“Parents trust me because they know me,” Coach Job says with joy.
Job is well-known in the town of Assela, central Ethiopia, where he lives and coaches. He also helps with citywide school-based soccer tournaments and is involved in Bible teaching through community programs.
Job has always loved to take his teams of young people to Sports Friends camps. He began taking youth to Camp Langano years ago, because he saw the life-changing impact it had in their lives. He would then return to the community with them and continue to disciple and teach those who wanted to walk with Jesus.
Recognizing the tremendous value of camp, and how the extra focused time can deeply influence the lives of the young people he serves, Coach Job decided to create his own camps in his home town of Assela! He acknowledged, “I don’t have the budget to run a full camp, but I am still able to run day camps.”
Because he had extra room at his church’s compound, he decided to start his own camp that was less-involved, lower-budget, but still packed with the same life-changing lessons of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. He has the young people come at 8:30 in the morning, then they have a tea break at 10:30 with a snack of difo dabo, an Ethiopian bread happily provided by the women in his church. They finish up around 1 in the afternoon.
Years ago, a young boy named Ashenafi attended Job’s day camp in Assela. He was only 8 or 9 years old at the time, but was struck by the message of the prodigal son. He watched a dramatic presentation of the well-known parable and said, “I knew that the boy in the drama was me!” He believed in Jesus and has been discipled by Job for years.
Ashenafi now serves as a Sports Friends coach alongside Job, helps with his camps, and desires to pursue theological education after he completes his business management studies. Ashenafi has prayed for his family for a long time, and has seen his father and one of his sisters come to follow Jesus. He continues to pray for his mother and two other siblings to receive the grace of God. He says, “Jesus changed my life and gave me a new love for people that I did not have before, and those around me have noticed the difference.”
Praise God for the power of the gospel, which when spoken through a simple soccer camp flows far and wide, into families, communities, and future generations.