“I could tell you 1,000 stories of kids whose lives have been changed by camp,” says Coach Mamo from Ethiopia.
Coach Mamo has helped to run Sports Friends summer camps for years, and has a tradition of letting his team stay overnight at his family’s home the eve before camp begins. He tells them not to come until 9pm, but they are so excited they often begin showing up around 5pm! They spend the whole night chattering in anticipation, and he has to tell them again and again to go to sleep! Still, the 60+ young people currently in Mamo’s soccer club love him for his personal investment in their lives. He loves them like a father, and they know it.
He tells the story of one particular boy named Sammy. Sammy is not from a Christian family, but one summer at camp he decided to follow Jesus. His parents are not happy about the decision, and Coach Mamo reports that the parents refuse to greet him with the customary warmth and hospitality typical of Ethiopian culture. Sammy continues to live a gentle and humble life of servant leadership and influence. Even when his younger brother bosses him around, he is compliant and agreeable at home. Mamo has been amazed at Sammy’s growth and involvement, as he has proceeded to become very involved in drama and music at his church. Sammy also returns to camp year after year, but now he brings other young people he desires to lead into the ways of Jesus.
We praise God for our coaches, who are compelled to love as they have been loved, who recognize that as they have freely received they must freely give. Join us in praying for Sammy’s family to be impacted by the change in their son, and have hearts open to receiving the good news for themselves. Pray that the Holy Spirit will empower Sammy to walk courageously in love and humility, no matter what his circumstances are like at home. Pray that entire families and communities will turn towards God as a generation of youth rise up to follow Jesus.