The Rev. Dominique Ciza dreams of seeing all ethnic communities within the Diocese of Buye (Burundi) evangelized and reconciled. To begin work on this dream, he founded a soccer league of three teams, each with a different ethnic composition (Hutu, Tutsi and Batwa). He convened nine evangelists from these groups and trained them to work with their teams in establishing a mission of reconciliation and evangelism. The evangelists embraced the message that living together with people from different backgrounds creates a harmonious and beneficial life, as intended by our Creator, and they committed to sharing that message.
The participants were commissioned by the Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend Sixbert Macumi, to go and preach the Good News of Christ to their soccer teams, tribemates, and neighbors. He also charged them to speak to their tribemates on hygiene, nutrition, and development, and and especially on COVID-19 protocols.
Knowing that soccer gathers communities, and that this context would work well for sharing their message, the teams played a series of games around the end of 2021 and celebrated New Years in community. Before and after each game, evangelists preached the Word of God, and a message of reconciliation. People were enthusiastic, as seen in the photos below.
The Rev. Ciza shares that he believes that it is fear that celebrates people, and that gathering people from different backgrounds is possible. He believes that the Church’s mission is to cross borders and reach the marginalized.