Mexico Men’s Soccer

Buenos dias!

The last two days have been full of wonderful things (despite the 6:00 AM wakeup calls and midnight bedtimes).  We just finished our second day of camp at Instituto Philadelphia Guadalajara, a prestigious bilingual school 10 or 15 minutes from our missionary hosts’ house.  We ran about seven short clinics each of the past two days for children ranging in age from five to fifteen, and we also shared testimonies with each group.  The children were quite well behaved and listened well during testimony time, so we will see what comes of our ministry there.  The kids enjoyed themselves and the staff also appreciated our work and presence in the school; we already have an invitation to play the men’s staff team in a soccer match if we return, which we hope to within the year.

Last night we joined a worship service at a church founded by our missionary hosts; we sang a lot of songs, played tambourines, and shared our life stories while coach Dave spoke to the congregation about Push The Rock.  Tonight we eagerly anticipate playing a match in a park/soccer complex near where we attended church on Sunday.

Tomorrow we plan to participate in our final day of camps during this trip, returning to Los Olivos where we ran clinics on Tuesday.  We anticipate a good turnout as campers from Monday and members of the local church have spread the word and invited more kids.  Thank you again for your prayers.

Dios se bendiga!

Mexico Men’s Soccer 5-28-12

“And the rain rain rain came down down down. . .” sang that beautiful old choir in the background of my family’s Winnie the Pooh VHS.  Ah yes, and the rain is indeed coming down here in Guadalajara as I write.  It sounds beautiful, smells wonderful (I can never breath in deeply enough that fresh clean yet earthy smell of rain) and brings with it a much welcomed refreshing cool.

Our team ran its first clinics today in partnership with a church about 20 minutes outside of Guadalajara, hosting around 50 kids in morning and afternoon clinics.  We met some neat people from the church there in the small village of about 1,000 and appreciated their assistance in translation as well as provision of a facility for camp.  Some of us cleared and bushwhacked the larger of the two open areas prior to camp, thereby simultaneously paving the way for conducting camp and blessing the church by the improvement of its property.

We are very thankful for our small group of guys from the states as we continue to grow closer and enjoy working, eating, and living together.  We have also been very encouraged by a few young men currently involved in coaching/teaching/participating in athletics in notable capacities (one of them Christian, the other, we believe, on his way) who have expressed interest in working with PTR more in the future as they have encountered or participated in the ministry themselves.  Exciting stuff!!  Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us.  We are encouraged by the prospect of the establishment of ongoing sports ministry in Guadalajara as a result of this trip.

Isaiah 55:10-11:

“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Mexico Men’s Soccer 5-26-12

Frank Sinatra once crooned, “It happened. . .in old Mexico.”  He also famously beckoned “come fly with me, let’s fly let’s fly away.”  Franky didn’t exactly have sports ministry on the brain when he told those tales of flying and Mexico.  Nevertheless those little excerpts nicely encapsulate the day for the PTR Men’s Soccer team: flying and Mexico.  After flying from Philly to Dallas Fort Worth, and grabbing a little lunch (some of the guys ate at Popeye’s which was quite disappointing considering spinach made no appearance on the menu) we boarded our connecting flight to Guadalajara, Mexico.  Praise the Lord for a safe arrival!  Shortly after arriving at our missionary hosts’ home, we walked a couple hundred yards to an authentic taco restaurant and sampled the local cuisine, including but not limited to tongue tacos, brain tacos, head meat tacos, and a few hot peppers that had at least one of our team members a little misty-eyed and red-faced.  We’re excited for a great day of rest and Christian fellowship with the Church tomorrow.  Much love to all of you at home.  Blessings!

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-19-12: Home Safe

After an early wake up around 3:30 am and 2 airplane rides…and then the bus ride home…we are all home safe!  Thank you so much for all your prayers and thoughts for this team.  It truly was a fantastic experience for each of us.  It was a blessing to work with our brothers and sisters in San Jose, and we continue to pray for the ongoing work there.

Only one of the 21 bags did not make it back to our final destination, sorry Tannia:)  She’s due to get it tomorrow, not to worry!

 

Pura vida!!

 

Eric, for the Team

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-18-12

Well, we are back at our home base in San Jose safely after a long but great day!  Most are sleeping right now, as we have to hit the road at 4:15 am to get to the airport for our 7:25 departure.

Today we all enjoyed a ‘slow’ morning, met for breakfast at 9 and then lounged at the pool.  There was an intense game of pool basketball as well, but we won’t mention who’s team won!

We checked out of our rooms at noon and headed up the road to a different beach to do some looking around at various tourist shops.  It was HOT! We were all sweating and enjoyed finding stores with the A/C cranking.  A lot of us went on a coffee buying spree at the supermarket, before heading to Subway for lunch and our final visit to POPS for dessert!

With full stomachs we hit the road and made it back to the house by 8pm where we ate dinner and said goodbye to many of our friends from the church we’ve been working with.  We’re now all packed up and ready to come home!  We are to arrive in at Washington Dulles at around 5:30pm, and from there we’ll get on the bus and head to Grantham, PA!

It is hard to believe that our time here has come to an end, we are so blessed to have had the chance to be involved in the ministry of PTR Costa Rica!  Thank you for all your prayers, and we’ll see you soon!

 

The team

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-17-12 Part II

We made it safely to our beach destination!  By the time we made it here, it would be fair to say we were all plenty ready to be out of the bus and in the ocean…which is where most of us headed as soon as we found our rooms.  It is such a blessing to be able to relax here in the beauty of HIS creation, and enjoy a little time together with out such a demanding schedule.  It certainly is a beautiful beach here on the Pacific ocean, and the water has to be in the low 80s. The sand is black(not tar black, but very dark) which most of us have never seen  before.

After some hours at the beach, and for some of us the swimming pool, we ate dinner together and then enjoyed Team Time under the stars, while far off lightning lit up the night sky.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Costa Rica, it’s hard to believe our time is coming to an end.  After spending the  morning here at the hotel, and making the most of our beachfront, we’ll make our way back to San Jose for our last night in Costa Rica.

But not without stopping for some coffee to take back to the US with us!

Buenas noches!

The Team

Summer Camp Scholarships Available

Summer camp registrations are in full swing, and we are excited about the upcoming summer.  As camps begin to fill up we want to remind everyone that scholarships are available to assist families with financial need in sending their children to camp.  Our desire is to provide every child with the opportunity to go to summer camp, because we know the impact it can have on their lives.  If you, of someone you know, is interested in learning more about our scholarship program please visit us here.

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-17-12

We are waking up to another beautiful day in Costa Rica.  Breakfast will be soon under way as we get ready to head to Guanacaste for the beach!  Some internet issues are keeping us from getting video uploaded to the Facebook page, but we’ll keep trying!

It will be about a 4 hour journey in the bus today, so we would appreciate your prayers!  We are so grateful for good health and safety thus far, and we know many have been praying.  We’ll see you soon back in the US!  For now, we are off to the beach!

Nos vemos…

The team

 

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update- 5-16-12

It is hard to believe that already it’s been a week since we met for training on Messiah’s campus in Grantham, PA.  This trip has been amazing thus far!  Today was the end of our ‘ministry’ time here in Costa Rica, as tomorrow we will head to the Pacific Ocean for a little beach retreat before returning home to the US on Saturday morning.  We are not sure what our internet will be like at the hotel, so this may be it until we return Friday evening! We will keep you posted, not to worry.

So today, where to begin!  We began the day heading to a local prison where PTR Costa Rica visits two times a week to work with a group of young men, using soccer and basketball to build love and hope into their lives.  We were able to join the effort today as we filed into the prison, handed in our passports, and walked into the ‘gym.’ We huddled up for prayer together as the young men filed in, handcuffed together, escorted by various armed guards.  Our PTR Costa Rica contingent introduced us all, and then one of our team shared her testimony as they listened very respectfully.  We then split their group into various team for some 5v5 soccer, and our group did the same.  It was a blast, and the guys from the prison played very fair, and very gently as well, but still in a manner that showed their amazing skills!  We rotated through multiple games for an hour or so, mixing with them in the bleachers between games, but then their free time came to an end after the girls shared 2 songs with them, which they LOVED!

We were then taken on a sobering tour of the facility, hearing some heartbreaking stories.  Really, the prisoners in the prison could be any of us, but for the grace of God.  Many of the team expressed their surprise  in the guys who came into play against us- how they seemed gentle and respectful.  The truth is, we all make mistakes.   This experience is a great reminder to all of us about the forgiveness of Christ and how with out His truth in our lives, we could be there too.  The time in the prison was eye opening to us all I think, and  a good time with those we met, who were very grateful we spent the morning with them playing soccer and sharing.

After the tour we headed to the school where we would be doing some painting.  The tour put us a bit behind schedule, but since flexibility is key, we knew it would just have to be okay!  We gobbled up lunch upon reaching the school, and then broke out the paint!  We were to paint a ‘mural’/design on the wall surrounding the basketball court/soccer field, and also repaint the goal post and lines marking the cement floor.  Everyone jumped in with lots of energy, as the clock was ticking towards the time we would need to leave by to make it to our game!  We had about an hour and a half to get it done, and it was so cool to see everyone working at different things to help get this project done!  It turned out great, and hopefully it will bring some smiles to some children’s faces in the days, months, years to come.

We said our goodbyes and headed back to the house for a quick snack, before boarding the bus to head to our second and final game during our time here.  Equipo Arenal Coronado was our opponent, the current top women’s team in the country(not counting the National team of course!). The field was very nice, and it was clear from the start that this would be a tough match.  Both teams played hard, battling to a 1-1 tie.  Corinne scored in the first half, and then Arenal Coronado tied it up in the second half…after a very questionable foul call! Arenal’s goalkeeper made an amazing save that kept Messiah still at 1 goal,  and so the game ended in a draw.  Messiah did well against this very skilled and quick team.  What makes it even better is that Messiah spent the day working and even playing, and still managed an amazing effort.  After the game, one of our players shared her testimony, all prayed together, took various photos, and loaded back on the bus to head home for dinner.

It’s been a great week for sure, but we are clearly all feeling the effects of the schedule.  I couldn’t be more proud of this group of young women who have served as Jesus would serve, and have loved the children and opponents as He would have them love.  It’s been a blessing for me to be a part of.  As I mentioned earlier, we’ll be heading to the beach tomorrow, which means we could be ‘offline’ until our return on Friday!  We have a bit of a drive, so we’d appreciate your prayers for sure!

Thanks for your continued support, we are soaking up the time here in San Jose!  New pictures and video are up on the PTR Facebook page, be sure to check them out!

Pura vida!

Eric, for the team