At 12,800 feet, we were shivering in the little mountain town of Ayaviri, but the warm welcome we received was unlike any other. We were surrounded by a sea of toothless smiles, outstretched hands, and women shufﬂing around in five layers of skirts. We soaked it all in, realizing how much we were about to learn from this group of people.
We were here with Sports Friends, a ministry of SIM now in more than 40 countries, which has a vision to see local, church-centered sports ministries transforming the lives of youth and young people in the community. Today’s youth face huge struggles, but would this be the reality in remote, traditional Andean villages such as Ayaviri?
The response from the church leaders was overwhelming. “We’re losing the youth in our town,” they said. “This would be perfect! When can we start?” And, “I’m a church planter and this would be a great tool. It’ll be really important to use sports in a positive way and use them differently than the world does.” Their desire to adopt new tools to share the gospel and make disciples, speciﬁcally among the youth, was tremendous.
This is why we’re in Ayaviri - to share the vision of Sports Friends with the local church.
Sports Friends does not just enter a community and begin a sports programme. Rather, the local churches are trained and equipped to use the powerful platform of sports for intentional church planting, evangelism and discipleship ministries.
With approximately 48% of the population in Peru under the age of 24, and many of whom love football, volleyball and other sports - even high up in the Andes - sports is a magnet that attracts young people. It provides a perfect environment for building deep relationships that lead to Gospel-sharing opportunities.
Youth are the focus of Sports Friends both in Peru and around the world, but the impact goes much deeper into their family structures through intentional relationship-building strategies.
To support this project go towww.sim.ca/sports-friends-peru
Sports Friends Peru - PROJECT: PE 91153
This project covers the costs of training, leadership development, camping, sports equipment, Bibles and ministry materials. It works with the Peruvian church to develop an effective, fruitful, church-centered sports ministry movement. The focus is an effective, sustainable church-centered ministry.