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Highlighting the road to Heaven with football

THERE may be many roads to Russia but there is only one road to Heaven.

This was the important message of a fun and colourful World Cup-themed soccer camp, recently hosted by the Omagh Baptist Church.

The ultimate ‘goal’ of the four-day event was to help participants come to know God while learning the important gospel message through the medium of football. This is the fifth year that the Omagh Baptist Church has hosted this popular camp, which saw an upwards of 80 young budding footballers from across the community in attendance each night.

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Ryan Patterson from the Omagh Baptist Church described the event as a “wonderful success.”

“As a church, we consider the camp to be a fantastic opportunity to get to know the boys and girls outside our church community,” Ryan said.

“The kids have been excellent, and they seem to have loved coming along.

“The quality of football displayed has also been very good. There were some very talented players out there who really flourished.

“It was great to see a real mix of people from every end of the community involved – from Omagh, Seskinore to Beragh and even further afield – and the weather was perfect.”

As well as learning how to play the beautiful game, young participants were treated to a ten minute gospel talk each night and informative discussion with church leaders followed.

“We tried to link all our talks to the World Cup,” Ryan explained. “So we learned about the road to Russia, where 211 teams started out in the tournament, but only 33 qualified.

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“We explained that not everyone who entered the competition made it to the World Cup – and it sadly will be the same when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Ryan added, “We also talked about what the gospel is, and how the boys and girls need to put their faith in Jesus Christ.

“To help them understand, we linked Christ to different parts of the football pitch. For example, Jesus is our ‘keeper’, who defends and keeps us, and the Bible is our weapon, our ‘attacker’ as it were, in leading the Christian life.

“The kids listened and responded very well, so it has been very positive.”

On behalf of the Omagh Baptist Church, Ryan has expressed his thanks to everyone who took part or helped out in this year’s highly successful soccer camp.

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Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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