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2017: year of the soccer ministry

One more year of the soccer ministry has drawn to a close. By grace, this year was filled with many events, and all they came from God's hand. This was the year of uneasy trials, joyful victories, annoying defeats, vivid testimonies and unexpected discoveries. The Lord has granted us a lot of exciting moments this year, about which I will try to write here.

I'll start with the junior team "Nadia Kids" which is the newest project for us, and it exists only one year. The group is made up of children aged 4 to 6 years. During the year, twice a week, and then three times a week trainings were attended by anywhere from 8 to 18 and sometimes up to 20 children. The main "contingent" is the children of believing parents or of parents attending evangelical churches, but there are also children from the "world." One special feature of the trainings for kids is a short length of time of training, which usually takes maximum 45 minutes. This is associated with the physical abilities of the "tots," and we focus our attention mainly on mobile games, games for coordination and "familiarity" with the ball. During the training, we usually have a break for 10-15 minutes, and conduct a Bible lesson. We try to explain them just the simple gospel truths, using various subjects and short stories of life and sport, as well as we try to lay a good foundation, and one of them is unimpeachable authority of God's Word. Sometimes it is very easier, considering the contingent (children know a lot from the Sunday school), but sometimes it gets really complicated, because only theoretical knowledge without the practice of life does not affect the behavior, but we work hard, pray and hope that now the foundations is laid for the future of “Nadia.”

We continued to recruit children of 2006-2009. Last year, they were trained by Andriy Dzyura, after his departure, the group “by inheritance” was passed down to me. This training begins immediately after the "Kids." We have anywhere from 20 to 25 children coming on a regular basis, most of them are just rookies in soccer and in the Bible, so the classes are held in full swing, filled with information and fun. Likewise, the hardest part is that the discipline at our training activities supposed to be started "from the scratch," although the boys listen to the Word of God with a great interest and tend to keep everything in mind. Actually, I made sure of that myself recently, when I began to read the story of Zacchaeus. One of the boys said: "Uncle Sasha, we have read it already two a month ago," "Well, I said, if you read it, please recite it to me, at least in general. Oh boy, I cannot even express how surprised I was, when most of young soccer players shared this story so accurately and have drawn out of it the right conclusions! Thank God that His Word is sown and does not fade away from the children's hearts, we believe that it will do its work and we will definitely see His fruits.

The following group is a Dima Sosnowski's group. There are boys of 2004-2005 birth years, the youngest team from those playing the championship of the Rivne region. There are 16 - 20 steady players. Dima runs a tight ship and takes everything very seriously, he is a responsible man. Last spring, he received a coaching diploma, and was on a missionary trip to Odessa region in the spring time as well, where he helped to Oleh Sharapov for the whole month working with “Joy” Soccer Club. He has the good credibility among the boys, loves God, and treats his team with a humble and loving heart, so that the guys can feel it. In the fall, we turned with a request to the Major League of the DYSL, where we play with the best teams of the region, playing against special classes and sports clubs. There were two draws, one win and three losses, and these are not the worst result in such an authoritative company, but most importantly –we constantly try to display that we play for God, and the best teams of the region see it. Our traditional prayer on our knees before the matches does not surprise anybody, although, at times, it gives room for the evil jokes, as a result some coaches started wondering what our belief is, which church we are from, and if everybody believers in our team.

We still played last season with senior children's and youth teams, where Roma Cymbal helped me very well, and if there were no special successes in the sport, we have experienced many blessings in spiritual area. In the spring, two boys from the older team got baptized in our church! Two other boys who declared openly about his repentance, would joine to them. There is a prayer need for their parents, because they do not care much about the belief of their sons. They are facing real challenges.

I'd like to make a special point of emphasizing on the adult team, whose coach is Alexey Lupenko. This season, we have achieved the greatest success in our club's history. We won the Second League of Rivne region and went on to the finals of the Cup of Rivne region! In fact, the win-win series in the championship lasted 25 matches! “Baptists” are the best, way to go guys!!! Often time, we've heard something similar from fans and judges. We are very pleased with it, the most of the players are the pupils of our children's team, many of them are believers, so speaking about behavior, obedience and the fulfillment of coach's instructions there was no problem whatsoever on the playing field.

Yet, in this year we had camps, trips to Zalessia, Christian soccer tournaments, excursions. Each time, at every our meetings and at every event, we always take time for fellowshipping with God through prayer and Word; we spent a lot of time focusing on conversations and the practical application of God's truths, continuing to pray for our players and coaches.
We are very thankful to our Lord for the blessed year that he has bestowed us with!

Alexander Honchar


Pray for:

Pray about the situation in eastern Ukraine;

Pray for wisdom and fear of God for the new government in Ukraine;

• Pray for God's mercy for the whole Ukrainian people;

Pray for the situation in Ukraine to solve the conflict in a peaceful way;

• Thank God for the blessings of holding Christian camps, excursions, and trips throughout the summer in different cities of Ukraine 

• About missionary work among Muslims in Central Asia and among Crimean Tatars in Ukraine;

• About the orphans ministry and graduates of orphanages in Rivne region;

• About preaching the gospel to the Christian teachers through the pedagogical magazine “Word to the Teacher”;

• About the students of Rivne Bible College and the School of Biblical preaching “Word of Grace” so that they can apply their knowledge in their churches.

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