PS: Hi Mom, Dad, Matt + Fam :) thank you so much for all of your support & prayers throughout this trip..love you all tons of tons of tons!!!!!!!! :))) <3
We have all returned safely to the US & are happy to be off the plane & back with our loved ones. We were so blessed with an amazing trip, amazing people & an amazing country!!! God is SO good & we truly experienced His love, light & joy all throughout Cape Town. We witnessed the stark contrast in lifestyles & how the Lord continues to work through even the toughest of situations. We also saw how soccer can be a used as a tool to spread the Gospel. We were blessed with the people of the Ambassadors Football Organization & we are so thankful for their hospitality, wisdom & love that they constantly shared!! The people of Cape Town are so loving & willing to serve others. This trip & the people we had the privilege to work with captured our hearts & changed our lives! Thank you so much to all of you who prayed, supported & followed our trip..we are so thankful for you!!! We hope that you enjoyed the journey!! As we return to our normal routines, we ask for prayers of comfort, peace & guidance as we seek to use this trip to further the Gospel here in the States!! God is working & will continue to work in & throughout Cape Town & I pray for a blessing over them. And to my girls on the trip - Sawubona & thank you for flying South African Airways! :)
PS: Hi Mom, Dad, Matt + Fam :) thank you so much for all of your support & prayers throughout this trip..love you all tons of tons of tons!!!!!!!! :))) <3
Hello, so i have been the gentleman leading your children for the last few days on there journey through Cape Town. My name is Roberto or as some of you may have read in previous blogs you can call me Rob. Cape Towns weather has been really kind to the ladies, today was no different.
With the sunshine giving them some extra energy to attack the last day, the team enjoyed a early breakfast and one last devotion with Ben before heading out to the prison. Coach lead today's training and the response was pretty amazing, the guys enjoyed the different style of coaching whilst the ladies were merely spectators and ball girls(which they loved).As they said their goodbyes, a group photo ended the ladies time inside the prison. Lunch was had at the Nelson Mandala statue one last time, as i reflected on what the last two weeks has meant to me. I have been truly blessed by these ladies, each of them different and unique, just the way God intended them to be. What privilege i have had to get to know them.
We headed out for one last activity, 5-a-side futsal. As the sun set behind Table Mountain a few photos were taken before a last meal with the Ambassadors family. We chatted and hung out but i could see the effect the last two weeks have had on the ladies, tired eyes and bodies was plain to see. As we left Bens house, we were greeted by some mist. I found it rather fitting as i have gained 10 sisters and a new mentor. I'm slightly teary eyed as my heart hurts a little having to say goodbye in the morning.
I have been blessed by this group. They might have come just to assist us sports missionaries but they have definitely made an impact in my life. Baie dankie julle, ek is lief vir julle almal!!!
We woke up to a bright beautiful morning in South Africa, although we were all feeling a little worse for wear. Ben, the head coach of the Cape Town branch of the Ambassadors, lead another devotional for us that focused on the third part of "How to Love Like God". Ben pointed out that God does not love us because we behave or because we do things to glorify Him- those things are only the results of our love for Him. He does not expect us to do anything for Him or to earn his love, Jesus already took care of that. It was a little hard to hear that we did not truly understand what it meant to love someone. Furthermore if the way we have been showing love is wrong, then most likely the way we received love was also flawed. We had to look to God and His word to discover what love should really look like. Jesus loved all people no matter their deeds. He did not expect anything from them he just loved them. For an example of this we can look at those of whom he chose to be his disciples: a tax collector who (most likely) sinned by taking more money from the people to keep for himself, two fishermen who had very little education, if any, and then there was Paul who was the most educated but who needed the most convincing before he followed Jesus. From this we can gather that we are not perfect and, therefore, should not place expectations on those we love. Ben pointed out the nasty cycle we put ourselves through: expectations placed on another person leads to disappointment, but your disappointment leads to their guilt and shame because they think they are not worthy of your love, which often leads to them wanting to please you even more and then more disappointment. We naturally want to hear that we are good enough, so when we do not meet those expectations then our self-worth plummets. This lead back to the conversation we had about identity. As christians we put our identity in Christ, so Ben asked us why we feel unworthy when God tells us he loves us. The truth is we are all worthy of God's love. God took special care when he made us all and God does not make junk.
After our devotional time with Ben, we went to visit Roberto's church, the Urban Edge Church. Urban Edge started off as an Assembly of God but then split off after they felt the Lord leading them in a different direction. Their target audience is the new generation. They focus on connecting with these individuals and helping young adults come to know Jesus. They have an amazing kids program as well. They care just as much about the spirit of the children as they do about the spirit of the attending adults. They separated the children into age brackets based on the way they learn and process information. Each ministry is tailored to these children, but they learn the same lesson that the adults receive. This is done so that after church the children and their parents can share what they have learned and explore the bible together. Each of the children ministries have their own worship, service, prayer time, and connection group time. They are also just as invested in developing a sense of responsibility. Like the adult worship team, the children's worship team has a roster of kids who want to participate in worship and they rotate who performs for each of the services. This keeps things new and interesting in all levels of the church. It was amazing to see how a non-traditional church is impacting the community and developing their relationship with God.
We traveled across Cape Town to Hillsong Church and received instructions on safety before heading out to Mitchell's Plain where we worked with children in after school programs. Coach, Jordyn, Lindsay, and Melia were dropped off at one site where they played with the children and got to spend time showing them love and compassion. Kat, Sammie, Kristin, and Megan where taken to another site with Roberto where they joined a hip-hop class and impressed the kids with their fly moves. Trish, Emily, and I went to a third site with the director of Hillsong's outreach program and their Argentinian intern, Thomas (he turned 25 that day!). We played soccer with the boys and caught them off guard because, yes, girls can play soccer. It was very humbling to see such joy in the kids even though they lived in an area overcome with crime. They were all so sweet and such a blessing to get to know.
Following these activities we went with the Hillsong group to their after school soccer program where we met the coaches Keith, Miguel, and Daniel. The U-16's had a game the next day so they were running through conditioning drills, therefore, we all migrated to the U-14,s and U-12's. At this point we were well versed in over running a soccer program with our players, so we jumped in laughing and smiling and then took off with the rest of their team. Communicating through soccer is by far the easiest way to truly get to know a person. You can't hide who you are, and for us that was an amazing blessing. God has blessed us with a language spoken by every country and almost every child.
We did get some time to be young women. Game faces on and eyes alert, we headed to one of the wildest places we knew: the mall (da-da duh duh)!! Now this sounds like it would be fun and relaxing, but for soccer girls this is one of our biggest challenges. It really is a love hate relationship that personally confounds me every time. I mean seriously, WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CHOICES IN THE FOOD COURT?!?! I never know where to look, then when you feel as if you're at your breaking point they put the Chinese take out next to the Mexican take out and you break down in tears because the decision is too hard. I'm pretty sure we spent most of our time deciding what to eat.
Mean while coach was presenting her lecture on team culture and how to foster it. I would have really liked to hear that... I might make her re-do the entire thing on the plane ride home if we're near each other. Ben, Rahel, Juju, Buja, Christina were all in attendance (and if you don't know by now, they were the very special individuals from the ambassadors who kept us entertained for the past two weeks). Coach would also like to add that they ate Debonair's Pizza- the official best pizza of South Africa (as told by Roberto).
We are all so thankful to be apart if this trip. The people have been a blessing to us in ways that can not be described. Please still pray for us for as we prepare to travel home!
Lots of Love from Cape Town,
(HRH) Corrine La France
P.S. Hi Mom, Dad, Aimee, and Jeanette- as you can tell I'm still alive! LUMU
P.P.S in case you didn't know "P.S." means "post script"!! The more you know!!!
This morning greeted us with some rain, stiff limbs, and an excitement for what the Lord had in store for us for the day. Rahel, an Ambassador's staff member, presented a devotional for us that focused on discovering the meaning and source of our identity. In South Africa (and throughout much of the world), identity is easily placed in actions or a performance. For many, this comes through success in sports, a job, what others think, etc. We reflected on worldly things that we put our identity in by asking the question: "If [place source of identity here] was taken away, would you still know who you are?" I challenge you to ask yourself that question now. Who would you be without your family, friends, sport, or job? Rahel then directed our eyes towards Mark 1:11, which states, "And a voice came down from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.'" She explained that these words were spoken to Jesus BEFORE he died on the cross or performed any miracles. How crazy is that?! God was well pleased with Jesus just because of who Jesus was, not as a result of his actions. In the same way, Jesus is well pleased with us just as we are, right in this moment, before we score a goal, get a pay-raise, or cook a meal for a neighbor. Jesus delights in us. In Philippians 3:7-11, Paul also explains our true identity is not found in worldly things as he states, "I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes through God is faith." Our identity is hidden in Christ, in His death and resurrection and righteousness that was all accomplished on the cross. What a gift :)
After our devotional, we ate a packed lunch in one of the gardens at Stellenbosch University. We felt like ants. There were massive redwood trees, thick-leaved agave plants, and pond plants with leaves the size of our heads. It's amazing how wide of a variety of plants the Lord has created, each in such a specific part of the world! After exploring the forest-like garden, we headed towards Kuyasa, a nearby township.
Similar to Khayelitsha, Kuyasa is home to many local South Africans who were discriminated against during Apartheid. In the middle of this township, however, is a community center called Training for Change, which serves after-school snacks and provides after-school programs to local children (one of these programs is girls-only soccer training, something unheard of in South Africa.) Our team was split into two groups, one of which stayed at Kuyasa, the other headed to a similar training facility called Kayamundi. Each group watched part of the training session at their respective facility, then got to spend some time playing alongside the girls. Only about 12 girls could be a part of each training program (in order to allow each coach to truly get to know their players), so there were many boys and girls surrounding the field and watching. In South Africa, it is incredibly rare to find a program dedicated to girls' soccer only, so the girls loved the specific time set aside for their own training. You could tell it was more important to them that their coach wanted to spend intentional time with them, than it was for them to actually play soccer. We were struck by how much these girls loved their coach. For many of them, their coach is the only healthy male role model that they have. What joy they had on their faces when their coach praised them, cheered for them, or smiled at them during practice :) And their coach loved their excitement! We saw that this was a picture of the delight the Lord takes in us, and His desire for us to delight in Him as well.
We waved goodbye to the children of Kuyasa and drove towards the University of Cape Town for our final full scrimmage. It was amazing how quickly the township landscape transformed into the beautiful mountain-surrounded campus of UCT. What a gift it was to play on their turf field! The UCT women's team played much differently than the team we played yesterday, as they had more structure to their game and played in a similar manner to teams we face during our regular season. We scored the first goal during the third 25-minute period, which was quickly followed by a UCT goal. With only a few minutes left in the final period, Lindsay Hutton scored the winning goal for GCC, assisted by Kat Kouzelos! Apart from the win, we were so thankful for the chance to play with another South African team and allow the Lord to unite us all with the simple game of soccer. We rest tonight in the unchanging identity the Lord has provided for us through the cross, and in the hope of the many different ministries here in South Africa.
Thank you for you prayers and support throughout our journey, the Lord is using each of you to further His mission in South Africa! :) Romans 15:13
Megan Van Kirk
P.S. I love you Mom, Dad, Will, Jon, and Matt :)
After yesterday where we all had literal mountain top experiences, today we were reminded of this wonderful truth: that while God will sometimes beckon us to the mountain tops and we stand in awe of Him there, He also sustains us in the valleys of our ordinary days. This morning Ben, director of Ambassadors, gave morning devos. He is especially passionate about addressing the issue of fatherlessness which is very prevalent in South Africa. So today he talked about our perfect Father ~ just as He was well pleased with Jesus, so also He is pleased with us because of the cross. We learned today about the Father's deep and unwavering pleasure and delight for us today and we are humbled because we know it is all because of His grace shown at the cross of Christ. As a result, we can play soccer and do everything in life from a place of having already received the highest love.
The morning and afternoon was spent at Sports For Christ Action South Africa, where our friends Godfrey and Nate had us engage in several team building activities. We definitely learned the value of communication and interestingly, Godfrey also talked about the steadfast joy God has for His children. We are so encouraged by the joy of the people here :))
Tonight we played our game against a college team (girls this time!) in the rain under lights. After winning 5-0, here are our take aways from the game: South Africans are extremely quick and we had to work hard to keep up, girls teams even halfway around the world seem very similar (they were all singing and goofing off just like we do haha), soccer brings people together, but ultimately, Christ unites. It was amazing getting to circle up and pray at the end with them just like we do at Grove. Who are we that our God who holds all these mountains in His hand also reveals Himself in the most ordinary ways like playing soccer? We appreciate all your prayers and love counting all the ways that The Father shows His joy to us. Sending allll of our love to you guys from South Africa!! He is so good all the time:))
Ps~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY MRS. WILD!!:))
Today was our Sabbath from ministry and God blessed us with a beautiful full day of blessings upon blessings. We started the day by joining the church where we are staying for their morning worship. It was not a typical service for us. It was a time for the church body to just worship and to allow the Spirit to move. We heard testimonies, words from Scripture, prayers, and songs. They served our group communion and they shared words of encouragement from God to us corporately and individually. It was certainly a time of filling for us and allowing their church to serve us. That was not what we expected when we walked in!
After church we headed to Table Mountain and went to the top. This was my third time going up there, but it cannot get old. There is really no place quite like it for a chance to be overwhelmed with the beauty of God, but also to be reminded of His bigness!
And if that were not enough for the day, we were then invited to a braai at the Prins home. They live in the Newlands Forest near the base of Table Mountain. Before we ate Marika took us for a hike through the forest which was beautiful. So many trees and flowers with views of Table Mountain on one side and the city of Cape Town on the other. Then back to the house for a feast which brought to mind Thanksgiving for me (minus turkey, substitute lots of sausages and pork). They opened their wonderful home to us and made us feel so at home. They even gave us gifts to take home!
This day was such a gift from beginning to end, confirming that we were meant to be right here, right now. We are full and ready to finish the work God has planned for us here!
Today was another great day in Africa!! We started the day with a delicious breakfast and then went to a public park where we helped Ambassadors put on a race called Run 4 the World. Rather than racing for distance, participants ran for 90 minutes. For every lap they completed during this time, sponsors would donate a certain amount. The donations went to Ambassadors in Cape Town and Ambassadors in Mexico. The event went successfully and some of us even were able to run a few laps in between our duties. After that, we went to an Ajax game. Ajax is the Cape Town professional soccer team. They played in the Cape Town Stadium which was totally sweet!! Although the stands were basically empty, you would never be able to tell that by listening to the crowd. They are the most enthusiastic fans ever and incorporated drums and dancing into their cheers:) When the game was over, we were so blessed to take a stroll along the beach and watch the sunset over the ocean. The Lord's beauty was so evident in this evening and we were blown away by the majestic mountains behind us and the expansive ocean in front of us. Next, we went to the mall (once again) where we ate dinner at Spurs and got gelato. Kristin was inspired to get the Spurs' staff to sing happy birthday to Coach (even though her birthday was in March). We laughed a lot as you can imagine coach's face when presented with ice cream, a sparkling candle and a multitude of people singing a birthday song to her :) I think this was another example of how much joy we have experienced in this country. We start our days with smiles and end with belting laughter. The joy in this place is truly contagious and has come in many unexpected places.
We started off our day with breakfast and devotions with other Ambassador staff members, and then headed out for a surprise visit to the Drakenstein Lion Park. We saw multiple lions (obviously) that had been rescued from all around the world, as well as some tigers. We didn't get to pet any of the animals, but we got a team pic in front of a sleeping lion. After lunch we headed out to the soccer field to help Ben coach the kids from the elementary school again. We got to be the "coaches" of their teams again, and everyone had a really great time. -Melia
p.s. Hi Miss Linda! Thank you so much for helping us before we left, we truly appreciate it.
After an eventful morning, we spent Thursday evening at St. Peters church helping their volunteers run a soup kitchen. The goal was simply to provide for a few of the needs of some local people who were without homes. Consequently, our main focus was to sit down and enjoy a meal with whoever came in. Our team split into groups; some went with the adults who came in, some went with the children, and some helped serve the meal. Those of us in the children group played and talked with them, teaching them Bible verses. Those of us in the adult group sat down and talked to whoever joined our table. Those of us serving brought drinks and food to the tables. Coffee and tea were offered first, followed by a pasta dish. Many of the people who came in were hungry and were happy to have a meal, but what they really wanted was someone to talk to. They truly appreciated having someone who would actively listen to them, remain curious, and ask questions. Some of them were in very difficult circumstances, yet they were fairly open in discussing their experiences and what they've learned along the way. It was humbling for all of us, and it was a reminder of the many blessings we have but often look over. We all talked to different people and likely all have different stories to share. Overall, we strived to serve by love; listening to and interacting with these people let us love them in a way they might not often experience. There was an impact on both sides, and the experience won't soon be forgotten.
Grove City Women's Soccer team
Follow our 13 day journey through Cape Town, South Africa! We will be playing soccer, coaching clinics & most importantly sharing the Gospel with the people in South Africa!