By Chuck Millette, SF Peru
My first visit to coach Franck was a joy. God has allowed for him to coach and minister to a community in a special location in Lima. The open field where he trains is located in a shanty town known has Pacifico, named after the nearby ocean. It is far from the cement and the traffic that characterize Peru’s capital city. The church that Franck is a part of has been serving in this community for years. Starting to use futbol to reach this community is new and innovative, but it is in line with the objective of the local church: to bring Jesus Christ in the heart of the community and to make disciples. This task is a challenge that Franck and his church take seriously. They know that it will take time and they know that reaching this community without God’s help is an impossible challenge to face!
Franck and his helpers are dedicated to building this precious bridge of trust and friendship with both the youth and their parents. This relationship gets stronger every time they interact in a meaningful way and one day this trust will give them the right to bring Jesus and his glorious hope into the conversation. As they come prepared week after week to offer a coaching practice, the kids and their parents see their heart and their love for them, solidifying the bond that now unites them.
On this particular Sunday afternoon that I visited Franck, my co-worker Lindsay and her
husband Paris accompanied me. Having three sets of eyes allowed for our team to grasp Franck’s work better but also notice the details surrounding the community. As Paris and I were participating in the practice, Lindsay saw three men standing in the street nearby. They were dressed to impress with a speaker connected to a microphone held by one of the men. As she focused her attention on them, she quickly realized that they were passionately, but not a single person was present to listen. Was it that the speaker was not working? Were the people too busy to stop and listen? Or was it that these men were preaching at rather than patiently building relationships of trust, love, and respect.
After the visit, Paris, Lindsay and I talked about the beautiful afternoon and together we praised God for the way this local church is willing to invest what it takes in order to gain the right to present the need of a saviour, namely Jesus Christ to this impoverished community that could be one day, rich in God.
**Pray for the many coaches in Peru who are working in hard to reach communities. Pray that God would use them to be a light in the darkness and that many would come to know the saving love of Jesus Christ through the Sports Friends models all over Lima.