CAPE TOWN, South Africa (BP)–A team of Brazilian soccer players were busy on and off the soccer fields during the World Cup competition in South Africa, either teaching fancy footwork with a soccer ball or washing feet and handing out new pairs of shoes.
The volunteers from Brazil came to South Africa to help with a shoe distribution project through Samaritan’s Feet South Africa, an organization whose staff ministers to children and youth in townships by sharing Bible stories, washing feet and giving out new shoes.
The soccer players from Brazil also conducted soccer camps in townships through Living Hope, another Christian mission organization in South Africa. Townships are urban communities where many lower-income families reside.
“We’re blessed with having a team from Brazil come with Samaritan’s Feet,” Kevin Carter, a sports coordinator for Living Hope, said. “They are bringing their skills, personalities and attitudes to help run the soccer [camps] in each of the areas during the World Cup.”
Kevin Carter, a sports coordinator for Living Hope, voiced appreciation for the Brazilian volunteers “bringing their skills, personalities and attitudes” to the soccer camps.
The Brazilian players drew quite few area youth who were inquisitive about the athletes and wanted to be around them, giving the soccer players and Living Hope volunteers more chances to build relationships and reach more children.
“These are Christian players so the kids are surrounded by Christian adults and good role models,” Carter said. “It really just sets the scene for the devotion and enables the children to concentrate on the message.”
As part of the Samaritan’s Feet South Africa distribution project, the team helped give out hundreds of pairs of shoes to youth in the townships, prayed for the youth and encouraged them to follow their dreams.
“The shoe is a symbol of hope for each child to think what their dreams are and to work toward those dreams with Christ in their lives,” Carter said.
Jacob Alexander is a writer for the International Mission Board’s global communication team.