Not to be served, but to serve

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Netball is big in Malawi. The national netball team, “The Queens”, is in the top five teams in the world and, generally, if girls have free time they will grab a ball and have a game. From the deepest rural villages to the waste land and alleyways of the towns and cities netball is queen!

Action from the netball camp

It should not be too much of a surprise to know that Sports Friends Malawi has embraced this love of the game as runs regular netball training alongside football training for the boys. And as a result of this the first ever Sports Friends Malawi was held in Blantyre.

Four Africa evangelical Church (AEC) teams were invited to take part in the three day event which included netball matches, drills and games and Bible teaching.

“We wanted to ‘reward’ four churches around Blantyre for their faithful devotion to sports ministry over the last few years,” said Sports Friends Malawi Director Luke Voight.

“We went oo the four corners of the city and invited teams from Ndirandi, Soche, Bangwe and Mpemba. When the teams turned up, with their coaches, we realised that we had a big spread of ages and abilities so we mixed the girls up and put them into four new teams: England, Jamaica, New Zealand, and of course Malawi!”

The first day was devoted to warm up drills and games to get to know new team mates before the ‘serious’ events started on  day two.

The surprise of The Bucket Game

Each team played each other in a round robin with the best two teams playing off in the final. While this was going on there were team building games such as tug-of-war, Bulldog and a parachute game the object of which was to eject the coloured ball of your opponents from the ‘chute while making sure yours stayed on.

Underpinning all of this was teaching in the Word of God. At the start of each day, and the end, coaches shared from the Bible on subjects such as honesty and self-control. In the evenings there were dramas and more teaching and the whole camp was round off with a foot washing by the coaches.

“The aim from the start of the planning was to make this an evangelical camp,” said Luke.

“We asked each of the coaches to select tem girls from their teams of 30 or 40 to come to the event. We wanted them to bring girls who had been resistant to the Gospel in tier home situations so we could pour the Grace of God into them.

“A number of the girls gave their loves to the Lord at the camp and follow-up with the coaches has shown that even more have given their lives as a result of the teaching and fellowship over the weekend.”

Luke notes that one of the outcomes of the weekend was to show the girls to body of Christ, in all its diversity, in action – and that was certainly the case.

The very moving foot-washing at the end of the camp

But what of the foot washing? This seems to go counter to Malawian culture, so how was that received?

“We talked tis over and over with the coaches and at first they were a little hesitant to get into it,” said Luke.

“But then we got into the Word and found that this is just what Jesus did - He came not to be served but to serve. We realised, again, that the Bible was greater than Malawian culture and from that point on everyone was prepared to get involved.

“As for the girls, they were a little unsure at first but soon accepted what was going on and the prayers their coaches were lifting up for them and there were many tears on what was a really powerful evening.”

So having been able to evaluate the camp, will there be more in the future?

Definitely!” said Luke. “We were all exhausted after the camp because it was so full on but we know that this was just the first of many.

“There are over 110 sports ministry teams under the AEC and we had a camp for just four! I guess we have our work cut out for us as we take this forward!”

Sports Friends Malawi is supported by Project MW96754

 


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