There's more to life than rugby

Rebecca Rempel | South Africa

The Coca Cola Craven and Academy Week is an under-18 provincial rugby tournament that takes place every July in Durban, South Africa. Representing their home provinces, the best rugby players from all over the country come together for the weeklong competition.

The tournament presents a unique opportunity for ministry. Sport for Christ Action South Africa (SCAS) has been sending a team to the tournament for over 20 years; going to serve the players with the love of Christ, both practically and spiritually. For the past two years OM SportsLink has joined them to spread the Good News. 

“It’s important for SportsLink to participate in events like this because the elite athletes are sometimes forgotten when it comes to ministry,” explained Josh Herb, OM South Africa SportsLink leader. “Players at this tournament are some of the best players in South Africa, so their identity is in rugby, and rugby alone. For one week we get the opportunity to show them that there is more to life than rugby; that Jesus desires to be in a relationship with them.”

Having attended the tournament for the last two years, Josh typically split his time equally between all the players assigned to him. This year however God placed one individual on his heart and provided ample time for conversation with him. They discussed how Christianity is more than just a belief, but is where a person’s identity comes from. 

Another highlight for Josh was connecting with more coaches and staff than in previous years. 

“This year I got to speak with them a lot,” said Josh, “which can be a lot more valuable because they spend more time with these boys than I ever will.”

Planting seeds

“Interacting with the players and coaches has shown me just how important this ministry and sport chaplaincy is,” Josh shared. “The players, even at the age of 18, go through a lot to play on these teams. Their life is consumed by rugby…for a lot of the players people don’t even see them as people. So when we come and love them it stirs up something inside of them. Thousands of seeds are planted during the tournament and sometimes players come back the next year allowing you to build on the relationships you have already made.” 

“As long as I am living in South Africa I will continue to do this outreach simply to show players who Christ is and that there is more to life than rugby.”

Praise the Lord for the doors that were opened throughout the tournament to talk with the players and staff! Pray that the seeds planted will be nurtured and grow. 

Published: Wednesday, 02 November 2016
Credit: Rebecca Rempel
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