A former international basketball player is winning souls for Christ by bringing the power of sports to isolated communities in Madagascar.
The team from the Church Sports and Recreation Ministries (CSRM) fly with MAF to remote towns with football, basketball, coaching skills and heaps of enthusiasm. Their approach attracts hundreds of sports-mad young people and allows the team to share the Gospel in a relevant way.
Meeting leisure needs with sports
Njaka, a former basketball player who represented Madagascar, said their visit created a huge buzz in the community when MAF flew them to the Melaky region. “Once they (the children) saw the soccer balls that we brought, they came to see us, and we invited them to play with us. Bringing soccer balls with us is a good approach for our ministry,” he said. Many of the locals and elders of the community came to watch the games they played.
Njaka explained that sports meets the community’s leisure needs, which is a great and fun way to open people’s hearts and an opportunity for them to share the Good News with the community. In the evenings, after a long day of playing sports, they would receive about 50 people for more teaching sessions and project the Jesus Film for them to watch.
Flying Bibles with MAF
“We also brought two boxes of Bibles with us. The one box was distributed at the airport when we arrived. The other was handed out when we went to church. Then, later, the MAF flight that came to pick us up brought 12 boxes of Bibles which were shared at the airport. This also helps to build strong relationships with the local community so that they may join us again the next time we visit!” Njaka said. They even shared the word of God to a local leader who later became a Christian and to whom they offered a Bible so that she may grow spiritually even after the team’s visit.
A trip to the Melaky region by road takes about a week at best, so, the team was thankful to have partnered with MAF and are looking forward to future projects with us.
“MAF makes our ministry easier in terms of transportation. It is very helpful for the trips. MAF helps ministries in many countries around the world, mainly to the isolated places that needs the gospel, and we are very appreciative for that. We thank God and MAF for everything we achieved,” Njaka said.
Reflecting on past missions
CSRM has partnered with MAF in Madagascar since 2019 and Njaka reflected on his favourite moment from their most recent trip in 2022, where the team built valuable connections.
“Last time, the principal of a high school heard that we were coming. So, they invited us to come and share the Good News to the students. This was around the same time as the school sports tournament finals between the different schools in the areas surrounding. So, there were over 200 students who attended our sharing sessions. At the end, most of the students responded to the teachings and raised their hands, committing to following Jesus Christ.” Said Njaka.
CSRM plan to go back to the same region this year to continue what they started. “Last time, we left soccer balls, Bibles and training materials to the leaders so that they may continue the ministry even after our departure. But we also want to return for a follow-up to give more spiritual growth and support to the leaders,” Njaka said.