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The World Cup, Soccer, Poverty, West Africa, and the Massive Needs of One Competing Nation
Do you know where Ivory Coast, or Ivory Coast, on the west coast of Africa actually is? Take the time to find out if you’re not sure. I wasn’t exactly sure where Uganda and Kenya were until I went there to speak and teach at pastors and leadership seminars.
We are approaching the World Cup in South Africa and I have a real dilemma. Two months ago, I read about the appointment of the senior coach of the Ivory Coast football team and received the details of his contract. Some believe it is simply a sin!
How do they do it and why do I ask?
Well, Ivory Coast is now one of the poorest countries in this part of Africa, with an average salary of about two dollars a day. A little over a decade ago, Côte d’Ivoire was one of the wealthiest countries in West Africa, but it soon descended into poverty and turmoil. Poverty reared its ugly head.
Not going to say we live in a funny weird world, but we do.
The capital of Ivory Coast, Abidjan, was once prosperous and progressive. Today, prostitutes are a common sight on the streets as poverty drives people to desperate measures.
HIV and AIDS escalated at an alarming rate.
There is a project at one theological college to train pastors and leaders in how to help and minister to men and women with HIV and AIDS, and it is hoped that this project can impact sixteen other countries. Someone somewhere has a real vision to reach those who are really in need and offers and accepts this spiritual and practical initiative.
Such people can be easily drained and will require all available equipment and motivation.
One Christian leader made it so clear that HIV and AIDS is not just a disease of “sinners.”
There is news that the government is interested in using this project with a special focus on mothers and children. With slightly more resources, it gives the opportunity to have a big impact for the benefit of the entire country and even the region.
When people come to a real living faith in Jesus Christ and study the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures, they have a desire to serve those most in need in a very practical way.
When a serious illness affects self-esteem and motivation can quickly disappear.
Children are particularly vulnerable as they question their bodies, their rights and their future. Poverty has devastating effects.
One of the projects is busy teaching people to read, and when some discover the riches of the Bible, they notice that lives are changed in many ways.
Many struggle against such an uphill battle to combat conflict and injustice, striving to work for peace with the courage and love of the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ.
They want their nation to recover, become peaceful and stable.
As I watch the Ivorian national team play soccer at the World Cup in South Africa, I will be reminded of the circumstances of these players’ lives at home and the battle they will have to face in the cities, towns and villages. Yes, it is a battle and there are those who are so committed to the service that they will not give in or give up.
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