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Feb 26, 2018

Football spreads Bible reading

Written by Katherine O'D.

Ladies' team uses popular sport to promote Safwa literacy and Scripture

- Mshewe, Tanzania

msheweylftballclasssml A women’s amateur football team plays, and also reads
Scripture together in Safwa language. (photo: Alison Ngallaba)

On a grassy field among the hills of Mbeya Region, a group of ladies put aside their day's work for a few games of football. But it's not the only exercise they came together for today. 

Mshewe village is in the Safwa language area. These women are a local amateur football team, founded by Amani Mwandezi, a Literacy and Scripture Engagement worker. They meet regularly, not only to play football but also to practice reading in their language. They use Scripture portions they get from Mwandezi and the Safwa translation project.

Recently, Mwandezi and the team traveled to another village. Their goal was to encourage women there to do the same - to set up their own football team, combining gameplay with time to read God's Word, and learn how to read with their families.

msheweylbiblestudysml In addition to the physical exercise of gameplay, the
ladies work on their Safwa literacy skills by reading
together from Scripture.  (photo: Alison Ngallaba)

msheweylliteracyclasssml The Mshewe ladies’ football team gets a Safwa
literacy lesson from Amani Mwandezi, who founded
the team.  (photo: Alison Ngallaba

"The villagers were happy to hear of this plan," said Mwandezi. "Even the village leaders strongly encouraged the ladies to join. This way, they can learn the Word of God and also improve their physical health." Many women signed up to join the new team. They also wanted Safwa books.

"We will do this in every Safwa village," Mwandezi added, "so that God's Word can have power there. Then people will know God more, and they will be changed."

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