By Dr Uvoh Onoriobe
Here is how the story goes...
I visited Swaziland with Joyce Meyer's Hand of Hope about three years ago on medical mission. While there, I was moved to tears to see children playing with a bundle of rubber. It was their best attempt at making their own soccer ball. When I returned from that trip, I made calls to friends to collect used and new soccer gear on Facebook. Sonja Denise, a kindhearted Christian lady responded immediately and donated some soccer balls for the children in Swaziland. I took one ball with me on a mission to Northern Nigeria last year.
While treating dental patients, a young boy caught my attention. He was about six years old and was selling peanuts. It occurred to me that the ball belonged to him. I beckoned on him to come, that I had a gift for him. He ran away. He did not trust this stranger dentist. He thought I wanted to extract his teeth. Long story made short, I gained his trust and he agreed to come get the ball.
He dropped his wares at home and returned with some friends. It then occurred to me that the soccer ball was the tool to show the kids about Christ love. We could not share the gospel openly. I put out a little competition and soon enough every child there was following me.
The girls were not left out. Salisu did not participate in the competition as I had decided the gift was his. He did not need any works to own it. He took the ball and ran home with it. A few minutes later he returned having taken his bath accompanied by some friends. Salisu would come to me every day with more children who wanted a ball. Through him I reached so many children.
We gave some money to cover all the peanuts that he was selling. He smiled so big and throttled home.
The next day, he came with 2 packs of peanuts for his favorite dentist. Now that we found love, what am l going to do? Now I want Salisu to go to school and get an education. I want to form soccer ️ teams in Salisu’s community.
It’s been 4 months since I promised to return to Azare to start a sports outreach. Through one boy Salisu, I now have many friends. Birthed in Azare, the dream of engaging children through sports has taken us to Toro, Jos, Bauchi and Warri. Thanks to all that have pledged their support.
Thanks to all that continue to make this possible. The Lord reward you abundantly. Our vision is to engage the youth in Nigeria via sports. I pray that the lives we have touched, will be impacted for good. Blessings -Uvoh Onoriobe
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