Check in and security all went smoothly, and our flight to a layover in Miami got off as scheduled. Our team of 12 from First Evangelical Free Church are on our way to Medellin Colombia to work with CLUB DEPORTIVO UNIÓN CHRISTIANO. CDUC was founded in 1991 by Mark Wittig (a former member of First Free), to offer urban youths an alternative to the rampant gang and drug culture that dominated Medellin at that time.
CDUC, a donor supported non-profit, is recognized by the government of Medellin for its impact, and has grown substantially in 24 years. Currently there are 29 full-time sports staff, 88 soccer teams with over 1,700 youth from the most challenging neighborhoods of the city, a citywide soccer league, a sports complex with two soccer fields, and social enterprise businesses that help subsidize some of the work. This ministry combines the disciplines of soccer training, competition, and teamwork, with the benefits of spiritual renewal and mentorship.
Consider these highlights:
- 98% of participants have returned to school or remained in school
- 95% of participants do not participate in gangs or drug use during the year
- 82% of participants have reported an improvement in the quality of their home life
During seven full days in Medellin our projects will include:
- Assisting in a construction project related to the new CDUC conference and training center that is being built next to their soccer stadium
- Visiting a number of the soccer team practice sites, practicing with the kids, and sharing devotions
- Teaching marriage, devotional, and psychology workshops for the coaching staff
Thanks to generous contributions from First Freers, family, and friends, we raised over $16,000 to fund this project. A portion of the funds we raised may be used to purchase construction materials, soccer equipment, and facilities equipment such as an industrial tractor/mower for the soccer fields at CDUC.
Our goal as a team representing First Evangelical Free Church is to strengthen the relationship between our church and CDUC, to be genuinely useful to their ministry efforts while we’re there, and at the same time we hope that this will be a powerful ministry and cross-cultural learning opportunity for each team member.
Please pray with us during our trip for good health, safety, and fruitfulness in our labors. Watch this blog and First Free’s Facebook page for updates throughout the week!
Grace & Peace,