– By Luke Johnson –
While Abi recovered from jet lag in Fredericton, New Brunswick, she marveled at the wide-open spaces of Eastern Canada. Having come from England, the sheer scale of the place in which she found herself was massive. “Things weren’t crammed together,” she recalls. It took time to get places – and not because of traffic. While the language was the same, the accent was different and so was the culture. “I had never eaten poutine before, but it was delicious.”
On the soccer/football field, Abi was comfortable coaching, encouraging, and playing, but she was less sure of herself when speaking in front of the children. “I wasn’t used to evangelism and giving my testimony in front of children. The first time was difficult. I just had to get through it. I’m not sure if it made sense to the kids. Charles [the Sports Friends missionary she was working with] helped coach me on how to be more effective, and it got easier.”
Along with daily ministry, Abi found other ways to connect with people in the community. She went to a Canadian backyard barbecue. She went hiking with a new friend. She joined a local running club. This led to some unexpected spiritual conversations. “Several people from the running club would hear my English accent, and ask, ‘What brought you to Canada?’ I was able to talk about Sports Friends, and the ministry I was involved in.”
When asked about her time with Sports Friends and how it impacted her personally, she has one word. “Prayer.” It was everywhere. “Charles would pray before meals, pray before ministry, pray with the children. Since returning to England, I’ve tried to add more prayer into my daily life. It reminded me that I can talk to God anytime about what’s going on. He’s ready and listening.”
One of the children that came to the soccer/football Sports Friends camp was a boy with special needs. During the first session, he didn’t want to get involved. He was crying. Abi could empathize. She had felt uncomfortable and stretched by some of her new experiences. She was able to take time to pray with him. “Slowly, he started to come out of his shell. He eventually connected with another boy that was at the soccer camp. It was exciting to see God answer my prayers for this child right before my eyes.”
If you’re looking to combine your love for sports and your love for Jesus in a ministry context, then one of our overseas internship placements could be the perfect opportunity for you. We also offer internships in the areas of administration, finance, communications, and mobilization. All interns will receive training and mentoring throughout their placement. Contact us at [email protected] to find out more or begin the process.