Micah, Nate, and Trevor recently served with Sports Friends on a missions trip to Kenya for Messiah College AROMA student athletes. Interested in a short-term trip with Sports Friends? Find out more at: www.sports-friends.org/go
We all have expectations. When those expectations are drastically wrong, it is a shock. Micah, a senior soccer player, expected the people in Kenya to be sad and walk with a heavy burden on their backs. Since these people had little supply of material objects, he thought they would have difficulty finding joy.
When they arrived in Kenya, Micah was so surprised at how wrong his expectations were! These people were overflowing with joy all the time! Noticing this, Micah was greatly humbled and this totally changed his perspective.
On the last day, Micah and the team washed the feet of the coaches and prayed for them. During this powerful spiritual connection, Micah was amazed at how he could reach out to one man who only knew Swahili. Even though a language barrier stood between Micah and the man for communicating, Micah was still able to connect with him spiritually and pray for him. This showed the power of prayer and of the Holy Spirit to both Micah and to the man.
Micah realized from this powerful spiritual connection how much the Holy Spirit works in him. He is determined to trust in the Holy Spirit to guide him for the future in whatever way that will be, whether it matches with his expectations or not.
On your mark. Get set. Go! It was time to jump on a plane for the first time and take off to Kenya! Nate did not know Swahili, but he hoped he could somehow communicate with the Kenyans.
The plane landed and the team continued on toward their final destination. Nate and the team were amazed at how friendly, open, and excited the Kenyans were. These people were willing to talk about anything and did not take offense easily. Nate was amazed at how the Kenyans relied on God with a level of faith he had not seen before. They put their faith in God above everything in their lives. Because of this, they were bursting with joy, though they did not have much worldly wealth.
During one of the days of camp, Nate and the team washed the coaches feet as a way to show God’s love as Jesus had done to His disciples. This action of love was far more powerful than anything Nate had experienced. God was at work in him, his team, and the coaches.
Nate saw God working relationally between his team and the coaches throughout the camps as they ministered to the youth. He felt like he had known the coaches for much longer than two weeks. These relationships that built off of their love for God displayed an example to the youth on what it means to love and serve the Lord.
During this trip, Nate had to learn to step out and trust God. He had to trust God during his first plane flight, his first time in Kenya, and his trials in crossing language barriers. Through it all, God gave Nate friends and mentors to guide him and support him along the way. Just like in cross country and track, Nate had a team and a mission as they strove toward the finish line. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
A bilingual soccer game commenced in a neighborhood’s soccer field in Kenya. Neither team could communicate well. Both teams felt as if a void was between them. However, as these two teams played soccer, something they could do without knowing how to speak the same language, they formed a bond that erased the void. Suddenly, the teams could communicate in a way they never imagined.
Trevor was amazed at this experience with the two soccer teams. He and the team realized during and after the soccer game, that though they did not speak the same language, through their soccer bond, they could show in their actions the love of Christ. Actions can have as much power as words can.
While being in this neighborhood, Trevor also learned that even when you live in poverty, you do not have less joy or a weaker relationship with God. In fact, you could have more joy or a stronger relationship with God than someone not in poverty. He realized the importance of looking beyond material objects and looking at spiritual things that God looks at, like in 1 Samuel 16:7.
Towards the end of the boys camp, Trevor and his team had the honor of washing the Sports Friends coaches’ feet. During this ceremony, Trevor turned his focus to the youth watching– the unannounced onlookers. This was Trevor’s favorite part of the ceremony. These young people had never witnessed love in this way before, and they gazed at this action in awe. Through this wordless action, Trevor was able to look beyond the material and to see these youth as God sees them; holy and beloved.
Written by Callie West, Sports Friends Communications Intern