Many of you may remember Oscar. He is the guy that was working with Dave when we first started the sports ministry in Lima. Dave spent many hours training, discipling, supervising and working with Oscar. The "plan" was that Oscar would take over and lead the ministry that Dave had started.
Well, Dave was very discouraged to learn that after over a year of training Oscar to lead the team in Condevilla, Oscar and his family decided to move. They would be moving about 4 hours south of Lima, to the town of Ica. Despite our disappointment, we began to pray for Oscar and Condevilla. Well, you may also remember how God answered a part of our prayer, in that Flavio and Manuel will be leading the ministry in Condevilla.
The other part of that, is that while we were thinking of what a waste the time spent with Oscar had been for expanding the ministry, God had better plans to multiply the ministry and to reach new areas. Oscar returned to Lima to participate in the Sports Friends Basic Training and went back to his new community, and partnered with his new church in order to begin to use sports to minister to a new set of youth within his new community.
Please pray with us for Oscar, Tonya, Oliver and Owen in their new city, home and ministry. Pray also that the young people of Ica will see Christ's love though their ministry and come to a saving knowledge of Him.
Manuel (second from the left) will be working with Flavio in Condevilla. They will be working mainly with 11-15 year olds. He talked with the group about their excitement to lead the group and also the struggle to balance life and ministry. Please pray that Flavio and Manuel will work well together to lead the youth in their neighborhood. Please pray for their relationships with the boys in the neighborhood; that they can gain trust in order to be able to share the truth about a Savior who loves them, died for them and desires a relationship with and abundant and eternal life for their futures.
In February, we had the newly trained life coaches write out an action plan for the sports ministry that they would be starting in their communities. In March, Dave began meeting with the leaders to check-in on where they each were at and to offer support. We quickly realized how challenging it would be to organize the meetings. Each of these young individuals is working, studying, ministering in their community, as well as faithfully attending and serving in their respective churches. It would prove difficult for each of them to come from many different directions and to fight the evening traffic from across town to meet at Dave's office. We also soon realized that there was a broad spectrum of how far along they had come with their start-up ministries. We finally decided to meet in the evenings, after work, school, etc. in small groups and closer to the areas of town where they live. See the photo below of the first meeting with the newly trained life coaches from San Martin de Porres.
Jean Pierre, José Miguel, Yocelin & Dave
José is in his early 30's, married with a young child and is a full time youth worker at his church. Apart from working with the youth, he is involved in many other ministries in the church please pray for him to be able to manage his time well. He loves the Lord and is so excited about using Sports Friends' strategies and ministry in his church.
Jose is discipling Jean Pierre and using his love for sport to reach out to the kids in the community where they are working. Jean Pierre is about 20 years old and is a relatively new believer. Jean Pierre was saved by friendships build through a group of young Christian men playing soccer at the church he now serves in.
Yocelin has been involved in the church for quite a while and is excited to see the potential of sports ministry and using volleyball to reach out to the troubled girls in her community.
This group has been faithful in planning and was the first to come to the follow-up meetings after the basic training. José has been very intentional and asked for help in planning for the coming years to help develop the ministry partnering with his church.
Please pray for these new ministries, and leaders within the community of San Martin de Porres, that God would use them as a catalyst to share His love and hope with the youth in their corner of the world.
March was a great time for the brothers to spend time together and bond. We found out that Silas loves all percussion instruments, especially Levi's drum set and even uses his fingers to tap out "music" on any nearby table. It has been our great joy to witness the love the boys have for each other and even the "softer" side of Levi coming out as he cares for his little brother.
This year for Levi's birthday, some friends got together to go camping and surfing down south at Cerro Azul. They had an amazing time together in fellowship and fun...doing flips off the pier, eating food from the street carts and enjoying the ocean...Happy 16th!
In March had weekly meetings to follow up with the leaders that were trained in February.
We also shared Flavio's story with many people as we told about the effectiveness of using sports as a tool to share Christ. Flavio was one the Peruvian leaders trained last month. See his story below.
My name is Flavio Vilca Uzátegui and sports have always been a very important part of my identity. Throughout my life, I have participated in many competitive sports including: soccer, swimming, and baseball and even played on the Peruvian select baseball team for 4 years. At this point in my life, I play futsol for my university, UPC (Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Applicadas). Yet the biggest impact sports have had in my life is the way God used them to bring my family to the feet of Jesus.
I grew up in a family with both of my parents and 4 brothers and sisters. We had problems in our family just like many families deal with, but over time, slowly the problems got worse. What began with financial problems, ended with my dad beginning to drink a lot as an escape from reality. My parents’ marriage was a mess and after witnessing many fights between them, even the kids knew our family was headed for destruction.
When I was 12 years old, on a day that was as typical as any other, my oldest brother Mariano went to the field to practice baseball with his team. When he got there, he met up with some Americans and they ended up playing baseball together and having a good time. Before the foreigners left, they told my brother about a youth camp focused on sports and invited him to attend. He decided to go, but when he returned he was a completely changed person.
The camp had used sports as a starting point in order to share the powerful message of the saving grace of Jesus. From that day on, my brother’s life and attitude was turned upside down. Instead of seeing the usual aggressiveness and rebellion, we as a family saw him act with love and to begin to respond to aggression calmly.
His life and testimony greatly impacted us all. When he came home, my brother invited us each to attend his new church, and each of us, one by one repented at the foot of the cross. Now I can testify that God has not only saved, but has also restored my family.
I believe that team sports are a very useful tool to reach young people. All cultures enjoy sports and they help to form friendships, which can then be used as evangelism and discipleship opportunities. In this way, opening a door to reach the family and entire communities for Jesus.
My friend Manuel and I were both recently trained at Sports Friends’ first Basic Training in Lima, Peru. We are excited to begin using sports ministry in partnership with Living Hope Evangelical Free Church in our local community of Condevilla.
We will be continuing the ministry that Dave Kitzman, the Sports Friend Peru Director began as the first pilot Sports Friends ministry in Peru. We want to start off by spending time at the community soccer court getting to know the youth that were involved in the past, as well as inviting new people who are interested in joining. Looking to the future, we plan to form a team in which there will be certain conditions that the parents and youth must agree to in order to join. For instance, during each training session, we will have a short time for biblical teaching that the team will be required to be a part of. We will also plan for monthly evangelism and outreach events.
Yet our first goal after building relationships is to lead people to Jesus’ feet at the foot of the cross. Our desire is that not only will they repent and accept new life in Him, but also that each person would begin to live a life glorifying to God and this will cause the church to grow.
January was a busy month for us. If you have been receiving our newsletters (and reading them), you would know that we have spent the past year in the approval process for adoption in Peru. After meeting our soon to be son in December, we started preparing our home for a toddler again.
The first photo we saw...
As we were praying that the rest of the process would move along quickly so that we could bring him home, we were also frantically preparing for our first Sports Friends Basic Training.
January was also our SIM Spiritual Life Conference. When it rains, it pours...blessings!