What is a Football Team without Footballs and Shoes?

After the completion of the reconstruction project (see How the Help of Others Enabled Us to Help Others), our friend the village elder/school principal, was understandably very thankful to us for all we had done for his village. Having seen how amazingly the Lord worked for us, he mustered up the faith to ask if we could help their teen boys’ football team get shoes and footballs. We told him that we would see what we could do, but since it was the weekend, it might take “a few days”. After seeing the miracles God did for us on a regular basis, some of our Kosovar friends began looking at us as “the people of God” who could “make miracles happen”.

We were about to pull out of the village when for no apparent reason one of the doors of our van wouldn’t close properly. It took us about 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong, and just as we finally got it to close, we saw a Jeep with Finnish NATO peacekeepers approaching, so I flagged them down to say hello. The Finns were in charge of that area, and we had a good working relationship with them. Among other projects, they had donated new classroom furniture that was needed for the school we had helped to renovate the month before. We talked about the village and its security, and eventually the need for football shoes came up. The peacekeepers suggested that we go to their base’s CIMIC (Civilian and Military Cooperation) officer and explain the situation. They volunteered to phone ahead to tell him we were coming.

At the base we were amazed at how quickly things worked out. The officer in charge authorized a cash allotment for us to buy the soccer shoes, and he personally donated two footballs. In the nearest Albanian town (shops in the Serbian enclaves would not have football shoes), we were shocked when we discovered how expensive the shoes cost.  Another obstacle was that the teen-age boys needed mostly larger sizes, but Albanians generally have smaller feet. Finally in the capital Priština we came across an official Adidas shop where they had all the sizes that were needed. The owner’s heart was touched by the need and our story, so he lowered the total price so that it fit our budget! At the same time he was happy to get rid of those larger sizes! You can imagine the shocked amazement and huge smile on the face of the village elder when we came back after just one day with the footballs and shoes in hand. And the boys? They were overjoyed with their genuine Adidas shoes, and knew that they had been sent from Heaven straight to them!

It has been said that the happiest people in the world are those who have discovered the joy of giving, and we can attest to that! Whenever and whatever we give, blessings come back to us, often in the most unexpected ways!