Miranda van Tuijl is one of the ministry partners that Yebo Life works with. She runs the soccer ministry called Future Stars that works youth in the Cape Flats communities in Cape Town. Hailing from the Netherlands she originally wanted to be a police officer but when that didn’t work out she decided to join YWAM and decided to move to South Africa to serve the Lord. We decided to ask her more about her journey and story.
Q: What is it you do? What is your ministry?
A: I was in Overcome Heights, an area of Cape Town with a strong sense of community that doesn’t allow much influence from the "outside." I went to a feeding program there, which operates every morning. There were almost 100 kids that came, and I found the need to spend more time with the kids as there was limited time to connect with them. I was praying and asking, "How do we connect well with these kids?" and felt strongly that I needed to start a soccer ministry. But I thought, "Who am I—a white girl from the Netherlands—to come into Overcome and start a soccer ministry with these boys?" So I started to connect with different people and eventually with Ambassadors Soccer, a program that trains coaches. I did a course with them and gained the confidence to start a team.
Q: Describe what you do on a weekly basis.
A: Last year, we had practice three days a week. This year, we split the age groups—one day with the younger boys (under 12 y/o), one day with the older ones (12+ y/o), and one day with everyone mixed together. The latter is more of a fun day, while the other two are more focused on training boys from Capricorn Park, a community that neighbors Overcome. We normally have between 15-20 boys—too many to really have significant individual impact. So we've decided to meet five days a week in order to work with smaller groups. We're aiming to also train up some of the older boys as coaches and leaders so that they can help the younger boys.
Q: What is your vision for Future Stars?
A: The kids come from an area that is not very safe. One of the biggest issues they face is gangsterism. It’s so normal to them—as well as drug and alcohol abuse. It’s very rare to find families that have two parents... or to meet siblings that come from the same mom and dad. Often the kids do not have a good connection with their parents and are indifferent towards them. The trauma that is experienced so often creates a difficult environment. We have one-on-ones with the boys, and they will talk about how they feel like ghosts in their homes. They feel unseen and unrecognized. So we want to create a safe space where they can belong—where they can safely grow, learn, and develop. Through soccer, we want them to grow in confidence, learn life skills and soccer skills, and connect with God.
Q: What development have you seen in the boys that come regularly?
A: The boys have grown up with a lot of negativity and anger, and that has changed. There is much less fighting than there was before. In the beginning, the boys were unsettled, whereas now, they are a lot more calm and less aggressive. When they show up, they seem to have an uncontrollable anger that they act out of. Adults in their community normally just tell them that they should be quiet—that they should be seen but not heard, but they have emotions and feelings! As we teach them how to better manage their emotions, they start making progress in areas like forgiveness. Some of the boys that have really developed in their soccer skills are taking responsibility for themselves and growing in leadership. These are just a few of the little steps of change that we've seen.
Q: What are the greatest needs for Future Stars?
A: We plan outings every quarter so that the kids can get to experience Cape Town. Many of them have never been outside of their communities. So we need finances for those trips—in addition to soccer equipment so the boys can get the best training possible.
We at Yebo Life are so thankful that Miranda has allowed us to be a part of her journey and that we get to share in her ministry. We are blessed to be a part of Future Stars and encourage you to join with us in supporting the program in whatever way you are able. If you would like to get involved with this amazing ministry head on over to our Projects page and see how you can partner with them.