In January 2017 I had the privilege of traveling to Laos for the first time alongside Ps. Mark Andrews. We met with a sports project Ps. Mark over the years of his ministry there had built strong relationships with.
With the 2019 Rugby World Cup being held in Japan and in Asia for the first time in its History the years leading towards this global event brought a huge interest of Rugby to Asian nations and much investment.
In 2017 I met with the sports project and heard their heart to establish a Rugby stream to their existing academy set up in which they over the years have reached many children, students and adults with sport being the vehicle that has connected them to many.
It was something Immediately I had a heart for, I didn’t know how it would happen but I was willing to serve and do what I could knowing that If God is in it whatever may come it would work for my good, the good of others and His glory.
So with a willingness to have a go we took a small team out in the June to run a weeks rugby camp, introducing the sport to the majority of the people for the first time. They had never seen a rugby ball previously but they were quick to learn. There was a great initial take up and those who lead the sports project with visionary eyes and Godly hearts knew this was another great avenue for bringing the hope they share through sport. So it was with great excitement the first step had been done.
Over the last 3 years through the faithfulness of God creating connections and relationships with those in authority and the willingness of many to support the work in Laos we have been able to see 2 people 1 male and 1 female put through coaching qualifications with the Laos rugby federation and the establishment of regular rugby training sessions for both males and females.
Any team is built on Time… Time = Trust and Trust = Team…
As these coaches have given time to connect and built trust and as trust has formed and brought team these coaches have been able to share of the hope they have in Jesus and have shared with incredible excitement when players have come to bible studies and some to placing their faith in Christ!
The beginning of this year before lockdown brought an opportunity to visit Laos again as I was invited to represent one of LRF major sponsors in an international rugby tournament and able to build upon relationships started and share sensitively about the forming and vision of rugby with the sports project. Since then this year LRF have given recognition and ongoing support for sports project as a Rugby academy and 1 of the coaches has been invited to the national set up.
We can only plant and what God chooses to water it truly grows!
So In April 2021 along with a team we hope to give a push to raise a significant amount for the work in Laos by completing a 3day adventure challenge across South Wales, I am excited for the thought of this the reality may not be the case when it comes haha however I will be able to share more information about this venture and ways to support as the time nears.
Its primary purpose will be to increase the current pot of resource so that we can continue to Invest in the coaches, provide resource for the hire of training facilities, provide training equipment and be in a position to give shoes, boots and kit to those involved.
Rest assured your giving isn’t simply towards rugby, you don’t have to have an ounce of sporting interest at all but as you read may your heart grow in interest for a nation where the freedom of faith is not what many of us get to experience and see rugby is a vehicle that those in Laos are using to see many won for Jesus.
Your support in this is for the advancement of the Gospel in Laos, where we in the UK may use coffee morning, Alpha or other great outreaches to connect… God through his sovereignty has been using sport in this country.
So join us as we pray and give to this project knowing as it grows so will the presence of His followers in the nation of Laos.
Ps. Lloyd Thomas