Aug 11, 2023 | 4 min read | Dave Patty
Every boy needs a Father.
For most teenage boys, church is not particularly exciting. Sitting and listening quietly is not on the top of their list of aspirations. Young men are drawn to action, to challenge, and to older men who model the kind of person they want to become.
Ranno and Kuldar are just those kinds of men. Several years ago, they became burdened as they saw young boys in Estonia growing up without the spiritual leadership and challenge of godly men. They began developing an innovative sports ministry called “Edge” so they could bring the father heart of God to teenage boys.
Using soccer and disc golf, they gather groups of young men into healthy activity and competition. However, these sports are just the context for shaping character and sharing the good news of Jesus. The clubs meet weekly throughout the year, but summer is a special time for intensive investment through five outreach camps.
This summer, one of the camps was in the town of Risti, where they gathered 30 young boys for a week. The environment was simple—they all slept in the gym of a local school and practiced soccer on the fields during the day. Kuldar and Ranno poured their hearts into the young men, teaching them skills, challenging them in areas of character, and introducing them to a personal relationship with Jesus.
Using an innovative “labyrinth” at the end of the week, the boys encountered the main points of the gospel in an experiential way.
At the first station, they wrote the hopes and dreams they had for their lives. The next station offered them a piece of garlic bread that smelled good, but had a disappointing taste with way too much salt. This was a reminder that their best dreams and hopes would not sustain them—they needed a more durable source of life than the one they created. Then, the labyrinth continued with a description of sin and a clear explanation of the sacrifice of Christ.
Three of the boys gave their life to Christ that night, but many others moved closer to knowing him. Ron took a Bible so he could learn more.
At the end of the camp, Ron’s mother came to meet him, and, upon seeing her, he gave her the Bible and said, "Here is the Bible. Now, let's start reading it." His mother was surprised and said, "But I don't know anything about it or how to read it!" Ron replied, "Well then, we'll learn together."
A week later, Ron joined the disc golf camp, and there, in a small group, he shared how he now reads the Bible every day, and he has already finished the Gospel of Matthew. Now he is reading the Gospel of Mark.
Ranno and Kuldar are already powerful role models to many young boys in Estonia. But, more importantly, they are leading them to the father heart of God. And so are you, as you sustain the work of Josiah Venture through your gifts and prayers.
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