Two camps. Two sports. Two denominations. Two approaches!


The work of Sports Friends Malawi is supported by SIM Malawi project MW#96754 Sports Friends Malawi

Sports Friends Malawi (SFM) recently held its annual sports camp. This year it was split into a girls’ camp for netball and a boys’ camp for football. Also, the camps were for different denominations, as it looks to encourage the Churches with which it works.On one pitch, Malawi played England at netball. On another, the following week, Germany played Spain in a football match. The skill levels varied but the enthusiasm was there for all to see on all the playing areas.

This was not a major international sports tournament, but the Sports Friends Malawi girls’ netball camp held in Liwonde and a boys football camp at Ngabu both in August. But why two camps on two different weeks?

“It is a question of logistics,” said Revd Fostance Mtolo, Sports Friends Malawi Team Leader.

Camp 1 Evangelical Baptist Church of Malawi (EBCM): National flags fly for the teams represented by girls from the EBCM at the Sports Friends Malawi netball camp in Liwonde

“It is difficult to find accommodation where we can have boys and girls together, so we decided to have the two camps. Also, we are dealing with two different denominations. The netball camp is with girls from the Evangelical Baptist Church of Malawi (EBCM) and the boys are from the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC).

“The purpose of the camps is also slightly different. For the girls, the teachings are more evangelistic, bringing girls into the Kingdom and equipping them to share their faith with friends and family. For the boys the emphasis is more on disciple-making and deepening their faith,” he said.

The AEC is the denomination with which SFM first started working about eight years ago. The relationship with EBCM started in 2014 but it has developed quickly so that, now, there are over 200 coaches in 180 EBCM churches.

Penalty Shoot-out: No football competition semi-final would be complete without a penalty shoot-out! In this one, Spain beat England

“The relationship between EBCM and SFM is very strong and developing well,” said Peterson Kaipa Sports Ministry Co-ordinator for EBCM.

“Through the training our coaches have received and through the camps our young people have attended we are starting to see lives being transformed, as more come to know Jesus Christ.”

Two very strong stories of SFM coaches came out during the camps. One was about a lady named Joyce who was one of seven women on the first ever SFM Training of Trainers event in 2011 and who went on to set up her own netball team for girls in her area, despite much opposition. The girls in Liwonde heard about how Joyce overcame a lot of opposition to run the team and how she invested time and love

‘My ball’: Action from the Liwonde netball camp

into the girls under her charge.

Sadly, Joyce passed away earlier this year, but at her funeral, which was a great celebration – unusual in Malawian culture, many girls stood up to speak about the impact Joyce had had on their lives.

The second story was about Coach Roderick Nasimera who runs a football team.  His team won a match, but the opposition were aggrieved at this and decided to attack him. They badly beat him but neither he or his team, which he had sent away, retaliated.

The upshot of this was the coach from the opposing team came to visit him a few days later to apologise. They started talking and Roderick spoke about Jesus to the other coach and why he had not fought back. He was invited to go and talk to the team which had beaten him, which he did several times and, over a period, several members of that team gave their lives to Christ, and two churches have been planted as a result.

These new congregations are also being supported by Roderick’s home church to help them to develop and deepen their relationship with God.

So, lives are being impacted and changed thanks to the work of SFM, their coaches and those of the denominations with which they work. Both Fostance and Kaipa are hoping for more of the same from the two camps held in August 2018.

“I hope that the SFM/EBCM partnership will bring many more young people to Jesus,” said Kaipa.

“We are seeing much fruit in evidence in the homes of many of the young people who have come through the training with SFM and the church. I hope that this fruit will continue to increase as our relationship develops in the future, and that more young people will surrender their lives to Christ.”

“My prayer for the young people attending both camps is that when they go back home they reflect Godly lives in the communities in which they live,” said Fostance.

“As they do this I hope they can introduce others to Christ, so the impact on the youth of Malawi will be increased, and more young people can go forward to live lives that honour God.”

For the record: USA won the netball competition and Spain the football!

Camp 2 AEC: National flags fly for the teams represented by boys from the AEC at the Sports Friends Malawi football camp in Ngabu