Sports Friends Peru completed their first Basic Training of local coaches in 2013. Headquarters for Sports Friends Peru is in Lima, the capital city of 11 million people, and the hearts of our full-time staff are to make the Name of Jesus known to all.
These brothers and sisters are not bound by the perimeters of the city! Right now the good news of God’s love for Peruvian people is penetrating the mountainsides and jungles in the region. Currently, 53 volunteer coaches spend their free time mentoring 681 young people in the ways of God, as they train them in soccer and volleyball.
In order to learn how to effectively pray for our Peruvian team and support them in their work, we interviewed Chuck, a teacher from Canada, who moved his family to Lima to serve with Sports Friends Peru for four years.
What are three of the biggest struggles for youth in and around Lima?
“In Lima, there is a lot of violence, both domestically (within the home), and on the streets. Lima is dangerous in many places; you can’t go out at night. There are a lot of threats. The outskirts of the city, where people build their homes on the sides of the hills, often have no electricity or running water. The places are very dark, and there is a lot of high crime. There is also petty crime in the city, and some gang activity.
In the jungle, our young people are struggling with drug addiction and poverty. There are also broken families where the fathers are absent after they go into the city to find work.”
What are some of the particular challenges for your coaches?
“In Lima, space, time, and money are tight. It is very time consuming to volunteer. Our coaches give up their Thursday nights, as well as their Saturdays and Sundays. In the city, time is a very rare commodity. There is typically a 2-3 hour commute to work, as the city grew rapidly without the infrastructure to keep up. It is also difficult if we only have one coach for a team. Then they bear the burden alone, of all the necessary time to invest well in the kids’ lives.
Cost can also be a factor. In Peru, soccer is big business. It can be difficult to get access to a field, or to afford field time. Please pray for coaches to reach out to the municipality and to work with the city leaders, not just the church. Pray for us to be granted time on a nice field. We try to encourage the coaches to press in and ask as we pray for favor.”
What are the great barriers to the growth of the work in your country?
“Some of the older pastors are suspicious that sports will be more ‘fun’ than ministry. We are trying to communicate to pastors and and churches that it’s a valid and powerful outreach method.”
What are some specific answers to prayer you’ve seen recently? We want to praise God with you.
“That the work is growing in new areas, like Pucallpa and Huancayo. One of our new coaches in Pucallpa is a PE teacher in the school. She is applying the Sports Friends method and ministering to kids in her class at school!”
What are some specific prayer requests for the work, staff, coaches, and players? We want to gather the global Church around you and lift you up.
“Pray for good partnerships with the pastors. The church leadership [in the the region of Huancayo] is sending coaches to training, and asking pastors to initiate sports ministry to reach their communities. We had a Basic Training in February 2019 with participants from seven churches, and so far three have outreaches running in the mountain city of Huancayo. The other coaches are eager to begin the work among the youth in their areas, but still need their local church’s support. The churches are busy, and often suspicious about sports’ efficacy in evangelism and discipleship.
Pray for Pastor Josue Porras, who is a great bridge to help communicate the sports strategy and helps the outreach to flourish. We want to see the coaches courageously apply their training in their communities, so that people will see the love of God.”
See more from the Peru team on our Sports Friends Peru Facebook Page.