They're Rugby Boys, Don't You Know? by Natalie Vellacott {Book Review}

~ Description 

Natalie Vellacott took a two-year break from her job with Sussex Police to join the Logos Hope Christian missionary ship. She was forever changed when, the ship having repeatedly broken down in the Philippines, she unexpectedly encountered and fell in love with a group of street teenage boys addicted to a solvent called "rugby." The dirty, wild, miserable, rabble were accustomed to hostility. Their curious approach in order to investigate the foreigners was cautious and sometimes abusive. Local Filipinos watched from a distance, fascinated yet fearful. These were the “rugby boys”--untouchable and invisible, even dangerous and definitely not worthy of time, attention, love and care. But now a small group of highly regarded foreigners seemed intent on drawing attention to them.

A true missionary story about Christian hope being brought to the hopeless in the Philippines... 

~ My Rating 
4 stars 

~ My Review 

They're Rugby Boys, Don't You Know? is an inspirational story of one woman's journey to bring hope to the hopeless and love to those deemed unlovable. 

While her missionary ship was in port in the Philippines, Natalie Vellacott met a rag-tag group of street boys known as the 'rugby boys.' When I received this book to review, I thought of rugby as that extremely-painful-looking sport that's one-third soccer, one-third football, and one-third pain. (Can you tell I'm not a sporty person? xD) This book introduced me to another meaning of the word 'rugby.' 

In the Philipines (and maybe other places – I'm not sure), rugby is a type of glue. These rugby boy outcasts would inhale the solvent-based glue and get high off it. Why? Because they're literally starving and the drug takes away the hunger pains and gives them the feeling of having a full stomach. If your heart didn't just break, I don't know what's wrong with you. 

It hurts my heart, and most definitely the author's as well. She along with a few others began reaching out to these boys, ministering to their physical as well as spiritual needs. Sometimes the boys lied to them, stole, didn't keep their promises – but  Ms. Vellacott and her band of helpers didn't stop showing them love. 

The author does not sugar-coat the hard stuff. She doesn't keep hidden the personal, emotional struggles she faced while reaching out to these boys. This book is the raw story of her journey during the time her world collided with that of these gangs of street boys. 

I laughed and smile when I read of the boys joking and having fun with the missionaries. (And when they were in the church showers – haha, oh my!!) My heart hurt when I read of the churches who refused to help the boys and the health issues some of the boys dealt as a result of drug abuse. 

The writing style isn't that great at times, and there was some grammatical errors. But, as I saw other reviewers point out, the book reads like a blog, and I was okay with that. 

This book is obviously very real – there is no fairytale ending. Some of the boys changed, found Christ, and were able to stay strong following drug rehab. Others returned to their former ways, only to remain in the cycle until they do finally give their lives completely to Christ or the drug abuse takes its toll. 

I enjoyed this story and it served well to open my eyes to suffering around the globe. Definitely recommended for any Christian, particularly those called to foreign missions. 

**I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.** 


  1. I had never heard about this type of rugby before. I also thought of rugby as “that extremely-painful-looking sport that's one-third soccer, one-third football, and one-third pain” too. ;) I had never read the description of this book until now, so while you were reading it I always assumed it was about the game. ;) Great review Faith!

    1. Hehe, glad I'm not alone. ;) I had saw this book around, but then when I started reading it to review, I was like "wait...what?!" :P
      Thanks, Rebe!


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