The Evolution of Rehma Soccer

I have been thinking a lot about where we started and where we are now. It kind of baffles me because I feel like I have done so little and yet God has grown it so much.

I thought I would just give a small timeline of how we have grown.

In 2010, Kelvin was asked to coach a team in Kongowea. Now, in Kongowea, there are certain long standing teams that have been in the community for years. They are from certain sub areas of the community. He was asked to coach a particular one that he knew well and had played for years ago. At the time, he wasn’t working so he decided to dedicate his time to it.

It became really clear really fast that this was more than just a simple coach gig. It was something so much bigger. He could sense it. Even I could sense it. At the time I was working with a youth ministry in another part of the city but would spend many of my weekends with Kelvin and this team.

We just knew that God had bigger plans for this than we did. I remember we decided to do a beach day (which you can read about here). We sat in the sand and watched these boys goof around. I think both our hearts were BURSTING with love. We just knew that this was where God wanted us to be.

The day we knew this was something bigger than just a soccer team

So we did it faithfully for a few years. Kelvin spent every evening coaching and much of his spare time hanging out, mentoring, and disciplining them. We started identifying needs and put a few of them into school or gave them a loan to start businesses. We did different life skill trainings with them and helped them pay hospital bills or rent when they were utterly desperate. I think more than anything we were FOR them and they were very aware. We were on their side. We wanted nothing but for them to succeed.

One of many games played with these boys
With their new REHMA jerseys from Canada

In 2012 I started a girls group. Same idea as the boys team but instead of soccer, we had fun meetings every Saturday where we would eat, hang out, play games, and then have a discussion. During the week we would meet, do bible studies, and just hang out. We did the same things with them as with the boys. They were our ‘kids’. We had about 35 boys and 20 girls who were in our groups. 55 youth in total. If you want to read more about our times with them, please click any of the months on the right hand side between 2010-2013 to find out all we did with them.

The girls and I at our last meeting before we moved to Canada

Then we left in 2013. We moved to Canada with the conviction that we were there for a season to get educated, start a family, and gain support to eventually return and keep working here. We visited Kenya in 2014 and decided to do a big tournament in Kongowea with kids. Kelvin reached out to some other coaches in the area and asked them to put it together. The first tournament brought in about 12 teams.

Mercy handing out soccer balls at our first tournament in 2014

Then we came again in 2016 and did yet another tournament. This time the tournament brought in almost 28 teams. Think about this: 28 teams with roughly 12 players per team is 336 kids.

Now, because these tournaments were such a huge success and the coaches of these teams saw the impact they were making on the kids, the coaches decided to create an association called the Nyali Youth Football Association(NYFA). In 2016, the made Kelvin and I honorary members of the association. There are about 15 coaches in the association each one coaching multiple teams.

NYFA Logo designed in Kenya
We were made honourary members of the association

In 2017, we moved back to Kenya. The first thing we did was have yet another tournament. We had about the same amount of kids but more officials and people watching. We got more exposure with some of our representatives talking about it on the radio and the newspapers. Kelvin was made a patron or leader of the Nyali Youth Football Association (NYFA) overseeing all coaches and kids.

Kelvin speaking to the crowds at our tournament in 2017
The stellar coaches of NYFA

Now, the new field has launched in Kongowea and kids are streaming in from everywhere!! The NYFA is now the go-to body that runs and organizes all soccer played on that pitch. Government officials are investing in the programs. Coaches are being recognized. Kids are playing! Kids are out of the streets! Kids have mentors! Kids are getting opportunities to go to school!

Kelvin hanging with the kids at the new stadium last week
Two teams ready to play at the launch of the field

 

Girls are also getting a chance to play! There are girl teams!

One of the coaches with his team of girls last week!

Oh and those youth we worked with before we move the Canada, we still love them and hang with them on a regular basis.

Lolo, former captain for our first team, comes to most of our events and is a local radio presenter
Munira and I hanging out like old times

Kelvin and I sat the other day and really thought about it. We cannot say WE did it. In our conscience, we know that we have been opened to be used to by God but ultimately, HE is growing it. He is building leaders. He is changing lives.

More than anything, we feel humbled that he would allow us to be a part of something so darn awesome.

If you want to invest in the lives of these awesome young people, please click the link on the right hand side to be apart of our support team. Make sure to donate to “Kelvin and Nikole The Rehma Project”.

Oh…did we mention that Kelvin was approached to help build a basketball court in Kongowea? Let’s see where God can take this one….

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