Soccer - Panama

  • Closing Time

    Section: Soccer

    Canadian Soccer Project to Panama

    As the last few days of tour approached, I started to think about how I wanted my last few games and clinics to go. I wanted to make sure that I made the most of my opportunities to share my faith and show God's love to kids at camp. I prayed that God would really help me connect relationally with kids through meaningful conversation as I approached my last few camps.

    The last clinic came quite unexpectedly when Brian notified the team that one of our final two clinics had been cancelled. We were told that our last clinic would be held at an orphanage. This was exciting news for me because it was going to be my first time at an orphanage. I didn't really know what to expect. I knew that these kids were longing for love that they never received from their parents. This final clinic was not so much about soccer as it was about love. The kids loved physical contact: hugs, high fives, and piggyback rides. God used me to love on these kids and show me how powerful love truly is. During the final coaches vs. campers game, I just stopped playing and decided to give one of the kids a ride on my shoulders. He had a blast. We flew around the pitch while battling Brandon and his wingkid. Afterwards the little kid who I had played with said to me, "Thanks for playing with me and for being my dad today". This really broke me down; I realized how much these kids need fatherly love that only God can provide to them. I felt guilty for coming to camp and giving them all that individual attention and then leaving them "parentless". We talked about this during team time and one of my teammates mentioned that we just gave them the most fun two hours of their lives. Changing my perspective on the situation helped me see how powerful God's love is and how much of an impact I can have when showing His love to others.

     "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:4-5

     - JT

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  • Beyond The Game

    Section: Soccer

    Canadian Soccer Project to Panama

    While each day of this trip has been incredible, today stood out, today we were challenged to work two running clinics in the same day. It was incredible to see how God gave each of our guys the drive to love each of the kids all day long. Our team’s enthusiasm was contagious as you could see everyone was having fun and glorifying God through it all. The second clinic was a little different than the rest of the ones throughout the tour. However, it was through this clinic that I saw God really show up the most.

    While we had previously worked with schools for our clinics, the second clinic today presented us with the opportunity of going to an orphanage to work with around 40 kids of varying ages. It was really cool to see how our guys stepped up and let Jesus shine through them. 

    During a short time while I had a break from the action, I had the chance to sit off to the side and just watch. My heart overflowed as I saw our guys loving and ministering to all of the kids. I saw guys carrying kids on their shoulders, cheering on the kids in each station, and just sharing the love of Christ with them. Even though we only had the opportunity to interact with them for two hours today, I believe that our impact will last a lifetime. As I have been throughout this trip, I was reminded constantly today of why we are here. Today it went way beyond soccer. While we came with the platform of soccer, we were able to give these kids so much more than just a lesson on shooting. These kids won’t remember if they won a game of Head-Catch or Tails, but they will remember the affection, love, and care that we were able to bless them with today. 

    At the end of the day, we were able to share the love of Christ; the Father that will never leave them, never ceases caring for them, and never stop loving them. Even though we were sad to leave, we know that they will hopefully never forget this time that we shared with them. At least I know that I never will!

    Please keep praying for our team and our final couple days here in Panama. Pray that we can have the energy to continue to serve the Lord and share His love with the people we meet. 

    God Bless,

    Kyle

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  • The One Thing

    Section: Soccer

    Canadian Soccer Project to Panama

    Wow. I seem to continue to use this word over and over again. So much so, it seems to have lost its meaning for me. But when I think of how to explain all that has gone on and all that I have seen, the only word I can think of is, wow.

    Taking some time to think about this trip and realizing that it’s almost over, I am trying to figure out what has meant the most to me, so that I can fight for that these last couple of days. What I thought would mean the most before coming to Panama was the soccer. I was so excited to play and learn how to incorporate God in sport in a better way.  Yes, that has been outstanding to learn new ways to do that, but for me, surprisingly, that hasn’t meant the most. What has meant the most to me so far has been the people!  From young kids at schools, to older kids at the soccer camps, and finally to all the guys we play against. Every one of these people have changed my life.

    One moment specifically touched my heart was after one soccer clinic with older guys. The guys came up to me and asked for my Instagram name so that they could keep in touch. Naturally, I just gave it to them and said my goodbyes. Later that night I checked my Instagram and saw that a guy from the camp tagged me in a picture. When I look at the picture I see that it is a picture of me and him from the camp that morning captioned: “I just want to say thanks again for showing us that everything can be possible if we put Jesus first in our lives #AIA.” This took me back. It almost brought me to tears. It all clicked for me. Even if the rest of this trip goes horrible it was all worth it. To know that I was used to impact even one life makes this trip worth it. 

    Moving forward with these last couple of days in Panama, I’m excited about playing soccer but not as excited as I am about getting to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this country.

    -Brian

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