Tough Love: A Year in the Making

Oct 15, 2014 | Sports Friends Perú, Sports Friends The Americas

By Aaron Gustavo Olivares Stuva and Lindsay Geverink, SF Perú

We just celebrated the one-year anniversary of our sports ministry program. As we reflect back on the past year, we can’t believe the challenges and difficulties God has brought us through. We have so many reasons to be thankful.


At the beginning, it was a huge challenge to find and invite young people to join our practices. We started with boys and teenagers of various ages, unsure about what to do with the variety of skill levels. New kids came and then left when they realized they were being instructed in God’s Word as well as in sports. We made attempts to reach new young people from different areas and schools, which was great for diversity but difficult for teammate relationships.

However, with all of these various obstacles, one of the most difficult things for me was dealing with the boys’ behaviors.

Many times, I had to discipline the boys a great deal in their attitudes, such as lack of respect for others, the use of vulgar language, and obscene gestures. On various occasions, the boys came to practice unmotivated and with horrible perspectives. They only wanted to play soccer; not to improve their soccer skills or listen to God’s Word. They were extremely rebellious.


One Saturday, I had finally had enough of their misbehavior. One of the boys was being aggressive with a teammate due to a build-up of misunderstandings, jealousy, and envy. I was so upset, I stopped the boys in the middle of practice, sat them down and started to address the issue. While I was talking to them, I remembered something a Sports Friends leader told me.

He said, “A father is loving and kind with his children, but there are also occasions for correction.”

In this moment, God helped me understand that the boys needed a great deal of love and it was the lack of love in their lives that was causing these fights and poor relationships.

I cancelled the rest of practice, and as they went home that day, I wasn’t sure what would happen with the boys.


However, the next day, most of them came to church and then to practice the following week. I continued to talk to them about this issue, with even more Godly focus on the subject. Little by little, I started to see changes in their lives and continue to see God working in their hearts today.

There are so many stories of changed lives amongst the boys on our soccer team – I am completely amazed at how God has united our team, brought forth leadership, and built friendships among the boys. It is only God’s love, guidance and power that could accomplish such a great task.

God has continued to remind us that it doesn’t matter how many or how few kids attend (although He has most certainly blessed us in number as well), but it’s the transformed lives that matter most.

What a blessing it is to instruct these boys and be a part of their lives. Thank you, Father!