Middle East school connects with sports ministry nonprofit
While serving at a Nazarene school in the Middle East, *Genesis helped to connect the school with a local Christian nonprofit organization that is now offering football (soccer) clinics on Saturdays to the students, as well as local refugee children.
The school welcomed the organization to use its space on Saturdays to provide the clinics to interested students, as well as a number of Sudanese children living in the neighborhood whose families fled to the country as refugees from war in their home country.
Each Saturday, the coaches talk to the boys about a value like “respect” or “cooperation” and how to implement it in their everyday lives. They also thread this theme through that day’s soccer training.
“We’re hoping to do more days next year,” Genesis said. “It was a trial for a month, but it’s been almost two months. They want to do an official agreement with us. So we’ll probably pursue that.”
The clinics are only offered for boys (for now), as boys and girls in this culture often do things separately. So, the organization is discussing offering a sports clinic for girls, or self-defense classes.
Originally from Argentina, Genesis’ parents served the Church of the Nazarene in several countries, including Mozambique. She grew up adapting to and enjoying a variety of cultures, sometimes living in areas with a high percentage of people who follow other religious traditions.
Following graduation from a master’s program in the United States, she expressed a desire to serve refugees in a cross-cultural setting. The Eurasia Region welcomed her to a major city in the Middle East. In her first year there, Genesis has found her multicultural background – as well as her Argentinian heritage – to be an advantage in understanding and adapting to the Arabic context.
On Fridays, she attends a Spanish-speaking congregation where she met people from across South America, including Brazil and Argentina. That’s how she befriended the families who run the nonprofit organization. The organization serves the community by teaching English, Spanish, graphic design, sewing, and other skills or activities.
They were considering adding football clinics for Sudanese refugees when Genesis told them about the need for extra support at the Nazarene school. They wanted to help. They had also been looking for a good space to host their football clinics, and the school has the space they need.
"They want to invest in the school and they know other people who would invest in the school,” Genesis said.
*Full name and location omitted for security reasons.
A version of this story originally appeared in Where Worlds Meet.