They’re Rugby Boys, Don’t You Know? Book reviews


Author(s): Natalie VellacottDownload  


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…

Some Reviews: 75 in

Piper Templeton

Piper Templeton rated it     

“They’re Rugby Boys, Don’t You Know,” takes the reader on a true account of a Christian missionary whose ship gets grounded for an extended stay near Olongapo in the Philippines. As they conduct their mission on a bridge, the author discovers a group of young boys who are lost and neglected and addicted to what the locals call “rugby,” inhalants that ease the hunger pains these poverty-stricken kids endure.

The author can’t simply look the other way and pretend the “rugby boys” are invisible. She engages with them, learns their names, finds productive ways to help them, and in the end makes a huge difference in many of their lives.

The book is well-written in a clear, concise way. The approach is matter of fact. Her love for the boys does not cloud her judgment as far as their own flaws and her frustrations in trying to help them and their families. As a reader, I grew to deeply care for the boys as well and appreciated the follow-up in the back on each of the boys. It emphasized, also, how they are treated as important individuals and not just a nameless, faceless part of a troubled and troublesome group.

It’s an inspiring, worthwhile read that will make you stop and think about how much we take for granted.

Dan Salerno

Dan Salerno rated it     

I’ve read a few books by missionaries or about missionary work. But most of them were too esoteric, failing to give a sense of day-t0-day life. But Natalie Vellacott does a fine job of charting her experiences in the Philippines.

They’re Rugby Boys, Don’t You know? opened my eyes to what it’s like engaging young boys (the “rugby” boys) who live in extreme poverty.

“Rugby” is a slang reference to the solvents they inhale as a means of coping.

Natalie takes you through the ups and downs of seeking to establish relationships with boys who are living invisibly along the edge as societal cast-offs.

Their story is remarkable and Natalie’s writing will make a lasting impression.

Kari Greenaway

Kari Greenaway rated it      

This book flowed nicely for me, and I found myself caught up in it. I liked that the information presented would give me a better chance if I were to do a similar mission at some point in my life. Not being around kids much, nor having my own, I felt I could still relate to them and their need to be seen as individuals who mattered. I gave 5 stars because I thought it was well written, had relevant information that I could apply myself, and gives me a feeling of “call to action,” for my own community. I also like the practical aspects, and how the author tried to combat barriers in the ministry while providing help and hope, as she often liked to do.

Parker Cole

Parker Cole rated it      

I wasn’t sure how to feel about this book. For one thing, it’s told in a literary style that immerses the reader into the atmosphere of the Philippines. I could smell the dirty water, see the street urchins naked and dirty. Touch them with my hands and get drenched by the mercurial weather. As a missionary Natalie experiences what it means to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. One of the aspects of this book is the constant cycle of hope and hopeless. Boys that try to get better and then they don’t. They hear the message of God are uplifted about it and yet the drugs keep them bound. An aspect of this lifestyle is the complacent attitude of people who see nine year old boys getting high and do nothing about it. The idea shocks me.

Regardless, this is a story of faith when the outcomes consistently do not seem to be working. It’s a story of endurance when it one should have long given up. But its a story of a woman and the people around her who care enough to keep trying and keep praying.

For myself, I’ve been getting a nudge about going on mission trip but this book tugs at the heart strings of my soul and maybe that mission trip isn’t far off.


Diana rated it      

Chronicles a personal journey that started as a two year commitment and became a commitment to being led somewhere else. The Lord gave Natalie a heart for some boys that were invisible to their own society. This book chronicles some of her ups and downs, victories and frustrations of dealing with this particular set of boys, the society they live in, their families and the social welfare departments that are in place to help them. As she learns to rely on God, God uses her to open the boys’ hearts as well as their families and the workers that she comes in contact with. Maybe this book will open some hearts to reach out to the unreachable everywhere. I was given a copy of this book for my honest review.


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