When I was ten, I wrote an autobiography (I must have thought I’d had a pretty exciting life for a ten-year-old!)
Almost 20 years later, I stumbled across it while sorting through some old boxes. I was approaching my 30th birthday and found myself in a season of comparing my life with that of my peers – many of whom were married, had mortgages, and were climbing career ladders to ‘high and mighty’ places.
I, on the other hand, was raising financial support to continue serving in South East Asia as a mission worker with SIM – I had no rich husband, no mortgage, no career ladder… not even a dog!
I remember questioning whether I’d made a mistake by going down the missionary path: Should I have joined a graduate programme after university? Wouldn’t I have more money, comfort and security if I’d stayed in the UK and got a ‘proper’ job? I picked up my childhood autobiography and began to read.
At the end, there was a section entitled ‘The Future’, with the following written underneath: When I grow up, I either want to be an artist or do something sporty, but I’ll probably change my mind when the time comes!
I’ve no recollection of writing these words and in fact, I went in a different direction altogether – studying Modern European Languages and Linguistics at university, with a year teaching English in Austria, before two years’ sailing the high seas as a cruise ship photographer.
Yet, 20 years later, there I was doing perhaps one of the few jobs in the world that perfectly combines both art and sport in the role of Communications Director for SIM’s Sports Friends ministry, which uses sport as a platform to share the gospel with young people, their families, and their communities.
Sports Friends trains coaches from local churches.
Sports Friends partners with 11,600 local churches in 19 countries.
350 new churches have been planted though Sports Friends in the past 7 years.
42% of the global population are under age 25.
Almost 300,000 young people have been helped by 13,000 coaches.
Donate £12 to provide a Sports Friends coach with a ball for his or her ministry team.
I felt God confirming to me that I had indeed made the right choice and that his hand had been on my life to bring me to this very point – with no mistakes and no need for comparisons.
He had worked through my own attempts to find meaning in a ‘dream’ job travelling the world at sea; through the life and death of my mum; to the realisation it was time to use the gifts and talents God had given me for something greater than myself.
I reflected on my life at the time – dodging through traffic on my moped ride to work; the bustling markets full of friendly people and incredible food; meaningful work shared with colleagues spread across five continents; a Bible study group with eight women from seven different countries… Life was rich – I was rich – but in ways contrary to what the world tells us.
Perhaps you’re like I was and questioning whether the challenges and sacrifices of following God’s call into missions are worth it? As missionary doctor Helen Roseveare once said: Don’t ask, ‘Is it worth it?’ but rather ‘Is he worthy?’ and I promise you, you’ll find that the answer is a resounding YES!
- Praise God that 150 young, new believers have come to faith in Christ through sports camps in Ghana. Pray their faith will grow so they can share the gospel with their friends and families.
- Give thanks for the 13,000 Sports Friends-trained coaches who are bringing hope, peace and Christ’s love to their communities.
- For God to open doors for Sports Friends to move into new areas that are least reached with the gospel.