans girl who has a passion for changing the world around her in a big way.
We are all very different. We come from different cultures and we speak different languages. We are different ages, we are different genders, and we have different opinions and perspectives.
But… we all have the same passion and we all have the same heart. Our heart is to break the stereotypes within South Africa and to impact the lives of young boys and girls through sport (futsal). Our overall goals are to love, to teach, to mentor, and to lead.
It’s a beautiful example of the “body of Christ” aka the church in action. Many parts combining with different strengths and weaknesses to accomplish something amazing! 1 Corinthians 12:18, 21, and 22 say this: “But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it…The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you,’ and the head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you’…In fact, some parts of the body that seem the weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.”
If we were all armpits or feet…we wouldn’t get very far (some parts of South Africa smell bad enough as it is so we really wouldn’t want that). Luckily for us, we are a variety of “parts” that are working in unison, striving to create a movement. Our hope is that this movement will shatter the existing expectations of what “life” is supposed to look like for these young South African kids.
The weather in Stellenbosch is hot, the apartment is finally decorated, the coaching meetings have begun, there are mountains outside my window (take THAT Miami), my Afrikaans is improving (hallelujah), and my best friend enjoys making fun of my strange American habits (like precutting my meat so I can put my knife down and how I put “too much” ice in my drinks). I love it all.
School starts for the kids next Wednesday, and that’s when the real fun will begin, so pray for loving and honest relationships to be developed between the coaches and the players. Pray for opportunities, growth, patience, grace, and for language barriers to be conquered. Pray for no injuries and no expectations! Finally, pray for the training4changeS team, that we will be united on this journey.
Ecclesiastes 12:4 says: A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.