Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"I want to be where you are.. I'm running into your arms...

And I will never look back
So Jesus, here is my heart
When did love become unmoving?
When did love become unconsuming?
Forgetting what the world has told me
Father of love you can have me
You can have me."

Well a lot has happened since I last posted...
I was given a full-time teaching job at Jackson Christian, teaching middle school Social Studies, high school English, and a couple PE/weight training classes. It was a rough first year but I made it and I'm so blessed. I decided early in the year to be a leader on the JCS mission trip to Guatemala. I just got back and thought it fitting to write a blog to go along with my other adventures... so here we go!

I left my heart in Guatemala...
I was one of four leaders on the JCS 2011 Mission Trip to Guatemala and it was such a wonderful experience! Feeling God move in my own life and watching God work in the lives of my students/players was incredible. It will always amaze me how big God really is and how we can go from a tiny community at Jackson Christian and still connect with people in a totally different part of the world - different economically, different socially, different emotionally. But still under one commonality.. God.

I fell in love with the people we met in Guatemala. The kids, the people who came to watch us serving their communities, the staff of Global Soccer Ministries (Polo, Charlie, Denilo, Osmar), and the Bantas (John, Amy, Hope, Luke & Titus - the missionary family we worked with - they also are in charge of GSM in Guatemala City). I can't explain to you in words the impact this ministry and these people are having on Guatemala. It has really touched me and I can only hope that God would give me an opportunity to work along side them again. Here's an idea of how we helped when we were there...

When our team arrived we were taken to the Nazarene Seminary where we stayed for the week... they were lovely accommodations! Shout out to my roomies - Madeline and Tamry! :)

Each day our team would head out to one of the sites where GSM held soccer practices and devotionals for the neighborhood kids. Half the day would be spent working on field improvements and cleaning up the area. People would see the group of "gringos" walking through the neighborhood and all of a sudden we had everyone's attention. A little uncomfortable being an attraction but it's what we were hoping for! If those people saw us doing our work, hopefully it would raise questions and maybe even spark a converstation that would lead someone to Christ. Whatever it takes. I believe our group was of like minds when it came to this concept and we did our best to serve with Christ-like attitudes so that we could be a light in a dimmed neighborhood. The other half of the day was spent putting on a soccer themed carnival for the kids. Games that involved soccer throw-ins, shooting and ring tossing were set up and it was such a blessing to see the smiles on the kid's faces just because they were able to be a part of it.

We usually finished the work day with a little soccer match. Two of the days we actually played Guatemalans vs. Gringos. We tied the first day but won 3-1 the next time we played (I even got to play some offense and scored a goal... I don't get to do that too often anymore!). However, after playing on the dirt fields, I told myself that I would never complain about our field at JCS again. Other days, we went to a turf facility called Bremen and played against each other. It was really fun!

We would close out the day with our debriefing sessions and I'm so proud of all the students that shared about what God was teaching them while they were there. It takes courage to do that in front of your peers. I know I wasn't the first one in line to speak in front of people when I was in high school, so I was really excited to see their willingness to do so. God is definitely working in their lives and it is so exciting!

And lastly we couldn't go to bed without a "friendly" card game. Whether it was Euchre, Scum, or Phase 10... it got pretty intense. It was always good for a few good laughs though.

On our last day we had a chance to travel by bus, with our trusty driver Valentine, to Antigua. It is such a cute little city and it has a huge market! We did a little shopping, watched an entertaining mime in the park (who wanted to marry Emma), and even had some time to partake in some delicious ice cream from a shop down the street. All in all, a good day!

I know it's long but I have one more thing...
Global Soccer Ministries is growing! The events that are unfolding in Guatemala City are so exciting. A very generous donor gave money that has allowed GSM to purchase land to make their own site. Big plans are in store and God is going to use them to reach even more people throughout the country. I continue to pray that everything goes smoothly as they start to break ground. Like I said, God is doing some amazing things and I'm so grateful to have been able to witness even just a small part of it. I would love to be more involved and maybe even spend a summer there. We'll see what God has in store for me, either way, I hope that I can go back someday.

He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30