As we make our way home today and tomorrow, it is a time of reflection on all the work God has done on this trip. It has been a blessing to see Him work through each of the members of our team, as well as through the people we met along the way.
During the past several days in the humidity of Panama City, our team had an opportunity to run a coaching session for a team of young girls, as well as play three soccer matches against local teams. We also had time to visit the Panama Canal and do some other sightseeing.
For the coaching session, we led a practice for a group of young girls brimming with energy and love for soccer. This session allowed us to share our skills in a new way; we were able to build up young players, and were also able to share the gospel with them. It was a short time, but a great experience and a fun opportunity to show God’s love.
For our games, we played an 8 vs 8 match, as well as two 11 vs 11 matches. Several girls from Panama joined our team for these matches to boost our numbers, allowing us unique opportunities to spend more time building relationships and learning about the culture.
Two of the Panamanian girls that played with us shared that they could clearly see a difference within in our team. They saw the love and encouragement we shared; they saw that we did not play for our own glory, but rather for something greater. This reminded me of our time in Mexico, as two of the Mexican girls that had played with us shared similar observations.
Our relationship with God allows us to play soccer, in fact to do anything, with the knowledge that we are loved and accepted. We do not have to strive and stress on the field, or off the field. As the local girls testified; this is not something many sports players experience. Rather, they are constantly caught within the stress of competition; the need to prove themselves and their worth to their teammates and coaches.
These observations shared by the local girls throughout the trip were a highlight for me personally. As Christians, our lives should be a living, breathing testimony to God and His work within us. I believe our team exemplified this beautifully. It was evident to our teammates, opponents, and audience that our team had something truly special.
Though we came from many different countries, and though we had only known each other for a short time, we shared a deep bond and love, only explainable by a deeper love for God. Even now, as we say goodbye to the friends we have made on this journey and as we travel back to our homes, we can rest in the confidence that the relationships we have built through Christ will carry over into eternity.
– Amanda Kocurek (Minnesota, USA)