{Going to Kenya} #4 Sports Friends


On Tuesday the 5th, our team loaded up and drove to Kijabe, a little mission  town not far from Maai Mahiu, where we were staying.  Our leaders took our team to meet some of the missionaries living there and hear the stories of what God is doing in their various ministries.  (Sidenote: Kijabe is such a cool place.  I’m hoping to describe it in better detail in a later post.  Kijabe made me feel like I could move to Kenya too. *big grin*)

Our first meeting of the morning was at the home of Shane & Allyson Smith, a couple originally from Flower Mound, Texas, who spent five years in Ethiopia, and the last three years in Kenya.  Allyson works as a nurse practitioner in the Labor & Delivery department of Kijabe Hospital and with Student Health at Rift Valley Academy (RVA).  Shane is the director of the Kenya and Tanzania branches of a ministry called Sports Friends.  They have two daughters, one in college stateside, and the other in high school at RVA, and a son, Moses, who was adopted from Zambia, also an elementary student at RVA.

Our team with the Smiths
Our team with the Smiths


Allyson graciously gave us a tour of RVA, a world-renowned private boarding school for the children of African missionaries.  (I would like to take a moment to stop and admire that school.  It would be a huge privilege for anyone’s children to attend there.  Students come out of RVA speaking multiple languages, jumping into the mission field, and become world-changers.)

We then were able to sit down and listen to Shane share about his work with Sports Friends.  As many of you are aware, I’m really not a sportsing sort of gal.  I mostly just tolerate sports.  As Shane began to speak, I supposed I would just listen and politely nod and smile occasionally.  You know, for effect.

And then the Lord BLEW MY MIND, for the first of several instances on that fateful day in Kijabe.

Let me start with the basics.  Sports Friends is a ministry that was co-founded by a Harvard MBA graduate who felt God’s leading to start a ministry based on the use of sports as a medium to present the Gospel to young people.  Very simply, their mission is “to equip churches in Africa, Asia, and South America to make disciples of youth, their families, and their communities through strategic sports ministry.”  This ministry now serves 15 countries on four continents.  Please click on the link above for more specifics.

Charelle, Shane, & Josh
Charelle, Shane, & Josh


Shane began sharing stories of the CRAZY things God is doing in Africa.  He still gives visions, appears to people in dreams, and speaks out loud.  He still heals.  I could hardly believe that God is still moving in ways that sounded, well, Biblical.  Like miracles, signs and wonders.  Somewhere along the way, I guess I assumed that God left most of that stuff behind when they closed the Canon.  He somehow became a quiet, contained God.  And far too small.

As we walked away from the Smith’s home, I asked (exclaimed, maybe) Charelle, “What could this mean?  Why don’t we see this in America?”

Are we just so distracted?  Are we so deeply enmeshed in our pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of all the comforts, that He chooses not to display His might in such overt ways…Because we don’t need Him? Would we rather be comfortable, or experience the glory of the Father?

The stories of what God is doing through pure obedience and a soccer ball overwhelmed my thoughts and perspective.  He is moving in Muslim communities of Africa like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

This video on the story of David  leaves me covered in chills. Short and sweet. Every believer should see this. For the follower of Christ, how we can we not jump at the invitation to be involved in His magnificence?

Sports Friends: David from Sports Friends on Vimeo.

“Then he started to tell me, “You are my child.  From now on, you are mine and you have to live for me.”

If you are a sportsing fan of any kind, or if you’ve never cared about sportsing a day in your life, this is a phenomenal  ministry to contribute to and get involved with.  Short-term trips are available too.

About amy

Wife, boy mom, child of the King. Lover of coffee, fonts, words, tacos, and leggings.