Faenza, Italy: Soccer – Update #1
Today I began a week-long soccer clinic in Faenza, a town about 20 minutes north of Imola, the city where the rest of the PTR team and I ran basketball clinics last week. They have journeyed up to Mestre to run another week of basketball clinics while I am stationed with a missionary host family in Faenza to run soccer clinics according to plan.
Although the number of campers is slightly down from past years, our missionary partners are very encouraged by our soccer ministry this week. Chatting over an after-lunch espresso my missionary host once again emphasized the significant role of sports clinics and visiting missionaries for his ministry here. The mere arrival of a soccer coach from the U.S. generates interest among people in the community and our interaction with the children at camp enables the local missionaries to establish connections with young people and their parents. In this country of very tightly knit – verging on sequestered – family units, such connections prove difficult to form but remain essential for the effective administration of the gospel.
Camp went well today. The kids were attentive both to soccer and life/Biblical instruction and we are delighted with the parental support that has already expressed for us and our work here. In addition to soccer and Bible, another wonderful missionary partner in Faenza is joining with us to teach the campers a bit of English during a break in the mornings, thus contributing to the holistic quality of our ministry, adding to it a distinct value and appeal. Please pray that the kids’ hearts will be opened and responsive and that I and the missionaries translating for me will proclaim the gospel fearlessly and clearly in order that the kids might understand and respond accordingly. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!
P.S. Yesterday afternoon I went to the park across the street from my host family’s house to juggle and play a bit of soccer. Three teen boys stopped to watch on their bikes nearby and I asked them to play. We played 2v2 for awhile and I was able to share my water with them, take a few photos, give them PTR wristbands and upon request give them my facebook contact info. God was faithful in answering prayers for divine appointments (there were more notable encounters in the park in addition to this) and I’m excited for how He has already used me this week!
Above: two of the three kids from the park. Below: scenes from camp.
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