Today was the kick-off of the 2010 World Cup here in Johannesburg and we headed out the door with some of the Playing2Win volunteers around 10 am to take the trip to Soccer City, the stadium where South Africa would face Mexico. Normally this would have taken us an hour or so, but today was one very special day! By 3:30 we were still in the thick of traffic--cars with flags, cars honking their horns, cars with drivers wearing huge clown hats and glasses and people dancing in the streets and flags flying everywhere. It was chaotic, loud and very happy! South Africans everywhere were partying!
We stopped for a bite to eat an hour or two later, realizing we wouldn't make it to the stadium before the game and while we were there, South Africa scored the first goal of the World Cup! "Bafana, Bafana!" people were screaming, blowing their vuvuzelas (long horns that sound like elephants) non-stop and dancing around, absolutely wild with joy! Go South Africa!
Our next stop today was to see an after game party and watch the Playing2Win team perform some skits and dances for the people in one of the townships. A local church had set up two viewing areas with large screens so that everyone could see the game today. After the game our partners from Playing2Win were able to reach many hearts and touch them with the message that God is always there for them, ready to help no matter how deep their troubles or pain. Many raised their hands and prayed the prayer to enter into a relationship with Jesus and came forward to learn more about how to live a Godly life.
Many received free Activated magazines (thank you Activated Ministries!) and were touched that missionaries came to see them instead of the game. We'll keep you updated on the projects we visit and things we see and do here in South Africa. You can read about the games and the fans online, but we'll tell you about what's going on behind the scenes with the people outside the stadiums because we're here for something different--helping people in their own "game of life".