Athletes in Action's Global Sports Blog
Jul 6, 2015
In my opinion, l felt probably similar to many others before coming on this trip. In theory sharing the gospel using sport was going to be a life changing event, but in actuality I was scared, nervous and all around anxious to be thrown into a totally new culture doing something I had never done before. I just want to say that I am blessed and thankful for each member as we go on this journey through Panama sharing Gods love.
We have been blessed with an amazing coach, great leaders and bold individuals who have stepped up and taken on roles to help make this experience run as smoothly as possible. As a team we have had the opportunity to go to a Panamanian street market, the largest mall in Central America and the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. But no matter how amazing those experiences seemed nothing compares to the joy from seeing my teammates and brothers in Christ share the gospel with people of all ages.
We have had either a game, a clinic or training at least everyday and some twice a day. Although, this takes a toll on each one of us mentally, spiritually and physically by the grace of God we are able to have early mornings and feel energized and ready to get out and share the Gospel. We were told early in this trip to allow God to work in us and through us, and I have seen that in full force between fellowship, friendships and the willingness to share.
I want to share a quick snapshot of an eye opening experience that happened to me a couple days ago. In the soccer world it is part of the culture to exchange jerseys after a match. Since we have to continue playing we aren't allowed to give our jerseys away, which has made getting other jerseys hard. But after a match a couple days ago I was talking to one of the clubs coaches, I told him that I really liked his club shirt. He asked to swap shirts and when I told him I had nothing to trade, he pulled that shirt off his back and placed it in my hands. Having just met this man, it was incredibly humbling for him to pull his shirt off his back for me and seek nothing in return.
My prayer for the week to come is that we don't slow down. That we share what Jesus Christ has done in our lives and the love that God has for everyone we come into contact with. That we give our best effort on and off the pitch while continuously growing together. But most importantly let all we do be Glorifying to God. Amen.
-Noah (Hydration Specialist)
Jul 5, 2015I want you to imagine yourself walking. You are walking with six friends, just hanging out and doing some window shopping downtown. The air is fresh, birds are in the air, laughter catches on and flows through the group. You get further into the city - the cars are rushing by. Suddenly - you feel a slow rush of wave overcome you. A sensation that halts your mind and everything that was on your mind a minute before vanishes. Everything is still visible, but what you see slows down each way your head turns. On the right there's a man setting up golf balls on the sidewalk, all in a row. As if he was a four year old child playing with blocks. You keep going and immediately after the man, you see a woman vigorously preparing tea cups, spoons, other odds and ends. Before you can blink you notice a guy picking up a metal baseball bat about to back swing you in the face. You dodge the bat and are breathing fast. All you can think of is when will this end! People left and right - just like yourself. Human beings breathing the same air, living on the same earth. Bells are ringing, small arguments break out, music is playing, some are singing, some sleep. Everyone on the ground, on the same street. Every square foot is taken up by something. Whether it be a person, mat, cardboard, there is not one bare spot on the ground. You wonder if you are breathing and if you are going to make it through. Where is the end? Finally, In front of you a woman with paralyzed legs folded upon herself in a beat up wheel chair. She gives a smile, and you can’t help but smile back.Your eyes feel pushed out as far as they can go, and your heart rate is finally slowing down. You made it through. You turn your head and hope that you never have to go through that again.This was my perspective on going down a street in Vancouver called Hastings. The many faces were faces of people without what we would call a shelter. They didn’t bother us, they might have said some things to me, and definitely got some stares. When we debriefed at the end of the day, I shared how terrified I felt. My heart was so heavy, I thought I was going to cry at one point. We were all together, having a great day and the next thing I know, I am experiencing a massive wave of people who are living with nothing. Let’s just say all this is still sinking in. The Holy Spirit is stirring in all of our hearts - teaching, convicting, leading, guiding us all the way. He is so active and I personally am becoming more sensitive to Him so that I can trust and obey the Lord’s calling. Mid way through the walk on Hastings, the verse from Timothy played in my head: God did not give me a Spirit of fear, but a Spirit of love, power, and self-discipline. This verse is what kept me walking with confidence from God. I am so thankful for our prayer walk this morning through the forest. It was the end of our journey along the “sea wall” around Vancouver. What a breathtaking view that was. Soaking in God’s Creation, overwhelmed by His mercy and grace, while admiring the Pacific ocean waves, mossy rocks, and blue mountains.
Jul 4, 2015
The majority of team arrived safely to the Ontario, CA airport on June 28th. Following our arrival, we traveled as a team to the first destination where we spent fhe first four full days of the tour in training camp. We were located in a lovely town outside of Los Angeles, called Murrieta.
In Murrieta we have stayed in groups of two in host homes, and so enjoyed getting to know these local families connected to Cornerstone Fellowship Christian Church. It was special and encouraging to see Christ represented in the families and we each feel fortunate to have spent time with these believers... THANK YOU again to the Limon's, the Knutson's and the Corse's for their hearts to serve.
Training Camp Daily Schedule:
8am Breakfast with host families, morning devotion
9:30am Travel to Murrieta Tennis Club for practice
10:30am-1pm Training with Coach Benson as a team (Drills, Match Play, Conditioning)
1-3pm Lunch as a team (Ethnic Food!)
6:30pm Dinner together as a team/ Community Outreach Event
8pm Spirtual training: Evangelism
9:30 BED :)
We have loved the beautiful sunshine and moderate temperatures this week... We've had productive (sweaty) practice in preparation for the upcoming California Open tournament, starting early next week (7/7-7/9).
During camp we have spent time meditating:
1 Corinthians 9:24
"Do you not know that in a race all runner's compete, but only one recieves the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it."
The team has had a lot of time this first week to get to know one another and are bonding very well. With such different backgrounds it has been neat to see how the Lord has brought each of us together for this adventure. We share a common love for tennis and strong desire to know the Jesus in a deeper way. Please pray over the next few days that we may continue to encournter the Lord in meaninful way + share boldly with those who we meet.
Thank you for reading and Happy 4th!!