By Ben Amonung, SF Ghana
Sheriff is a young boy of 15 who lives on the outskirts of Tamale. As is common in Northern Ghana, Sheriff’s parents are peasant farmers and can only cultivate what they live on, which, in most cases, is not enough to sustain the family until the next season.
When Sheriff was about 10 his parents noticed a little growth on one of his nostrils. Initially, they overlooked it, but the growth later grew worse. This time they made an attempt to seek medical care, but when they visited the hospital they got scared upon hearing the cost of the surgery to remove the tumor.
Unable to afford surgery, Sheriff’s tumor grew worse. It blocked his nostril, allowing him only to breathe through one. At this stage the projecting tumor also attracted houseflies. As a result, Sheriff was faced with shame and embarrassment. Sheriff’s parents told us that his peers began to avoid him because of his strange and dirty facial appearance. The poor boy resorted to a life of solitude and hence struggled with depression.
According to Sheriff’s teacher and his parents he is very intelligent, but due to his condition he began to put up a negative attitude towards school. As his condition has worsened, it affected his academic performance.
About a year ago, Daniel was sent by his local church to attend a Sports Friends Basic Training. Upon his return, he started a sports ministry team with youth from his local community. After few months of practice, Coach Daniel took notice of Sheriff, who could often be found alone under a tree near the field. Daniel invited him to play.
When Daniel noticed Sheriff’s condition, he encouraged his team to show love to Sheriff and treat him as a friend. Sheriff and his parents, though non-Christians, were happy for his acceptance on the team. After some time of playing on the team, Sheriff felt loved and secure. As his relationship with his coach and the other boys grew, he felt a bit more confident and happy. He began to share more with his coach about his bitter experience and shame. Coach Daniel kept loving and encouraging Sheriff, even beyond the field of play.
Sheriff’s story began to receive attention when members of our Sports Friends staff met the boy at one of our day camps in Tamale this summer. We began praying, asking God for a solution for the boy’s ailment. The Lord answered our prayers by bringing together several groups and individuals who contributed resources and provided a permanent solution to Sheriff.
Sheriff had surgery on July 28th, 2015, at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. He is now back to normal life with his family, classmates and peers. Glory to God Almighty!
When Coach Daniel and another SF staff member shared the Gospel of Salvation with Sheriff, he was filled with joy and decided to pray to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. Sheriff reaffirmed this decision during our residential camp in Tamale.
Since Sheriff‘s surgery and his decision to accept Christ, there have been many changes in him. He is happier than before and has started sneaking to the local church because he desperately wants to learn more about Jesus. He now attends SF Bible studies. We are trusting God for Sheriff’s protection and care as he grows in his new faith in Christ.
We are grateful to you all for partnering with us in this ministry! Through your partnership, the lives of many young people like Sheriff are being touched and transformed for the glory of God!
For $75, you can train a coach like Daniel to reach out to young people using the platform of sports. Learn more on the 2015 Coaches Campaign page on our website!