Wrestling - Guatemala

  • They just kept coming in -Guatemala Wrestling

    Section: Wrestling

    On Sunday morning, we went to a branch of Cristobal’s church in Puerto Barrios. Since only Luis and his family came to the cookout the night before, we figured that they would be the only ones to join us at church. To our delight just after we arrived, Julio the coach came in with his two kids. Twenty years ago I (Rob) wrestled Julio here in Guatemala on my first trip with AIA. We were the same weight. He was Greco and I was Freestyle so we just practiced together, but I remembered him as a very tough wrestler. As the music started, another group of wrestlers came in! As the songs progressed, more and more wrestlers arrived. Eventually the whole club from Friday night was there along with Luis and Julio, the coaches, and their families! We were overjoyed! We spoke with the pastor afterward and the church will now be doing weekly Bible studies with the wrestling club. It has been a major focus of our trip to connect the wrestling clubs with volunteers from AIA who we have been able to help train while we are here. 

    We all went to lunch after church, again just sharing life. As we talked at lunch, we learned that none of the wrestlers or coaches attends a church and that they all really enjoyed the service. Many filled out cards to be connected to learn more about the church. This was again God’s timing. After lunch we ran some small errands, met as a team, and then hung out by the pool with Julio and Luis while their children played in the pool. It was a great time of just relaxing and living life with each other as we shared stories. 

    We have invited both Julio and Luis to come to Ohio this fall for our International Coaches Academy.  They were both very interested! It was neat for me (Rob) to see that seeds planted from 20 years ago are starting to be harvested now!

    On Monday, we headed back to the City and practiced with the national team. We set up a Bible study for Tuesday with them before practice. As of now, there are 125 wrestlers in Bible study in four cities since the start of our trip! 

    God is continuing to make himself known to people here in Guatemala and around the world!

  • God's perfect timing in Guatemala - Wrestling

    Section: Wrestling

    God has perfect timing! We had gone back and forth about how many days we would stay here in Puerto Barrios. Originally, it was only one, but we decided to stay through the weekend. We started the day with breakfast and then a Bible study lead by Cristobal. Cristobal shared his heart and stories of his time on staff with Athletes in Action here in Guatemala. The guys really enjoyed his stories, especially the unique opportunities God had brought in Cristobal’s path. Little did we know, we were in store for one of those opportunities later that night!

    One of the coaches had invited us to a traditional meal cooked by his mom, but when we arrived there were a ton of young athletes running around. Turns out there is a triathlon competition here in Puerto Barrios on Sunday. These athletes and coaches were staying in the federation building where we had practice and were to have our cook-out.  While the guys went to in to see our hosts, Mark and Cristobal stopped to talk with some of the kids and share a little. Mark ended up giving his testimony and in the end 12 kids gave their lives to Christ! Not wanting to be rude to our host, we finished one of the most amazing meals anyone could have: chicken, potatoes, and homemade tortillas. We then invited the kids back in to play some games with them, share a little about what we do, and pray for their competition. Cristobal was able to meet one of the coaches, who was Cuban judo Olympian, and his two daughters who were among the kids we shared with. The coach was very excited to hear about what Cristobal is doing here in Guatemala and the possibility of his athletes (and daughters) being involved! God has continued to smash doors open here in Puerto Barrios. We invited the local wrestling to church with us in the morning. Stay tuned to hear how it turned out….

  • Is anyone at practice in Guatemala? - Wrestling

    Section: Wrestling

    Yesterday we woke up again at 6:00 am to head to Puerto Barrios, about 350 km from where we are staying in Guatemala City. We stopped part way for breakfast and later for a break to stretch our legs. We spent about 7 hours in the van. The guys attitudes have been great and I don’t think a single guy has complained on this trip. This is an amazing testament to the guys, with all the schedule changes, long drives, different conditions, new food, and many more changes in schedule. Our hotel is just what these boys needed. It has 2-3 guys in a room and a pool! Most guys hung out at the pool before our 5 o’clock practice. At 5:00, we headed to the gym only to find out practice was at 7:00. We went back to hotel, had some downtime, then headed back to the gym at 7:00. When we arrived it was completely dark. We decided to wait it out and finally around 7:30 wrestlers started to arrive. What can you expect? It was a Friday night! The workout was good with lots of drilling and live wrestling. It was hot and humid so we all got a really good sweat. We had a great workout and Tom did an AMAZING job of sharing his testimony. Tom told the wrestlers that he used to put everything into winning and losing wrestling matches. Winning used to define his whole existence, but now he puts his confidence in God's love and not his wrestling. This really spoke to the wrestlers since Tom won a silver medal at the Pat Shaw tournament last weekend. This is Tom’s third trip with AIA and it has been neat to see him using the things he has been taught in the past and applying them to his life. The guys were really into what he had to say. Afterwards, we invited them to join us for dinner at McDonald’s. We weren’t sure if they would come or not, but when we arrived after a quick shower there were about 10 guys there! We ate with them and they invited us to come for a traditional meal cooked at their homes by one of the wrestler’s parents. Wrestling truly is a small brotherhood around the world and we are excited to share a meal, our lives, and our faith with the guys tomorrow.

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