Along with the Assemblies of God churches in Mozambique we are using sports as an inroad for evangelism into unreached communities.
Our dream was to play soccer on our missions property and by doing so we could reach our neighborhood boys and girls with the Gospel. God made that dream come true for us as each weekend we minister to about 150 young people. But God had something else even bigger in mind, and that leads me to the story about the small fishing village of Sicura, a community known to be resistant to the Gospel. In their history the people never allowed a church to be a part of their community.
Wanting nets for our soccer goals back on our property we hired a local fisherman in Sicura to custom make them. On the day to pick up our new nets, the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask the fisherman if I could return each week and teach his family about the Bible. Immediately I thought to myself that this idea was crazy knowing that the fisherman was a devote Muslim. But there's a difference between a crazy idea and a message from the Holy Spirit! Crazy ideas come and go, but when the Holy Spirit speaks it is difficult to turn off His voice. So while driving out to the village, I made an agreement with God: I will ask, but I can't help it if the man says no. That's all the faith that God needed to open a door. I asked, and the fisherman agreed. But he agreed not just for his family but for the whole community. He introduced me to the village leader and together these two men, both devote Muslims, opened the door for Jesus to be preached.
They invited us to return the following Monday to begin hearing about the Bible. Upon our arrival the fisherman and village leader took us to meet the school director. He then decided to cancel classes so the students could play soccer with the visitors. All the kids had a blast, and we used that day as a springboard to launch a weekly sports outreach in the community.
Over time we built a team of Mozambicans and together we played soccer, taught Bible lessons, and gave out juice to all those who participated. The weekly outreach grew to a steady 350 kids of all ages who came out to play and hear a practical lesson from God's Word.
Through this outreach we opened the first church in the village of Sicura. After our first service, an elderly lady who hadn't been able to walk on her own in 10 years was prayed for. Within days God healed her and she was up walking! Over the past year, others were healed including a blind lady who today can see! Another young man burned his amulets from witchcraft that kept him in bondage for years. Others have given their life to Christ and have been changed; their very countenance is brighter and more peaceful.
All this began when the Holy Spirit prompted me and I obeyed. But I can truly say, this church was planted because of the prayers and efforts of the church working together. Prayer moved the hand of God and softened the hearts of those in Sicura. Believers in Mozambique worked tirelessly and sacrificially to minister in that village. This was a joint effort and still is today. It is an example of a partnership between followers of Christ both in America and Mozambique...a partnership of people who are no longer living for themselves but are living for Christ. Why do we all do it? To put it simply, because His love compels us.