balarusFrom the 8th to 10th January 2016, an International Christmas Tournament on mini-football was held in Raubichi, near Minsk, the capital of Belarus. With initiative from Youth for Christ in Eastern Europe and through a partnership of different organizations, a big dream became reality. The Christmas Tournament in Minsk was held for the 11th time, but this was only the 3rd time that it was an International competition! There were 12 teams from 5 countries: Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, and Belarus. The teams were composed of Christians and their friends who are still searching. The main tasks of the Christmas tournament were both the development of the spiritual side of the participants and a sincere dialogue and sharing of experience with each other between the leaders of the football ministry from different countries.

During the Christmas tournament participants heard the testimony of athletes, listened to the gospel message about Christmas, saw performances of musicians who caused a lot of positive emotions and important thoughts according to the players. A player from the Moscow team shared this: “For me, the main goal was communication with the guys. And here we have the opportunity to talk about life, to share important ideas with each other. Spiritual experiences of guys opened more on the Tournament. Between games we tried during a simple conversation to learn about what the problems are, and talked on personal topics.”

Most of the players and their managers noted the high level of organization of the Tournament and fairly strong game of teams from different countries. One of the players of the Minsk team said: “Competition is growing and developing. As for the team’s games, I say that, comparing to previous tournaments, the level of competition has increased significantly.” A member of one of the Ukrainian teams had this to say: “After arrival home, we will tell our friends that there is such a tournament and how it differs from the others.” The guys were genuinely glad to get acquainted with the teams from other countries.