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.