“How can God be a good and loving Father if he took mine from me?”
Those were the words of 17-year-old Rachel from Malawi. After her father died, she was raised by her mother who worked hard washing clothes, fetching water, and cleaning pots to earn enough money to feed their family once a day.
Rachel would wake up at around 3am every morning just to wait in line at the well to get water to help her mother. Life was hard.
Things slowly began to change when Rachel was invited to play netball by a Sports Friends coach called Chisomo. Rachel loved playing, and joined the Bangwe Trinity Netball Team.
Rachel was the most respected player on her team, but she still felt an emptiness in her heart. From the time she was little, Rachel had attended a local church every Sunday but had never personally experienced the genuine love of God the Father. Rachel questioned her coach about the goodness and sovereignty of God;
“We struggle so much and live in poverty because we don’t have a father to bring home food and money to support us. How can the gospel be real if we struggle so much?” she asked.
Coach Chisomo embraced the awkward. Like many of us, she didn’t feel she had the perfect answer, but she continued to love, pray, and be a source of stability and encouragement. Rachel was wrestling with God, but she was not wrestling alone. Her coach was walking alongside her in these questions.
After netball practice one day, the Lord led coach Chisomo to share with her girls about how God is a good Father.
Coach Chisomo said: “Even if we don’t have a biological daddy any more, we have a much better heavenly Father who is the founder and creator of everything including you! He cares about you and sees you where you are now.”
It was in that moment that the gospel truly came alive to Rachel. She knew the truth.
It has not been an easy journey, but Rachel is thriving in Jesus and now captains the Bangwe Trinity Netball Team. She is excited to learn and even share her faith with her team-mates, now that she understands she has a good Father who loves her and has given her the Holy Spirit.
Rachel went from questioning and wrestling to knowing and loving the Jesus that her coach knew and loved. She is no longer Fatherless!
Through your generous support, Sports Friends-trained coaches are reaching more than 240,000 young people like Rachel each week.