Being young and wanting to change the world seem to be synonymous these days. Young people want to make a difference, and they long to see the world better than they entered it. Repha, a 26-year-old woman born and raised in rural Kenya, is no different. Eager to be a positive force in her community, Repha teamed up with others who shared her passion for reaching out to young people in her community.
In 2015, she attended a youth sports camp organized in her local area. Little was it known that this would mark the beginning of a great future for Repha’s community. During this time, she learned how sports and the gospel aren’t polar opposites, but that God could use a soccer ball to build trust and share the Good News about Jesus! She left the camp inspired to be a catalyst for change. She knew that this was an opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people in her community, many of whom face incredible hurts and hardships on a daily basis.
She passionately shared with her local church Pastor about her idea and asked him to attend a Sports Friends training so that he could grasp the vision of using sports as a ministry tool. Her Pastor agreed, and the rest is history! The Pastor bought a soccer ball after the training and rolled out a church-centered sports ministry program with Repha as the coordinator.
There is no doubt that Coach Repha has been a game changer in her community through her soccer ball. Her passion for young people is written all over her face but is also seen in her actions every day. She is determined to be a beacon of hope to many in her village. Sharing her testimony has been an inaugural part of what she does in the field. She has witnessed God transforming lives of young people and so far six have said ‘Yes’ to Christ. She desires to walk alongside these new Christians and disciple them to live a Christ-like life.
Repha’s church has been amazed to see youth streaming to the church ground every evening to play and hear Repha teach from the Bible. Repha is optimistic that God will continue to show up in the lives of young people in her village, breaking down cultural bonds and setting them and their families free. Her zeal in reaching out to youth through a soccer ball has earned her respect not only from her peers but even from village elders who have seen her boldness to share the Good News.
The fruit of Repha’s boldness is multifold; the village youth have found a place to hang around and are enjoying a sense of belonging, the Pastor is excited to see the church youth ministry growing spiritually and numerically, and the local church has found an avenue to carry on Christ’s mission right in its backyard. Sports has proved to be a game changer for the entire community!
God is able to do more than we can pray or imagine (Eph 3:20) Glory be to His name!
By Cambie Wilson, Sports Friends Kenya