What is the Haitians’ favorite sport to play and watch? FUTBOL!! (Soccer in English). So.., if the Haitians are passionate about soccer, why not use this enjoyable sport as a vehicle to share Jesus Christ with them!
With this goal in mind, CIDM recently organized and sponsored a soccer tournament on the grounds of our leased facility. What a huge attraction, not only for the players, but also for the spectators.
Who Participated in the Tournament? Goats?
There were 6 teams in the tournament…(1) our own CIDM soccer team and (5) five teams from some of the public high schools that we teach bible classes in. To learn more about our high school bible teaching ministry, click here. Expanding God’s love from the classroom to the soccer field was the goal (an innovative and successful idea our Haitian staff and leaders had!) What’s this about goats?
Four Weeks of Fun Competition and Connection
The tournament ran for 4 weeks, with 2 games per week. Lots of healthy competition, fellowship, fun, laughter and new friendships were experienced during the tournament. Popular christian music and prayer were shared at each game, along with an invitation to check out our New Life Discipleship bible study every Saturday. The love of Jesus Christ was evident and inviting for all the new people who came to play and watch the games.
Enthusiasm mounted as the tournament continued, and one by one, teams were eliminated (including the CIDM team). It was exciting to see which two teams would play in the final championship game.
Although the CIDM team was not in the championship game, we were thrilled to have Trinite and Interfamilia high schools playing against each other. Anticipation was in the air as about 150 youth gathered to watch the final game, cheering their team on. After lots of skillful plays, and a close game of 2-1, Interfamilia high school won the championship game.
A Goat of a Prize
After the game, a celebration was held with music, sharing of the gospel, fellowship and fun. The two teams each received a live goat as their team prize. The winning team received a large mature goat, and the second place team received a smaller goat.
Now clearly, such a championship prize would not fly for us Americans; however, a goat is an awesome gift in the context of their own culture. Let me explain, and you’ll understand why…Each team would decide on one of at least three different options in how to best utilize the goat prize. First, they could slaughter and eat it as a team at a separate team party (goat meat is flavorful, and a real treat for Haitians to enjoy – Yum!). Secondly, they could sell the goat and divide the cash amongst each other (cha-ching). Thirdly, they could create more of a long-range investment by keeping the goat, feeding it, mating it, having offspring and creating a sustainable business with that one goat (double/triple cha-ching)! What option would you choose?
The soccer tournament was a huge success as Haitian youth saw that being a Christian can be fun in many ways. Our new friends are learning hope and joy are attainable through Christ Jesus, rather than emptiness and hopelessness that this world and their culture offers. Many are now attending the bible study through a genuine curiosity and desire to learn more. As they respond to the Holy Spirit, they will give their lives to Christ, being forever changed.