Peace, Unity, and Soccer

Feb 10, 2014 | Sports Friends Africa, Sports Friends Nigeria

By Ashley Sullivan, SF International Support Services, U.S.

Meet John (left) and Moses.


These men are my Sports Friends co-workers, and I had the awesome privilege of hanging out with them for two weeks in January while visiting their home country of Nigeria.

In many ways, John and Moses are pretty similar to me:

Both are married and have hopes and dreams for their families. All three of us posses a passion for sports and kids. We enjoy many of the same activities, and for 14 days we had a wonderful time playing games and sharing meals together. Each of us is trying to live a life that honors Christ.

And yet for all of our similarities, one of the more obvious differences between us is that I live in America, and they live in Africa.

More specifically, they live in West Africa, in Nigeria – the 14th most persecuted nation for Christians on the planet. (

You would never guess by spending time with any of the Sports Friends Nigeria staff that they live in a volatile place. While they certainly understand the challenges of violence and religious tension currently troubling their country, they’re not overly discouraged or afraid.

In fact, those challenges are why they do what they do.

During one of the final nights of our trip, my dear friend, Bryan, and I watched a video together. I had seen it before, but watching it in Nigeria with Moses and John just down the hall was like seeing it with a brand new set of eyes.

These aren’t just some random people on the screen, they’re my friends.

This isn’t just any African village, this is a nation where I left a part of my heart.

And this isn’t just a video, this is REAL.

Photo by Austin Mann

Better than I ever could, this video tells the story of who Sports Friends Nigeria is:

Light in the darkness.

Peace in the destruction.

Unity in the discord.

It’s amazing what God can use a soccer ball to do.