Early in 2016, Mark Geissbauer, International Director of the German sports ministry Kickoff to Hope, came to us with a request. Mark’s group had been asked by the First Vice President of Burundi to put together a youth soccer tournament as an initiative to promote peace in the country. Mark knew soccer well and was experienced at putting tournaments together. But, he was also asked to speak about peacemaking, a topic that put him on less familiar ground.
We helped Mark create a peacemaking presentation that he could share with a variety of groups. We arranged for him to receive permission to use copyrighted materials. And, we helped him think through how to involve Burundi’s churches and church leaders, a critical element in sustaining the project’s peacemaking goals into the future.
Twenty-two teams and six hundred athletes from around the country took part. Not only was the tournament a resounding success, but Mark’s peacemaking presentations were well-received. The leaders of the three largest denominations in the country agreed to partner together in sports ministry and community development as part of Kickoff to Hope’s national board in Burundi.
After the event concluded, Mark wrote to us:
“All our wildest expectations were exceeded and we truly were able to play an important part in helping to prevent a civil war in the country through soccer...THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for the incredible support you gave to make this vision a reality.”
For further information on Mark’s group and the Kickoff to Peace Cup, see the press release and slides below.
What about you? What doors is God opening to bring Christ-centered peace where you live? We would love to discuss your vision and help you figure out how to give it shape and direction. We are glad to get together by e-mail, telephone or Skype to consult on a wide variety of potential projects. There is never any cost or obligation. Please contact Chip Zimmer, SWG Managing Director.