January 9, 2008

Soccer Fun & Blessings

I wanted to share a little word about how things are going in the projects. For those of you who don't know, the projects are the local government assisted low-income housing developments. We have been going to the 26 th street projects for a few months now, ever since they dismantled the projects at Charles Warner.

When I arrived today, Bob (the other coordinator), Lynne and the girls had been there for a while. Before I had even gathered all my things to get out of the truck, three of the boys were already unloading the soccer goals. Some of the smaller ladies were unloading the bag of balls that one of the teams had donated. They knew the drill. The amazing part of this is that they were cooperating with each other. It takes teamwork to get the goals out and they were working together. There was neither hitting nor yelling.

This struck me as such a contrast to when we started. We have had hitting, biting, hitting with sticks, every form of aggression one to another. Today, there was cooperation, peace and forgiveness.

For the first time we were able to get an organized soccer game going. Two of the boys wanted to play football (to those of you not in the US this is Grid Iron). One of the boys tried to rally support so he yelled out, 'who wants to play football'. The other yelled back 'I want to play football', while everyone else yelled 'I want to play soccer'. Thus they established that the consensus was to play soccer, so the two who wanted to play football just picked up soccer balls and came over. This was a most amazing demonstration of the Holy Spirit coming to the Projects. I just stared in awe.

Teams were picked and they squared up against each other. Explaining some of the rules along the way the game progressed. Sometimes things got physical, though only in such a way as would be appropriate in the game. All the players got to be involved. Some of the smaller children realized that if they banded together they could get the ball away from the star players. Cooperation showed its face again. Sometimes, someone would get knocked down and the one who knocked them down would apologize and help them up. They would then rejoin the game. The light of forgiveness was showing its face.

As we came together to enjoy cookies, the whole group was able to peacefully wait, though with a few who couldn't be quiet. Even the ones who couldn't be quiet were at least peaceful. Almost all remembered the three rules, even though we did them out of order for the first time. For those of you who don't know, the three rules are 1, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, 2. Love your neighbor as yourself, 3. No fun allowed. They can only break the last one.

Right before we stopped, a shy little girl came up to me and asked if she could sing me a song. She sang me a little song that said that God loved her. I have never heard the song before, but it made me cry. One little Girl of maybe 4 years knows that God loves her. Three two other girls then joined her in singing 'Jesus Loves Me, This I Know' to Pastor Jerry.

When it was time to go home, there was no bickering and whining. They all headed home with the joy of the Lord.

I Praise God that He is changing lives, and showing his little ones that he loves them. Thank you also to all those who have come down and served. We are seeing the fruit.

PS. The game ended in a 3-3 tie.

With Love in Christ,

David Botha
Field Coordinator
Forward Edge International

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