By Luke Voight
Rachel is 17 years old, living in extreme poverty and raised by a single mother when her father died. Her mother washed clothes, fetched water, and cleaned pots to earn enough to feed their family once a day. Rachel would wake up 2-3 AM every morning just to wait in line at the well to get water to help her mother. Life was hard but one day, Rachel was invited by a Sports Friends trained coach to play netball. She loved playing and joined Bangwe Trinity Netball Team. Today, four years later, she is the captain.
Rachel was the most respected player on her team, but she still felt “empty in her heart.” She longed to know the Jesus that her Coach Chisomo was sharing each and every week. From the time she was little, Rachel attended a local church every Sunday but personally had never experienced the genuine love of God the Father. Rachel questioned her coach about the goodness and sovereignty of God. “How can God be a good and loving Father if he took mine from me?” “We struggle so much and live in poverty because we don’t have a father bringing home food and money to support us. How can the Gospel be real if we struggle so much?” “Why couldn’t God choose someone else to be an orphan?”
Coach Chisomo embraced the awkward. Like many of us, she didn’t feel she had the perfect answer, but she continued to love, pray for, and be a source of stability and encouragement. Rachel was wrestling with God but she was not wrestling alone. Her coach was wrestling with these questions and issues with her and did not give up on her. In August 2017, the Lord led Coach Chisomo to share with her girls about how God is a good Father. Coach Chisomo said, “Even if we don’t have a biological daddy anymore, we have a much better heavenly Father who is the founder and creator of everything including you! He cares about you and sees you where you are now.” It was in that moment that the gospel truly came alive to Rachel. She knew the truth.
It has not been an easy journey, but now Rachel studies God’s Word and is keen to learn and even share with her teammates. She understands that she now has a good Father who loves her and has given her the Holy Spirit. Rachel went from questioning and wrestling to knowing and loving the Jesus. She is no longer Fatherless!
Sports Friends’ ministry is built around godly coaches who pour their lives into young people like Abigail. They love them, get to know their families, share with them the truths of God’s Word, and connect them to the local church. It costs just $75 to train and equip one new coach ready for ministry. Will you help us train and send out thousands of new coaches as agents of God’s love and hope?
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