Sunday, August 7, 2011

Injuries and Trials=Ministry Opportunities

Friday, August 05, 2011

Today was a full day of soccer. We traveled quite a ways to get to the Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica. That is Costa Rica Tech which would be similar to our Virginia Tech, or Georgia Tech for you SEC people. It is the premier school for engineering and other high tech majors.
The girls played their best game of the trip so far.  They won 2-1.  After the game many of the girls were trying to talk to some of the C.R. players into transferring to Truett-McConnell to play ball.  The Men’s team didn’t far as well.  They are quickly learning what it means to play against the other team and the refs. We lost 2-3, but on a level playing field we would have had a good chance.  It was reminiscent to the U.S. trials in the early stages of the last World Cup.  The boys took quite a physical beating too.  So much so, that for the next couple of games we are going to have to get some Costa Ricans to play with them.  Despite all of the injuries and bad referees, the day’s events opened some doors for Score to have a Bible study at the University. So overall a day well spent.

Earlier this morning the school we were at yesterday with the men’s team (St. Francis) called and asked if we would be able to come and play the girl’s team. The girls were dragging, but said they could not turn down an opportunity to share Christ with another team. To make it a little easier on both teams they played seven on seven. Afterwords they spent a great deal of time with the Costa Rican girls. Once again it was helpful that all the Costa Rican girls spoke English.

Please keep praying for the trip, injuries are starting to pile up. However, the ministry opportunities continue to develop beyond what we were planning.  We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for tomorrow.  


Friday, August 5, 2011

"Those people need the Lord!"

Thursday was our off day for the teams. To start the day we went down to the “market”, which is where tourists like to go to buy Costa Rican souvenirs. The market is a little different than say, Mexico. There really isn’t much haggling over the price. It is pretty much the price they have marked.  What you see is what you get.  However, it was fun seeing the players try to haggle with the vendors.  Some even had a little success!

After the market we had a quick lunch at Coronado then off to a school. The food so far has been great and there has not been any bad physical result from it yet with anyone on the trip. The school we went to was St. Francis which is a private school that is fairly expensive so the kids there come from families that are well off. All the kids are Costa Rican, but most of the classes are taught in English. This made the communication much easier and we didn’t have to rely on the translators as much. The testimonies that were given were still translated to Spanish just to be sure the children understood everything. St. Francis school was very nice.  The soccer field was turf and had a huge net system going around the entire complex. The gym looked like a “Hoosiers” gym but with beautiful dark wood both on the floor and the bleachers. The Women’s team did a little training session to get some of the soreness out from the games they had played over the past few days. The Men’s team put on a clinic with some of the elementary boys. The oldest boy was 10yrs old.  The skill level of all the children were way ahead of American kids their same ages.  Some of them were very impressive to watch.
Ken & St Francis coach

Truett guys & St Francis boys

After our time at St. Francis we had an opportunity to go watch a premier league soccer game. We watched La Liga play against Saprissa which turns out to be the two best teams in Costa Rica. The bulk of the National team is made up players off of these two teams. The atmosphere at the stadium was unbelievable. If you take the most ravines fans from the most intense rivals in the U.S. you’re still not scratching the surface of what was going on in that stadium. The noise was constant, but would surge with just about every good pass, shot, foul, through ball, or missed touch of the ball. We saw yellow cards, red cards, fights, guys taken off the field on stretchers.  None of it because of the famed “soccer flop” either!  They were all quality fouls.  Police were dragging fans out in headlocks!  I’m not sure what you have to do to get taken out that way, but apparently having lit fire in the stadium is not one of them.  All in all it was an amazing experience. The comment of the night from one of the girls was, “Those people need the Lord!”  It was said more out of fear I think, but still very true!     
Stadium on fire
Yellow card being handed out


Saprissa vs. La Liga


Costa Rica: August 1-11

Monday, August 1, 2011

Well, I finally made it to Costa Rica, however it was in question for awhile. My plane broke down in Huntsville twice before eventually getting on the last flight to Atlanta.  I got to the gate in Atlanta just as they were boarding the plane.  Once we were boarded they called us all back off the plane (which is the last flight to Costa Rica that day) to fix something with the air conditioning. That only took about an hour and then we were off. Once in Costa Rica they had some kind of problem with my passport not working with the scanner. So after about 5 customs officers, a pat-down or two, and a bag search I was allowed in the country. However, since then everything has gone very smooth!

Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams from Truett-McConnell have been great. They all seem to really have a heart to serve. The past two days we have put on a couple of soccer clinics for elementary age kids. It is amazing to see that kids are the same everywhere, weather they have money or they live in poverty. They just what to play and to be loved. The first group we worked with live in one of the poorest areas in San Jose. Very few of the kids have fathers and those that do wish they didn’t. Abuse and drugs are very prevalent day and night. We partnered up with another young Costa Rican missionary that lives in this community and works with these families everyday. Diego and his wife are doing a great work here and were very excited to have some help and support. We came back the next day with tons of food to give to Diego and helped him distribute it out to the families with the greatest need. This had a big impact with these families who have never seen the Love of Christ in action in a real and personal way. That day we had another soccer clinic in a private Christian school, which also went very well. The Truett-McConnell students are getting more comfortable sharing their testimony. They all seem to really enjoy working with the kids.
CR soccer clinic
T-M student giving his testimony

Both teams have played two games a peace and are realizing there is a difference in the quality of play between the U.S. and Costa Rica. The field conditions have varied. The first game was at a very nice facility even though the men’s team had to play in the pouring rain (just a foot note they don’t stop for lighting and it was getting close). The next days games were played in a rough part of town and the field was a bit rough to say the least. The crowd was a lot rougher as well. You could smell them smoking weed throughout the game. Perhaps it kept them a little bit more mellow than they normally would have been. So far the girls have tied their first game 3-3 and won their second game 1-0. The boys so far have tied both games 6-6 and 4-4. However, the difference is that they have be playing against High School teams. So these college players have be playing against mostly 16yr. old with a few 17yr olds. However, in their defense the refs defiantly have quit a bit of the home town bias. In all the game we have been able to share the gospel with all the players and they have been very receptive, so please continue (or start) praying for us. 


Friday, July 1, 2011

What a busy month! June 2011

3 days at the lake, 3 days at the beach, 3 days in Atlanta, and 7 days in Costa Rica...and the summer has just started!  What a great month June was.  We were able to travel for 3 weeks with family over three states and two countries.

Our first trip to Costa Rica was a great experience.  We stayed in San Jose at the SCORE Villa, which was very nice.  This was our first opportunity to meet the people we work with on the other side of the ministry.  You will have a hard time finding people with greater love for the Lord and bigger hearts for the people of Costa Rica.  The "Ticos" (I don't know why they refer the Costa Ricans as "Ticos", I asked but did not understand so I just went with it) are very friendly, unless you're an American bringing order into their chaos they call driving.  They are very open to the Gospel and hungry to learn.

Speaking of driving...I was given the privilege to drive while we were down in Costa Rica.  It was a memory I will soon not forget.  Someone told me that they have traffic rules, but I'm not sure that I ever caught on to them.  I did pretty well, but unlike the Tico's, I obeyed every stop sign and traffic light I came to.  The only trouble I had was towards the end of our journey when I wanted to make a left hand turn. I turned on my blinker while I was still sitting at a red light (so as to give ample warning).  After the light turned green I rolled forward about 40 yards to turn and every car on the street started honking their horns at me.  Cars behind me, cars to the right passing me, and cars to the left going the other direction!  It was crazy and everyone in the van couldn't help but laugh.  As I made my left hand turn the Costa Rican drivers gave me some well wishes and advice (at least that what I believe they was in Spanish you know) and we made it safely back to the SCORE Villa where we talked about it for days.
The Champions, Perkins, & Cesar zip-lining

The "we" I keep referring to are my family, Eric and Christy Champion and their three kids.  The Champions are also a SCORE missionary family.  They are in the process of raising support to be able to go full time to Costa Rica by next summer.  MacKenzie and the Champion kids got along great from the beginning. They entertained each other while we got the grand tour of what SCORE is doing, and that is a lot.  SCORE isn't even close to scratching the surface of what the Lord could do through them in just the San Jose area...much less the rest of Costa Rica.  But we are trying!!
SCORE property in Coronado

For me the two areas that seemed like there is great potential to impact that area are in discipleship and developing the property in Coronado.  The Coronado property is about eight acres just outside of San Jose in the foothills of the mountains.  There has be some construction done there already. We have a nice building that will sleep about 32 people, living quarters for the grounds keeper, and a building that is used for the church.  There are plans for this property to house over 200 people, have a transition home for orphans, a more traditional church building, housing for missionaries, and one of the best basketball and soccer facilities in the country. As soon as the finances come in it will be up and running.  The possibilities are endless!

The second day we were there we were involved in teaching volleyball in a local escuela primaria (primary school).  We sat in while Irela (SCORE missionary) taught a bible lesson and verses and then we helped run a volleyball clinic with her husband Cesar.  That was such a fun experience and so amazing that God has opened the door to a public school so they can hear about His Word!

Playing volleyball-Jen was the Coach!
Ken & Cesar teaching soccer

The National Stadium-China gifted to them
While we were there we also were able to go to two sporting events and take MacKenzie zip-lining. First we went to the "Central American Track and Field Games" (that's what I called it, the real title was in Spanish).  All the countries from Central America were there competing and we got to sit with all the athletes in the bleachers, so that was kind of cool.  Then we were able to see the number one ranked basketball team play the number two ranked basketball team in the Costa Rica professional league (the #1 team won).  Even though I am not a big basketball fan it was fun, they play a very physical brand of basketball.  It's almost like watching minor league hockey, for real, there was even a fight.  Last we got to go zip-lining. That was a great experience and one that MacKenzie will never forget.
MacKenzie zip-lining
Pro-basketball game in Barbos

Overall it was a great trip and we learned a lot. Please pray for the ministry in Costa Rica.  We can see that there is a lot more the Lord wants to do down there.     


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes!!

Some of you may have heard this story already, but I wanted to put in on a post so I wouldn't forget it.  So, here goes...On May 7 my youngest child, Trey, was not feeling well and has a belly ache.  He seemed to be fine because he was up and running around with Micah so I just assumed he was "crying wolf" as we like to call it.  Later that afternoon Sienna, my oldest twin, came running up the stairs to me while I was making dinner and was yelling.  This is how that conversation ensued:
Sienna: "Mom, Trey has diarrhea!"
Mom: "Where is he?"
Sienna: "Downstairs"
Sydney: "Sienna, what's diarrhea?"
Sienna: "Its a language for yuckiness!"

PRICELESS...You just can't make this stuff up!  I love how creative children can be. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

just as Christ loved the church

So, this weekend I added to my resume...Wedding Coordinator.  What a great experience it was.  I spent 3 days living and breathing wedding details to make sure that the Bride and Groom didn't have to stress and remember the detatils themselves.  It was an honor and a priviledge to do this for two very special people in my family"s lives.  I am proud to know Micah and Amber St. John!  It was also exciting to see how God brought these two together and was in every detail of this wedding.

Wedding are such a wonderful time in our lives.  It brings families and friends together to celebrate a gift that God has bestowed to us.  Its a time for us to encourage and celebrate two lives coming together.  I love being apart of days like these.   Weddings are such a great time to be reminded of how much God loves us and made such an ultimate sacrifice for us.  In Ephesians 5 the Bible says, God not only loves us, but nourishes us and cherishes us like we would our own children or spouses.  I am so grateful for the sacrifices God has made for me so that I could find a husband who loves Him, wants to serve Him, and wants to raise our children to do the same. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

First Post- (somebody told me I had to write that) ^_^

So we have fought the blog bug for years now, but have finally given in.  I used to think I didn't have enough time...ok, let's be honest...I still don't, but Ken and I realize how many more of our friends, family and financial supporters we can share our lives with.  More importantly what God is doing in our lives. 

We are hopeful that through this you will be able to see our progress of raising financial support with SCORE, view pictures of missions trips we go on, and see how the family is growing.  We would also love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave comments!

Please be patient with us as we learn how to do this!!