Well guys, we made it! This past Thursday we landed here in Panama City safely and without any major complications (thank you Jesus!). And people, let me just tell you, this place is one of the most fascinating countries I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. It’s basically a city in the jungle and I’m completely in awe.
Okay so what we’ve been getting up to these past few days is probably what you’d like to hear more about, so let me share that with you! So far our time has been dedicated to training as preparation for the work to come in the approaching days.
We’ve been guided through in-class training sessions geared towards equipping each athlete to better serve, encourage and learn. This has looked like learning and practicing how to share our faith and our story with others, while also taking some time to self-reflect and better understand ourselves and the roots that comprise the innermost parts of our being. It’s proven to be a challenging and especially refining process, but well worth it.
Along with this, we’ve had the privilege of learning so much about the history of Panama from one of the local workers here named Selegna. It’s been so fascinating to learn from her, while also being incredibly helpful for us as we prepare to enter into the culture and engage with the community.
And since, of course, a large part of what we’ll be doing with our time here is playing soccer, we have been training as a team each day in preparation of the games we will be playing in the upcoming days. And let me tell y’all, it’s been pretty toasty down here in Panama. Our stamina has definitely been tested, but it’s been amazing to come together as a team comprised of athletes from all over the world and play together on one unified team. Sure, we maybe aren’t ready for the World Cup just yet, but I must say, I’m impressed by the way each athlete has made such an effort in bringing their all to this new team.
The men’s team will be playing in their first game today at 5:00pm local time and the women’s team will have their first game on Monday, so stay tuned for results and updates on those exciting first games! Also, something definitely worth mentioning… the women’s team will have the chance to play against Panama’s National Women’s Soccer Team this week! What!? If that isn’t the coolest thing ever, then I don’t know what is.
Okay, I’m getting too excited, let’s bring things back. Another part of our training days have included several team building exercises designed to do just that, build and strengthen our team dynamic. But this process has been much more complex than just your average team building exercise. These exercises have provided a basis for understanding the greater purpose of what we desire to accomplish with our time here. Some of these themes have included giving more of ourselves than maybe we’re comfortable with, and taking a risk to just maybe, step into deeper freedom than we’ve ever known before.
So the journey continues friends. Soon our training will be complete and we will be out in Panama beginning the work we have come here to do. So stay tuned, the fun is only just beginning!