Hidden Heroes: Mbayagi Kevin
• Kevin works with the ISA in Kenya to reach out to and mentor young people in the slums, letting them know that the difficulties they are going through are only temporary and giving them hope in Christ.
• “If International Sports Academy was not there, many of these people would be lost.”
• Kevin doesn’t just “talk the talk.”
• He grew up in extreme poverty in the third largest slum in Eldoret, Kenya. He struggled in school, both academically and financially. During high school, he worked at a local hotel where his salary was just $10 per month. He used the money to purchase school supplies so that he could complete his education. He did not have electricity until he went to college.
• Soccer was a huge help to Kevin growing up in the slums. He would play in the morning, in the heat of the afternoon (to condition himself to different environments), and in the evening. He credits his passion for soccer with keeping him distracted from his hopeless situation and from the pitfalls of growing up in the slum.
• During those years, Kevin was under the impression that he was the best soccer player. He had very little discipline and was constantly suspended from games and in jeopardy of being kicked off his team for his attitude.
• He was recruited by a soccer team run by a local church called the International Vision Center (which now runs one of our ISA clubs!). The church team was able to teach him teamwork and humility and changed his mindset to save his soccer career.
• The goal of the soccer ministry was to connect young people to the hope of Christ, therefore, part of the requirements to play on the team was that players must attend the church on Sunday.
• Although Kevin was not a “church person,” he was so passionate about soccer that he was willing to get up early on Sundays and go to church. At church, Kevin found discipleship and amazing, lasting mentorship relationships that changed his life and endure today.
• Eventually, he came to love going to church more than he loved playing soccer!
• “From soccer, now I am in church. And I started loving church more than I loved soccer!”
• Kevin accepted Christ and devoted his life to glorifying God. He found significance and purpose, and he is now an integral part of the leadership of the church.
• Kevin loves working with the ISA because the concept of sports ministry changed his own life and future and led him to Christ.
• “If we can just tap into what people love the most, they love sports, sports is the most celebrated kind of activity in the whole world, this way we will be able to lead so many people and save so many lives. Souls will come to Jesus. Because it happened for me. It really, really happened for me. I went to a team to play soccer; the team pushed me to church. Now, I’ve stopped playing soccer, but I never, ever stopped going to church.”
• Kevin is passionate about reaching hopeless youth in the slums, because he remembers that feeling of hopelessness and needing someone to mentor him, lead him through life, and offer him hope for the future.
• He wants to show the kids that there are people who care about them and the purpose that God has for their lives. He wants to make sure that these young people are not lost.
• Something as simple as a soccer ball can change a person’s life, giving them hope and the significance of knowing that someone thinks they are important enough to give them the opportunity to play.
• “If everybody does something, we can change the world.” Whether that’s a $10 bill, or a hugging a kid, or providing a meal. Everybody doing something will change the world.
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