Cricket becomes a tool for mission among girls in Nepal
A qualified cricket coach and sports psychologist from London is breaking new ground in mission work, teaching cricket to girls from poor communities in Nepal.
Chuli Scarfe from Holloway in north London is spending a month in Kathmandu teaching 11-14 year-olds the elements of what is a hugely popular game in this mountain kingdom.
Last weekend Chuli found herself working with a coaching team of six introducing 52 girls to batting, bowling and fielding.
“I am discovering potential spin bowlers but I need to connect them to a local women's cricket club (if there is one).”
“Many of them come from very poor areas with no opportunity to do sports,” she explains.
"“I’m praying that God will build confidence and enhance their self esteem.
"Pray for the coaching team as well and for opportunities to develop a network of female coaches here in Nepal. Pray too for strengthening of links with the Christian Sports Fellowship and my sponsor CMS Asia.”
Giving girls from Nepal a chance to try a hand at cricket fits hand in glove with national aspirations. Nepalis love their cricket. Crowds at Nepal’s international matches rival test audiences in major cricket-playing countries.
Grass roots cricket is expanding in leaps and bounds in Nepal. Afghanistan is ahead of it in the ratings at Associate level among cricketing nations. With open borders to neighbouring India, it is fairly easy for teams from Nepal to hone their skills against Indian clubs.
The national team has qualified for the Under-19 World Cup to be held next year. Cricketer Rahul Kumar was among the star billings at Nepal’s recent Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
Nepal Television has announced it has renewed its deal to cover all the country's international matches. It means all Nepal’s international matches will be televised free to air, something that happens in none of the other countries on the second rung of cricket’s international ladder.
Sri Lankan-born Chuli has lived for many years in England and is a fanatical fan of the Sri Lankan team, her all time hero being the great Sri Lankan batsman Dilip Mendis. She worked for the Church Mission Society before training to become a sport and fitness coach. She is a fixture at the Greenbelt Festival where she introduces punters to the delights of Salsa dancing.
“I am passionate about the benefits that sport can bring to the lives of young people, and as an Asian woman, particularly to girls in countries like Nepal where the opportunities are much more limited than we have in the West. Therefore, to engage in youth ministry in Nepal is an ideal way to combine my love of sports with mission.”
Here is a great example of just how much scope there is for use of consecrated talent for the mission of God all over the world.