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Communicating to children about childlike faith

For nearly 11 years have passed since the founding of the Christian soccer club "Nadia". And for 12 years – from the first Christian daytime camp, which took place on the street called Naberegnaya. Today, already on their own field, learners of the club and the other children, perhaps for the first time will hear the Gospel.

The general camps season of the IPO "Hope to people" has been opening once again namely a sports camp. So we decided to pay a visit to the field, in order to dip into its atmosphere a little bit and learn how and what is happening here.

"It was already a traditional summer camp, evangelistic - said Uncle Sasha, head coach of the CST (Christian Soccer Team) "Nadia." By using topical preaching, testimonies and theater miniatures, we have explained to the participants what FAITH IS."

Uncle Sasha, what was this time a soccer part? Everything was happening in the context of the entering the Ukrainian team "Dnepr" in the finale of the European League (LE), and we’ve decided to host in our camp, "a children's League of Europe." Team titles were appropriate to our tournament, but the measures of the game, of course, a lot less. We've started with small groups on a half of mini-football field, "three by three."

Please share some a good moment of the camp. A lot of good situations in games were when the guys were refusing to accept a foul play, unfair penalties, but on the contrary, they were admitting their violations of the rules, which the referee did not see.

I can see that there are girls on the field too. Yes, they are – always as a decoration for a soccer camps. There was a time when I did not want them to be a participants in such an events, but now without them the camp is not a real camp. They give kind of special tinge, flavor, tone and they are always more disciplined, neat, obedient, have a creative approach to everything. They were embellishing the locker room, and presented to me a lot of delicious candies, they earned a lot of bonuses, held a games.

What scene was the most enlightening in the camp? I've “got annoyed” with one boy. Firstly, he is small, secondly he is dynamic. That's why he's got a lot of yellow and red cards, I was tired to deal with him. But he did not respond adequately to any of the comments. So I decided to “excommunicate” him from the camp. The next day, when I announced this decision, everyone began to ask me to leave him. I agreed to that, but only under one condition: that someone will have to take on his guilt. And all of a sudden, more than a half of the children stepped forward, so that to reaffirm their willingness to submit to these conditions. It was beautiful episode, and we've talked about the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, about His grace, that it is the undeserved gift, that namely Christ did it toward us.

And who has helped you in this camp? All the Bible studies, except one, were held by the pupils of the club, "Nadia" – Ivan Pavlov, Andrey Dziurakh, Eugene Palchevsky and Dima Sosnowski. The other guys from the older team also helped and took part in the role of referees.

I’ve heard that you had a guest from Mariupol. Who was he? This is Alexander Kovalev, he trains the senior team in Mariupol. They used to come to us for the tournament. There's a team of all unbelievers guys. He came to take a look at how to work with the youngest group of children. He visited the training process with the biblical lesson. We hope that in Mariupol will also appear a children's team and we will be able to communicate more often and more closer.

Thank you.

Eugeney (graduate of the club, a member of the church "Community of Good Shepherd"), hello! What are your impressions of your own testimony, that you shared with children? :)

I was worrying a little bit, because it is a responsibility to talk about what i have experienced myself. I was supported by Tom Merchant, asking children questions after my speech. I also recounted a few cases from my past religious life, how God forgave me and turned to Him. I have tried to explain that not always, when you're playing in a team "Nadia" or attend a church, read the Bible or pray, you can be considered as a God's children.

As long as children are not being stirred up with a questions, they can be silent, ashamed or afraid. But if everything worked out then they will ask you questions, they are interested about life.

Margo (12 years old, one of the participants). Hi! Say a few words. How are you feeling yourself among the boys in the soccer camp?

Pretty good, it's still a Christian camp and here is nothing frightening at all. Besides, I like soccer.

And do guys treat you the same as if you were a boy or they take into account the difference?

They are unhappy only sometimes when they violate the rules or make me trip-up. But the uncle Sasha says keep on playing.

Vanya and Andrey (pupils of the club, church members of "Community of Good Shepherd" and now a ministers), i want to ask you too. What are your impressions?

It is difficult just because of it’s too hot, but the camp – It's fun. I'm watching the children, who are now 11 years old and I remember myself. It is a blessed time of peace for the service to children (Vanya says).

In former times older had served to us, now we serve to these children. We will hope that they later are to serve to another generation. But the most important thing is that they are getting to know Christ. It's nice to see the children's emotions, to see how they play soccer, listening and loving each other. Its coloring is brought by the girls too.

What kind?

We teach them, and they teach us – Ivan added. In general it's really complicated with them, but I'm learning – said Andrey.

The one of partakers – Eugeney Kogarko. Eugeney what are your impressions?

It was cool, we were well-fed and played soccer. Our team was called "Seville" and we won in this tournament.

What did you like in these lessons, what have you marked?

A study of the verses, biblical performances (quotes John 3:16).

What is the most did you find out about God?

That we should worship to Him and love our neighbor.

Tom Merchant – an American, who has lived for many years in Ukraine and he is leading the sports ministry. Tom, what is your most memorable moment?

The workers, the leaders. They were as the same young 8-10 years ago. We have the privilege to watch our former children as they become the leaders, and can work with kids and preach to a greater extent than we do.

In such a way was this camp and it's just a part of what we could write. The children has received a prepared gifts, there were no losers. The mugs with the words "Christian Soccer Camp" will decorate home of every child.

It was a blessed time, praise The Lord!

Interview was made by Artem Prystupa


Pray for Sports

 about the Christian soccer team “Hope”, Rivne (coach O.Gonchar) and the soccer team “Spring”, Mizoch (coach Y. Bondarchuk)

 about soccer ministry in Mizoch
 about personal relationships between coaches and their players
 about strengthening in faith and spiritual growth of boys who already repented
 about an opportunity to share the Gospel about Jesus Christ to the competitors, judges, and other coaches
 about God’s protection against injuries.

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