In Colombia, the 12.2 team worked with a ministry and church by the name of City of Refuge (Ciudad Refugio). This ministry serves their local community in a variety of capacities, such as providing food, shelter and rehabilitation programs to the drug addicted and homeless, and running several feeding programs for children. While we there we also got a chance to work closely with Summit alumni, Gustavo Ruiz, Jamus Marquette and Adriana Uribe.
The ministry had our team run a sports camp for a week at the site of one of their feeding programs. This location is home to the second largest population of internally displaced children in Colombia, meaning they have been forced to leave their homes and now reside in a community consisting largely of makeshift structures. The United Nations has a school facility in the midst of this community that we were able to use for the week because we were training the children in soccer.
Every week the ministry reaches between 60 and 80 kids on Saturdays through the feeding program. On the first day of the soccer camps, over 115 kids lined up for registration, and by the end of the week close to 250 kids were participating in the drills and hearing from our coaches what it means to be more than an athlete. One of the great advantages the sports camp provided for the ministry was a reach to the older boys in the area who are less likely to come to the feeding program. Some of these boys even ended up attending the church at the end of the week!
With a language barrier and attendance numbers 5 to 6 times greater than normal, God was certainly our source of structure and order. We loved on kids and created a sense of teamwork and competition, but most importantly preached the gospel message and saw a large number of kids respond to this message