ATLANTA — Mountain Park First Baptist Church hosted the Amputee Soccer Team from Haiti recently. For several years the church has hosted homeless families in the Atlanta area in a ministry called Family Promise, so the church was well equipped and trained to open their doors to the group from Haiti and exercise their gift of hospitality (I Peter 4:9).
Dr. Fred Sorrells, a Southern Baptist from Conroe, TX and the president of Operation Go Quickly, brought the Haitians to the United States. The purpose of his organization is to fulfill the mandate of Christ found in Luke 14:21 where the bible says, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt and the blind.
Sorrells indicated many of the soccer players lost their limbs due to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. That earthquake measured 7.0 on the Richter scale and according to CNN resulted in as many as 220,000 deaths 300,000 injuries and 1.5 million people being displaced. Tens of thousands of people remained displaced even to this day.
Sorrells indicated that many of the amputees lost their limbs due to insufficient medical attention. One news report said the earthquake created a generation of amputees. A physician ministering to the victims of the earthquake said it was like “war surgery.” Many surgeons estimated that as many as 200,000 Haitians lost at least one of their limbs as a result of the earthquake.
The Word of God in Luke 14:21 has inspired the mission of Operation Go Quickly and the organization is ministering to various groups like the Haiti Amputee Soccer Team, but it is also implementing the admonition of the Luke passage by mobilizing the body of Christ to serve people with impairments in the less economically developed countries worldwide.
Sorrells not only facilitates a ministry to groups like disabled athletes from Haiti, but he also prepares them to minister to others. He testified, “A woman in great distress heard these young men singing ‘Amazing Grace’ and stated that she had been contemplating suicide, but the ministry of the young amputees singing about God’s grace had renewed her faith and given her hope for the future.”
Prior to coming to Atlanta the Haitian Amputee Soccer team was engaged in an outreach tour in the Houston, TX area. They provided several exhibitions and demonstrations of their athletic skill and prowess. Their efforts to spread encouragement and a spirit of overcoming faith is well received everywhere they go.
While in the Atlanta area the ambassadors from Haiti went to Trickum Middle School in Lilburn to showcase their talent and to inspire the students. Sorrells has requested that Georgia Baptists pray that the spirit of the living God flow through them to those who need hope and healing.
Alexander Lee, writing for Truth NetMedia, reported about the Haitian amputee soccer team’s experience with Soccer in the Streets in downtown Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, December 3rd. It was a special day, because those who gathered were present to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The team was scheduled to play an exhibition game at 1:30pm in front of an audience to bring awareness to the sport of amputee soccer.
Lee writes, “When the Haitians arrived they were met with a surprise. A group of children as young as 7 years old were practicing with their coach and saw the Haitians approaching the field. Out of curiosity they invited the Haitians to join the on the field to play a scrimmage match. The game commenced between the Haitians and the youth and immediately sparks of laughter and joy were in the air.
“After the match Wounded Warrior, war veteran and USA Amputee Soccer Player Robert Ferguson gave a word of encouragement to the children to keep playing the sport of soccer and to never give up on their goals and dreams. The whole purpose of Soccer in the Streets is to keep children away from gang violence, drugs, and alcohol that is rampant in the city of Atlanta. This enables the children to stay in a positive environment while playing the sport they love so much.
Lee concluded, “Once the Haitian’s opponents arrived the game took off. A contested match took place between the Amputee soccer team and semi professional young adult players. At the end of the match, the young adults came to honor and thank the Haitians for overcoming such tremendous adversity.
Haiti’s Amputee Soccer Team is a collection of courageous and indomitable young men engaged in what has been called “the greatest one-legged game in the world;” and they are spreading goodwill wherever they go.
The video below will provide additional insight into the young men in Haiti who are on the Amputee Soccer Team.