Chris Welman www.sportingmarvels.com
With the educationalists singing their praises from the rooftops, the influence of the amazing Sporting Marvels project is both enormous and ever-growing.
Already in relationship with thousands of young people from every corner of the Rhondda Valleys, the dynamic Sporting Marvels workers are strategically placed to model right living, strong character and the Christian lifestyle.
The kids are responding in their droves, all keen to emulate their heroes, the coolest people in town!
As agents of transformation, the Marvels are changing the way a generation of young people think; about themselves, about others, about their community.
As the youngsters are encouraged to take responsibility for their own choices, the “I’m not, I can’t” culture is being replaced by “I am” and “I can”. Standards of behaviour are improving as attitudes change and hope and self-esteem soar. Everywhere you look, the Marvels are a positive influence for good.
It’s an amazing track record! Shortly to begin its sixth school year, Sporting Marvels partners with a half of Rhondda’s schools and has seventeen workers in post; a team drawn from seven different countries! Through them, the Christian message and the love of Jesus has become everyday normal to thousands of young people who otherwise, may never have heard the Good News.
And all this in a place with the smallest proportion of regular church attenders in the Christianized world!
And what’s more it’s taken more than a million pounds to reach this point; in an area the 2001 Census declared the poorest part of the United Kingdom!!
How has it happened?
Ask the men behind the work and their answer is short and sweet; faith and love. “When Scripture says that ‘the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love’, you have to sit up and take notice”, they say.
Who can argue? Who would want to argue?
Sporting Marvels is a truly outstanding example of the Great Commission being fulfilled out the Great Commands; love your neighbour and “Do unto others” a core, foundational element stitched into every level of the project.
But in the war for the hearts and minds of a generation, there are many battles to be fought. A half of the area’s schools have yet to benefit from Sporting Marvels. Another fifteen workers are needed. And that will require a budget of more than £600,000 a year.
But God has given a strategy, an outstanding strategy. The seed is being dispensed in unprecedented quantities and, all over the world, the mighty Delta Force – an amazing army of Prayer Warriors – go into intercessory
battle nurturing and watering the seed.
The project’s key church partners are all busily going about fashioning a new wineskin. They know the harvest is coming. The signs are there.
Community transformation is coming to the Rhondda Valleys.