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Showing Himself Faithful

Published on May 23, 2024

Sarah Freymuth

Dave Jucos has been preparing for sports ministry his entire life.

His father, a pastor who invested in sports ministry, taught Juco and his sister about Jesus and how sports could make an eternal difference in the lives of the people around them in the French-speaking African country of Benin. He’d follow his father on outreaches and observed how to connect with people through soccer, while also watching God move on the field and in players’ hearts.

In one village, they organized a friendly soccer game with the local team on a Saturday and invited the team and fans to a worship service the next morning. This continued each week, and a church in which Jucos’ father became a pastor was established to support the sports ministry that took off.

Jucos, who holds a Masters in sports sciences and physical education, has prepared for a life in sports ministry. While at university, his father went to the U.S. and ended up in Kansas City, where he met FCA Chief Field Officer Dan Britton at the Support Center. He returned to Benin and told Jucos all about FCA. He had had been waiting for an opportunity like this his whole life.

In the following months, former South Global Divisional Vice President Vincent Asamoah and FCA EVP of International Field Ministry Silas Mullis visited Jucos in Benin to see the work happening and how to connect. Jucos officially started with FCA in 2018 and connected with other leaders around Africa while attending training and learning how to launch more ministry into his country.
Benin is a narrow country in West Africa that stretches 420 miles north to south from the Gulf of Huinea in the Atlantic Ocean, bordered by Togo and Nigeria on its left and right. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but God has been aligning ministry for Jucos.

“Things are going well by the grace of God,” said Jucos. “At the beginning I was alone. Now, I have three staff.”

One of Jucos’ ministry growth strategies is organizing an annual soccer camp. It’s been effective, as local coaches Jucos is connected to bring their teams and set up for drills and scrimmages, and end with Bible time and sharing Jesus.

It’s a challenge in some villages that are heavily steeped in voodoo, a prevalent religion in the country.

One boy, Thierry, attended the week-long camp. On one of the days toward the end of camp, one of the leaders noticed Thierry crying and went over to learn why. Thierry wanted to give his life to Jesus, but his family environment was very dark. Thierry’s family was deep in voodoo practice; his mother was a voodoo priestess who led village rituals and ceremonies. Thierry wanted to know more about Jesus but was afraid because of the family challenges and environment that surrounded him.

Jucos and Thierry’s coach continued to follow up with him after camp, checking in and caring, and always praying for him. When the school year began, however, he did not attend the school in the village. His mother had sent him to live with her sister and attend school in the capital city of Porto Novo.

Her sister just happened to live ten minutes from Jucos’ home. So, when Thierry arrived, he reached out to Jucos and told him that he would be around for the school year. Thierry began joining Jucos on Tuesdays for a coaches Bible study Jucos leads.

Recently, Thierry sent Jucos a message that he had posted on his social media:

I was born in a voodoo family. My mother is a voodoo priest. I knew nothing about Jesus before coming to FCA camp. I was even upset about the idea of reading Bible at a sport camp. Now, I cannot express how relevant the hardness has been to my life. I left the camp knowing God used the time to clear the fog that surrounded me for so long. I see more about who God is and feel closer to Him.

Thierry continues to attend Jucos’ Bible study and is drawing nearer to God. Jucos connected him back to his coach, Daniel, who is also FCA staff and lives nearby. Daniel takes Thierry to his church and is answering questions Thierry has about God.

1oDuBHGQCrepin is a friend of Jucos’ whose father is a voodoo priest. Jucos approached Crepin and asked to organize a camp in his father’s village. Crepin is on a journey of faith, not immersed in voodoo but still seeking out the person of Jesus. Given the friendship and trust between the two men, Crepin agreed to hold a camp and attended at Jucos’ invitation. He sat in the training, prayers and Huddles.

“Crepin told me the people in the village didn’t agree with us hosting the camp, because we are a Christian camp and most of the village is voodoo,” Jucos said. “But by the grace of God, we hosted the camp.”

A few weeks ago, Jucos received a message from Crepin saying he is reading the Bible now and posting Bible passages on his social media accounts.

God is setting up opportunities for people like Thierry and Crepin to learn about the living God through soccer camps set up in the middle of voodoo villages. And in areas full of darkness, God is granting access for Jucos and his team to bring the life and news of Jesus.

God is showing Himself faithful, even with a large dream ahead.

“Benin is composed of 12 big regions, and in those regions, we have a total of 77 areas,” Jucos explained. “My focus is to hire a representative for each region for this next fiscal year, so we need to hire nine more staff.”

It may be a big task, but Jucos is not without anchored confidence. “What gives me hope is the Word of God,” he said. “And when I see the work my teammates are doing in their areas, it gives me hope that we are doing the right thing. When I hear stories like these of Thierry and Crepin, I have hope that God will do mighty things.”

Please pray for Thierry and Crepin, that they may come to a saving relationship with Jesus and they would be protected from evil influences keeping them from the Lord. Pray for protection over Dave Jucos and his family, and that God would raise up nine more leaders for the work in Benin.

Support Dave and his work in Benin