My name is Porman. I am a youth pastor of Bethesda Ministry, Batam. It is my belief that through sports like soccer, our youth would change for the better as they focus their energies on a sport that requires discipline and teamwork. It requires each team member to rely on each other and not on your own self.
The youths I deal with are from the slums. They get into all sorts of trouble. They fight. They hang around with friends who steal or smoke cigarettes, get addicted on drugs, computer games, alcohol, pornography or they just run away from home.
See the boys in the picture below. These boys are from the slums and they are the Joshua Soccer Club (JSC). The team was formed in early 2013. They like soccer but none had played soccer as a team and none had shoes to wear to play. We chose the name Joshua because Joshua was a brave warrior who was not easily discouraged, triumphing over all.
Picture of Joshua Soccer Club, Batam
How did all this happen?
It has always been in my heart to start a soccer team. But I did not know how to coach the boys nor did I know where to start. But we prayed.
Over in Singapore, around the same time, Pak Ditric from PPH Brethren Church was also praying. He is a man passionate about soccer who was already coaching a soccer team called the Teban Thunder. One day, he wondered if he should go to Batam. In his heart, he wanted very much to leave God’s legacy. But at this point, Pak Ditric didn’t know whether there was even a soccer team in Batam. People he asked said there was no soccer team. So Pak Ditric continued to pray.
Pak Ditric and I did not have to wait long. Things fell into place smoothly. Pak Ditric was to come over to Batam to train me so that I can coach the boys.
It was difficult for Pak Ditric. He could not speak Bahasa Indonesia so he needed me to translate for him. But most of the time he showed the techniques himself. The futsal pitch was much smaller. Pak Ditric said he was quite worried as he was trained in big soccer pitches. But he managed to change the exercises so that the boys could practise.
It was difficult for the boys too. They were quiet, they did not ask any questions and they had no discipline. They were also physically weaker than most boys their age. But yet they all came on time and continued to train.
Picture of boys training in futsal pitch. Most boys did not have shoes.
Slowly, we started to see changes. There are three boys who showed great changes in their character and attitude. These boys love soccer and have even saved up to buy their own shoes.
Oji is an attacker in the team. He used to be stubborn and used to love to fight. He is more controlled now and passionate and excited over soccer.
Pinter dreams of being a famous soccer player. Before joining the team, he thought this was an impossible dream. After joining the team, he is motivated to pursue his dream. He is a quiet person and hardly opens up to anybody. But after being part of the team, he is more open and speaks to everybody.
Billy is the goal keeper. He does not really know what to do to defend or catch the ball. But after training, he is more confident not only as a goal keeper but also in attitude. He even speaks in public now.
There are other boys who have also changed their outlook in life. They are more faithful in coming to church. But what was more amazing was the boys brought other friends to church as well.
Before every practice, we come together and one boy will pray. After every match, we pray again, for Pak Ditric to return safely to Singapore.
Pak Ditric also brought the captain of Teban Thunder, Hidayat and another team member, Rizal, to train the boys. These big brothers shared their stories of how they themselves had changed from being naughty to being disciplined and focused.
Picture of Pak Ditric, Hidayat and Rizal (of Teban Thunder) briefing Joshua Soccer Club
A few weeks ago we had a competition with a team of adult players from another kampung. Our boys were so small in size compared to them. But guess what? It was a draw! What a surprise it was for the boys! They were so happy!
In the middle of June, Joshua Soccer Club will be in a friendly competition with Tanjong Katong Secondary School, a school from Singapore.
In future, we hope to have a league in Batam among the schools and through this we hope to build strong relationships with our youths.
Joshua Soccer Club is living up to its name and the boys themselves show how they their triumph over difficulties to become strong, courageous warriors.
Story by Porman Samosir and Wong Kah Wei