By Moses Gyok, SF West Africa
Coach Charles loves youth and has always desired to teach them what he did not learn while growing up: the Word of God. However, despite his passion, teaching has not always been easy for Charles.
After seeing several of his efforts fail, Coach Charles did not know how to go about reaching young people with the Gospel. But, like lightening from the sky, his eyes were opened when he came to a Sports Friends Basic Training in Accra, Ghana, in 2012. There he learned that it was possible to work with youth in a way that will not only benefit them physically, but in a holistic way as well. Coach Charles was excited to use what they already love, sports and games, to teach them other things.
When he returned from the Basic Training, Coach Charles shared this new idea of sports ministry with his church leaders. With their blessings and the help of an assistant coach, Charles was able to form a team. They meet twice a week on the field to play football and other fun games. In this environment, Coach Charles is able to teach the young people life lessons they can apply on and off the field of play. The result has been wonderful.
While spending time on the field has been great, Coach Charles understands that to build stronger, more trusting relationships, he has to go beyond the field as well.
Charles and his assistant coach have spent many hours at the homes of their team members, meeting with them and often with their families too. It is on such visits that Charles has made a discovery: there are many things youth will never say in public for fear of the unknown, but they will open up in the safety of their homes.
In his own home, Coach Charles has faced backlash from his family because of the time and energy he is pouring into the community. His mother has called him lazy, preferring that he would spend his time making money rather than focusing on church and his youth. But Charles understands that God has called him to be a blessing to his community through his team.
Even though the situation with his own family looks impossible, Coach Charles believes that God sees “the black ant that is lying on the black rock in the darkest of all nights.” Just as he goes beyond the field and into the homes of his players, Charles knows that God, too, will meet him right where he needs Him the most.