“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16
Our son Jason (17) headed off to Richmond, Virginia, in the States in March. He is taking part in ministry training with Youth With A Mission. This excellent organization offers a specialized Discipleship Training School (DTS) in sports and fitness, teaching how these pursuits can enable evangelizing and discipling of the nations – thus furthering Christ’s Kingdom on Earth.
Jason loves soccer, along with millions of other Africans. There are apparently 265 million players worldwide—roughly 4 percent of the world’s population. A massive Gospel opportunity!
Here is Jason’s ministry story to his friends:
Many of you know I have been doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at Youth With A Mission in Richmond, Virginia.
The past 10 weeks we have been attending lectures every day. It is very much like a classroom setting where we have lecturers from different fields of ministry who come in and address us. Guest speakers deal with one Biblical topic per week. I have learnt much from Scripture over the past few months, and I keep learning more every day.
This week (11th – 15th June) was the last of our lecture phase.
Lord willing, on 17 June we fly to Mexico where we will spend a month ministering in Mexico City. During the second month of the outreach phase we intend to minister the Gospel of the Kingdom in Saint Croix, which is a small island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
YWAM’s original plan was for us to minister in Russia where the FIFA Soccer World Cup is taking place, but since there has been political tension between the US and Russian governments, it has become very difficult for American’s to obtain visas to enter the country. Ironically, South Africans have no such challenges.
I would have loved to go to Russia and minister to international soccer fans at the World Cup but I pray that God will use us wherever we go and that His will be done.
We have been involved in ministry during our lecture phase as well. Our DTS is specifically sport-based so most of our outreaches are sports orientated. Every Monday I assist in coaching a little kid’s soccer team made up of children from the neighborhood.
Most of our surrounding communities are African American and children are growing up in harsh circumstances. Gangsterism and violence are rife throughout the area.
Wednesday’s ministry takes place in a neighborhood of refugees, where many of the children can’t read; we are able to give attention to one child at a time, where we read a Christian book to them. Many of the refugees are from Africa and the Middle East, so naturally we have to play soccer after reading.
On Thursdays, we play basketball, serve supper and have a Bible study with the older boys in the neighborhood.
Friday evenings is an outreach to the homeless. We go into the city and set up a stand with chairs and tables and then walk the streets, combing the area for those we can invite to enjoy a meal and coffee with us. We take this opportunity to share God’s Word with attendees.
We also team up with local churches and take part in outreaches with them on Saturdays. One outreach stands out. We went into a ghetto and did a prayer walk; while we were walking we heard multiple gun shots and screams. This was certainly not the safest of neighborhoods – but then, my father’s friend always says that safety is overrated – certainly, when it comes to the Gospel, we must be prepared to give all to Christ, even our very lives.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
During our prayers, as we walked, we handed out Biblical literature and necklaces to the children. One little boy, not older than 7, asked, “What is this for?” His friend said, “It’s for God!” He then turned to us and asked, “Is He (God) going to make all the killings go away?”
Many of the areas around our ministry base aren’t very safe and little children fear for their lives.
I dislocated my shoulder and haven’t been able to play much sport. I’ve been spending time speaking to the children during the ministry outreaches and have been able to use my challenges with my shoulder as a helpful testimony and conversation starter.
Even though not being able to play sport with the children is extremely frustrating at times, the Lord redeems my situation by being able to connect with them.
I would really appreciate prayer for our outreaches to Mexico and the Virgin Islands, and of course my shoulder, that it will be restored back to being strong and healthy.
Thank you and God bless.
Jason van Wyk