“With feet unsure I still keep pressing on for I am guided by the faithful one” – Cliff Richard, “Faithful One”
My name is Ditric. I have been going to Batam to train boys from the slums to play soccer.
Perhaps you have heard about the Joshua Soccer Club (JSC) when we were first featured in this blog.
There were many struggles when we first started but God’s all-encompassing embrace of grace covered us. The boys are poor. If they were left on their own, the world of drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, video games and pornography would have taken over. We wanted sports to give them focus, discipline and above all, a team they belong to. The boys were small in size for their ages and most did not have dreams that grew beyond the slums they lived in.
But they came faithfully for training. I continued to coach them with my friend, Porman, who acted as my interpreter. I was also training Porman to coach as he had little experience in coaching. The boys gradually built up their skills and their passion for soccer grew. They were more disciplined and focused. But best of all, they grew as children of God – praising and following Him.
In June 2014, Harpreet of Hebron Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore contacted me. Harpreet was in-charge of the Hebron Soccer Team. They had heard of the Joshua Soccer Club and were keen on a friendly game. What a great idea! It was not an easy process to fix the dates, but God opened the door and we managed to set 30 Nov 2014 for our game in Batam.
We were all excited about the game. So far, JSC had been training for Futsal soccer (5 players per side). They were not ready for the 11-a-side game. So I stepped up training and discovered that one more training session on 12 Nov was required before the game.
On 12 Nov, as I approached the field and expecting 16 boys of JSC waiting for me, I got a shock! There were a total of 26 boys there. Who were they? Porman said that the JSC boys brought their friends. The additional boys were from the slums too. Immediately I looked up to the sky to thank God. And immediately also, my doubts started to creep in.
How am I train all these boys for the 30 Nov game? The new boys were not trained at all which meant I had to train them from scratch while the boys whom I had been coaching required my immediate attention to get ready for the game. How could I give both groups my best?
An overwhelming sense of defeat slowly descended on me. Then, I remembered the song “Faithful One”. With my feet unsure, even as I know how tough it was going to be, I will press on guided by a Faithful God. My heart and mind focused on what He had given me to do my very best. God will take care of the rest. As He provides, He will also give me the faith to carry on.
At the end of the training, I was exhausted mentally and physically. But the training had gone well. God was with us.
The challenges we faced in getting the game organized was not just the training. We could not even get the field to play the game. Three weeks before the game, we were told the field we had booked at Batam Stadium was booked for another event. We looked for many other venues but there were not many 11-a-side soccer fields in Batam. We could not postpone the game as some boys from Hebron Soccer Team were going on another outreach trip in December.
I prayed. Surely, God would provide. A few days later, we found another field which was better than the one at Batam Stadium.
On game day, I made my way to Batam on the ferry. The sky was overcast. The weather in the afternoons leading to the game had been thundery and rainy. I prayed with all my heart that God would give us a pocket of time for the game and for the boys to get to know each other. By the time the game started, there was no sun, no rain but it was cool. An excellent day for a game of soccer.
Joshua Soccer Club boys briefed by Porman just before the game
Joshua Soccer Club meets Hebron Soccer Team
Joshua Soccer Club (in blue jersey) and Hebron Soccer Team (in orange jersey)
JSC lost 4-1 but the fellowship between JSC and Hebron Soccer Team was beautiful. There were no injuries and everyone enjoyed the game. The average ages of the boys from Hebron Soccer Team was 19 years old and the ages of the boys from JSC was between 12-16 years old.
After the game was over, we received another wonderful surprise. Hebron Soccer Team presented the JSC boys with bags and bags of new shoes, jerseys, shin-guards and so on. Harpreet also presented a love gift to JSC on behalf of Hebron B-P Church. This was to encourage the JSC boys to continue playing and training in soccer.
Hebron Soccer Team’s captain (Andrew) presented a Fellowship Flag to JSC (Piter)
At the end of the day, we sat and chatted. Harpreet suggested we have more games in the future in Batam and Singapore. He also said that some of the JSC boys had great potential in soccer. He said we could continue our links and if God makes it possible, perhaps some of the boys could join competitions in Singapore.
With what God gave me, prompted by a soft, sure whisper, I started out with a mission to reach out to as many boys from Batam as I could through coaching soccer.
Now, “…I will lift my hands in praise for all you’ve done. And I will worship you, faithful one.”
Story by Ditric Pang and Wong Kah Wei