To learn: defined as acquiring knowledge of or skill in something by study, experience, or being taught. Heading into Rwanda, I had very little expectation as I have never been to the country prior to the tour, but I did believe I was going to teach soccer and the gospel to some incredible people.
It’s funny how you think one thing and God shows you another. I went in thinking I was the teacher, or at least one of the teachers, and came out feeling like a student in culture, religion, and yes, even soccer.
The culture in Rwanda was totally different from here in the United States, yet the people there had a sense of strength. Running clinics with Ambassadors throughout the tour was eye opening. As we, the coaches, ran around in our tennis shoes and cleats, smiling, sharing the gospel and teaching the girls sport, I was humbled as many girls came barefoot and those with sandals would share with others.
The camps were hectic due to the overwhelming number of little girls who came out seeking the knowledge of soccer from some professionals in the sport but also who thirsted for the word of God. Hectic from the coaching perspective, but God made it known that we were doing something well because looking around all you saw were smiles across the faces of the beautiful girls attending the clinics.
The clinics we ran were definitely works of God. Buses ran on their own schedules, more children showed up than expected, and of course the weather was hot but everything also went so well. From drills, to prayer time, God made sure his hand fell on us with every obstacle that popped up. His work was our mission.
I have never felt so loved and welcomed by a group of people who, until a few days before the tour, I had never met. Ambassadors has a great way of making sure to choose the right people to attack the challenges ahead with a smile and determination to be the best possible. I truly believe that God put all of us on that tour for a reason.
One of my favorite moments was the game we played against the Rwandan national team. It was what you call a pivotal moment for the girls on the team, the country of Rwanda, and the sport of soccer. Soccer isn’t just about the wins and loses its more than that. Much, much more. It’s teamwork, character building, problem solving, faith, struggle, perseverance, progress, love and so much more.
God was working wonders with the Rwandan national team. Yes, we did beat them in both matches, but looking beyond the results we helped them build their program with the help of God. He moved through the games to show the Rwandan federation that those girls should have more funding and support to compete on the national level.
Being on that tour changed my outlook on life. It sounds cliché but ever since I have been home I have found love in everyday life. Ambassadors is a great platform to spread love throughout the world simply with soccer. I learned that if someone in this world is wanting to know more about the word of God, there is a way to preach to them. Whether it’s through soccer, dance, prayer, or so many other methods, God finds a way to use the people capable and reach those with desire.
If I could take one moment away from the tour it would be having one of those beautiful girls run up to me at the end of the last clinic and ask if I was going to be back tomorrow. With all my heart I wish I could have told her “yes, I’ll be here forever” I couldn’t. But I do know those girls will have the hand of God watching over them.