In many places in Malawi, sports are viewed by church leaders as evil. These leaders teach that sports should have no part in Christian life. Many would never even dream of using sports as a ministry tool. But we thank God that now many Malawian churches are seeing that they have been wasting their time and breath trying to avoid sports and preaching against any involvement in them. Now, hundreds of local churches are experiencing this powerful evangelism and discipleship ministry platform.
One of our netball coaches recently told her story. Doris (we've changed her original name for security reasons) was raised in a family that was against her participating in netball. They loved God and had always been taught that sports and the things of the Lord cannot be mixed.
Then Sports Friends Malawi ministry was introduced to her local church. During this time, Doris stopped playing netball because it was something that brought a great deal of disunity between her and her parents.
Parents in her area of Malawi were very much of the opinion that allowing a girl to participate in sports, such as netball and other competing sports, resulted in losing that child. The belief behind this was that she would become a prostitute. As good parents, Doris’s folks were guiding her and preventing her from becoming lost. Doris said, “As it was written in the time of ignorance, God oversaw things,' I’m not putting blame on anyone but rather thanking God that, through Sports Friends Malawi, my parents got the right information and now allow me to participate in sports.” As a result, she is one of the best netball coaches in this ministry and leads her local church-centered netball team well for the glory of the Lord Jesus.
The kids love Doris and the ministry she has brought to her village. Several of the girls she coaches recently have put their trust in Christ and are now part of the local church. Her parents are also happy now because she is not just useful to her family but also to the community and the kingdom of God. This can be seen by the many lives that have been transformed for all of eternity.
All of this reminds Doris of the scripture that says, “The stone rejected by a builder became one day a chief cornerstone.” Sports, which was considered useless and leading to bad behaviour, today is seen as a great tool to help with life change and Gospel impact. Praise the Lord! Doris now has become a powerful tool in the hands of God! She has had a magnificent impact on her family, many have been introduced to Jesus Christ in her community, and the Lord is raising her up to be a mighty woman of God who is used in profound ways in and through her church. The Lord is amazing in her life!!