New Blog Series.
Earlier this year we brought you a short series of blogs on three of our members that work for PCI in very different roles, and we had an insight into the wider work of our church on a day to day basis.
Today we are starting a new series highlighting some of our members that work for different organisations and charities around the world but they are all connected through belonging with us at Trinity Boardmills. Whilst they are the ones that go, we play our part too in financial and prayerful support and encouragement for their calling.
Andrew has worked with Sports Academy George since January 2017, but as of January 2020 he and his wife Anna will be moving to South Africa to work full time with SAG.
The Sports Academy works with underprivileged young people living in the townships of George, South Africa. They run a 5 year program providing every pupil with sports coaching, biblical discipleship and a secondary school education. Through their program they seek to develop each pupil physically, mentally and spiritually so that they will grow to be the Christian leaders who will advance God’s kingdom in the townships of George.
So before they move we wanted to find out a bit more from Andrew.
When did you first know you wanted to do your current role?
From getting married in 2018, it was always a matter of when we would go to South Africa as opposed to if we would go to South Africa. One of the major confirmations for going was that both Anna & I had unity in this decision. We both believe in the work of SAG and both feel equally called to play our part in the discipleship of these young lives. Probably the only area of doubt was what would Anna do. Anna will openly admit that she isn’t an avid sports coach but she is passionate about counselling and walking young people through their mental health issues. In August, when the SAG leadership met with myself and asked would Anna become the head of Pastoral Care alongside our discipleship role – we knew that God had answered prayer!
Tell us about a funny moment that happened to you at work.
Working with young people from different backgrounds always provides funny moments. During their 5 years with us, all of our pupils get the opportunity to tour Northern Ireland. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had our netball team over. They had an amazing time but one of the nights we went go karting. As with many things in Northern Ireland, this was a completely new experience for the girls. Watching the girls attempt to navigate around the course is genuinely one of the funniest things I have ever watched! To top it off…We had it booked for 1 hour and a half but after 15 minutes, we had to cancel because the go-kart marshals said that it was the most dangerous night he had experienced in 15 years!!!
When have you witnessed a real impact that your work has had in someone else’s life.
It’s hard to single out one person out of so many people but the story of Booysen is one that always stands out for me. Like many young people Booysen joined us struggling with his identity. His father was an alcoholic and his family were often struggling as his father regularly spent the family money to control his addiction. Through his 5 years with us, we watched Booysen grow into a man. We supported him throughout his education and provided him with a bursary so that now he is one of the only people in his township who is studying at university. More importantly, Booysen came to faith when he was in our program and very quickly, he had a passion to share this hope with others. Booysen used the same discipleship material that we use at SAG to start his own small group within his school class. Leading several of them to faith! Booysen is just one small example of how God can use SAG to change the townships of George!
What is it that gives you the drive to keep doing what you do?
What gives us the drive is that we see the difference we’re making. Ministry is tough and at SAG we have faced some very difficult times in the last year. We’ve witnessed a murder of one of our boys & the assaults of two of our staff members living in the townships. There are definitely times were you feel overwhelmed, frustrated and even confused with God but what drives us on is that we know that we’re making a difference. In this past year, despite all the difficulties, we have witnessed 16 young people come to salvation. This is a clear sign that God is moving and that we are to keep serving!
Is there anything you would like to say to your supporting congregation at Trinity?
First of all, Thank you! Without many of you praying for me, teaching me in Sunday School and looking out for me throughout my teenage years – I wouldn’t be here today! Secondly, I know we are just starting out on this journey but I truly believe that we are all in this together. Anna & I are the ones who will go but we cannot go without the support of Trinity Boardmills. We cannot go without your prayers, words of encouragement, guidance and obviously financial help. We all play a part in the Gospel being proclaimed and disciples being made within the townships of George!
Find out more about the charity here: www.sportsacademygeorge.com