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Sports Evangelism


If Project HOPE has its way when Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 is held March 11-April 28, God will score big and Satan will get run out.

Project HOPE is a partnership among local churches and para-church leaders in the Caribbean to share the Christian gospel with those attending the CWC. The primary strategy is to touch the hearts of cricket enthusiasts through friendship-evangelism, entertainment packages, sports seminars, health clinics, tract distribution, prayer and counselling for those who request such and general helpfulness.

The acronym HOPE is the short for Hospitality Outreach Prayer Empowerment. This project was birthed last year and is spearheaded by Pastor Percival Palmer of Whole Life Sports, a division of Whole Life Ministries.

Project HOPE is an outreach of Caribbean Sports Reach, a non-governmental organisation registered in Jamaica, but armed with a vision to share Christ with the region.

Seen here HOPE 2007 being distributed outside Kensington Oval at the start of the Super 8's - they were greatly received


Speaking mainly of preparatory work being done in Jamaica, Pastor Palmer explained that for several weeks, a number of volunteers from the Christian community have been undergoing training to complement the work of the Local Organising Committee of the Cricket World Cup. In particular the training has had strong customer service elements, but also creative ways to minister to the spiritual needs of those who will be attending the games.

Seen below Shaun Pollock outside of the Barbados Kensington Oval signing the HOPE 2007 books at the Jesus Christ 2007 Not Out Cricket Festival Village during Cricket World Cup.

There are a number of Project HOPE committees that have been established throughout the region, Pastor Palmer reported.

The partners with Project HOPE Jamaica include: Flock Jamaica,Whole life Ministries, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Jamaica Council of Churches, Jamaica Association of Evangelicals, The Bible Society of the West Indies, Youth With A Mission, Caribbean Gospel Network Foundations, Glory Music, Fusion West Indies, Errol Rattray Evangelistic Association, Jamaica Child Evangelism Fellowship, Open Air Campaigners, Inter-Schools Christian Fellowship, Jamaica Youth for Christ, and Reconciliation Ministries. Pastor Palmer expects the list of para-churches and churches to grow.

There has also been considerable interest in persons from overseas offering to be volunteers with Project HOPE, Pastor Palmer said. Everyday, he said, the offices of Project HOPE, receives phone calls of overseas-based persons wanting to work with the organisation. He confirmed that 40 Christians from Australia will be coming to the World Cup to work as volunteers and to conduct sports clinics for cricket and netball in various schools.

A list of events and activities in which Project HOPE will be involved are to be found on the Caribbean Sports Reach website -

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Big screens

Among its plans slated for the CWC is to have big screens at strategic places so that the public can view the games. Pastor Palmer hopes to facilitate public viewing of the World Cup at St. William Grant's Park in downtown Kingston and also in Wilton Gardens (a.k.a. Rema). Wilton Gardens will be the focus on much activity for Project HOPE as there are plans to convene a three day gospel music festival there. This is being organised by Fusion West Indies.

Concerning the cricket teams that will be at the games, Project HOPE will be making its chaplaincy services available to the players and such other officials that might want to avail himself/herself of such facilities.

On match days there will be people on the ground handing out literature and doing ministry including prayer and counselling. Reconciliation Ministries hopes to give out at least 100,000 copies of the devotional book Word For Today to cricket fans. While the Jamaica Baptist Union intends to make available free bottled water to those attending the games. The bottled water is being made available through Pepsi and it will feature Christian slogans and messages pasted on the container.

So then, what about the tourists who might become born-again during the games? Pastor Palmer explained that Caribbean Sports Reach enjoys links with credible international Christian organisations which are well poised to refer new converts to Bible-believing churches in their homeland.

Other sporting and entertainment events held during the time of the CWC will also have the involvement of Project HOPE, Pastor Palmer said. Project HOPE, he continued, will be at Boys and Girls Championship March 29-April 1, to do ministry. Similarly, he said, Project HOPE would also be involved in Fun in the Son which is scheduled to take place at Hope Gardens on March 17.

Pastor Palmer said Project HOPE Jamaica, would not be Kingston-bound, but that there will be ministry done in Trelawny and other western parts of the island.

Persons wishing to sharpen their skills at doing sports evangelism, he said, are invited to participate during an international sports training conference being organised by Caribbean Sports Reach and set for March 15-19 at the Kendal Camp and Conference Centre in Manchester. Details of the conference may be obtained at the Project HOPE offices which is at 14 1/2 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston ( the offices of Hands Across Jamaica for Righteousness). The door is still open, Pastor Palmer said, for members of the Christian community to become volunteers with Project HOPE. Persons wishing to become volunteers he said may contact the offices of Project HOPE, or sign up through its website.

Pastor Percival Palmer may be reached at
Reach Associates International
Faciliating your reach to Success
876 535 2890
876 756-6224
Caribbean Sports Reach
Islands Playing In Praise
876 863-0251

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Published: Saturday | February 10, 2007

Mark Dawes, Staff Reporter

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