Blog #5 by Coaching Staff - March 21st, 2019
What a week! I had been dreaming and planning and organizing this trip for almost 2 years, but the time in Costa Rica went by so fast! During the trip, the team was working our way through Paul's letter to the Philippians. There were a few verses that really stood out to me that I kept coming back to over and over: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Phil 4:11-13
As I played with the kids in the schools and connected with a wide variety of others through the week, their joy of life was always evident through their "Pura Vida" mentality. These people were living these verses, many of whom have very little in the way of possessions that we often take for granted in our daily lives. It was a profound perspective shift for me that I pray will be a lasting reminder of what joy really looks like, even as I return to my life of comfort. As much as we came to Costa Rica with the intent on changing lives, it was definitely our lives that were transformed.
-Head Coach, Lang Wedemeyer
The 2019 spring break trip to Costa Rica was an incredible experience. The opportunity to impact kids lives through the game of soccer was so special, and humbling for the girls, as well as the coaching staff. Although as much as we were there to impact others, I believe every member of this trip can say they were impacted in some way, shape, or form from this trip. We got to see God move through the soccer clinics we worked, the games we played, through the sharing of testimony and being vulnerable with each other, and last from just seeing another part of God's creation. God worked in us in so many ways and we have grown so much as a program, but also as Christians trying to serve the kingdom of God whether it be abroad or back in the states. Our God is truly an amazing God, and this Costa Rica trip He was ever present throughout it all, just like He always is. This experience will be an experience that all of us will cherish for the rest of our lives. The girl's did an incredible job representing Liberty University, but I believe they did an even better job of being the aroma of Christ for others to see down in Costa Rica.
-Assistant Coach, Brandon West
One of the verses we committed to memory before the trip was Philippians 2:1-4. It encourages us to be one in the Spirit and prioritize other's interests above our own. The team brought this to reality on the trip—they fleshed it out! God's Spirit united them. We prayed before the trip for the enemy to not get a foothold in the relationships or minds among the girls and God was faithful. The girls shared their love for God and people without looking to their own interests, but others first.
This was evident by how they tag teamed playing in the soccer sessions all day bringing energy, when one was sick the room stayed up all night to comfort her, and just being able to enjoy each other and have fun on the bus at 6am every morning! There is power in the Word of God that will bear fruit in our lives if we let it.
-Assistant Coach, Audrey Adkison
Blog #4 by Kailey Neef - March 17th, 2019
Another day in Costa Rica with the Women's soccer team. As the day arrived, we started the morning with breakfast at 7 am. We had a Costa Rican breakfast, it entailed eggs, and rice and beans, which was delicious. The two hour bus ride to the volcano was full of great conversation and gorgeous scenery.
Once we got to Irazu, which is a national park, the views were breath taking. We spent about two hours walking around and being in awe of God's creation. After, we ate lunch at a local restaurant. They gave us a choice of meat with rice, beans, a tortilla, plantain, salad, and rice puddling for dessert. We were all stuffed as we got back on the bus and headed back to the AMCA house.
It was a quick turn around as we head to the market for some shopping. We spent an hour and a half trying to bargain and looking at all the amazing handmade products. It was dinner time at the AMCA house, so we headed back for one last amazing, delicious meal prepared for us. They made this dish that reminded us of a chicken pot pie but it looked like lasagna. Soon after the yummy dinner, we had team time.
Alicia, myself, and Brandon shared about how the Lord has worked in their lives, which touched all of us. Scott spoke about Philippians 3 and then Sierra ended the night by leading worship and praising Him.
Our last day we went to a zip lining place, where we soon got to go on ten different zip lines through the canopy of the trees. Some people had to face their fears of heights, but it was a cool experience to conquer it together. There were a few tears from fear and a few of joy. What a beauty it was to soar over the greenery and experience God's creation from a new perspective. What an adventure it was!
It has been an amazing trip. We have seen the Lord move in a multitude of ways. The trip consisted of seeing His creation in new places, meeting wonderful God-fearing people, eating the best food, deepening the teams relationships, and furthering the Kingdom of God.
Thanks for all your support and prayers!!!
Blog #3 by Zoe Gaffney - March 16th, 2019
Hey everyone! My name is Zoe and I'm a freshman on the Liberty Women's soccer team. When I heard we were going to Costa Rica for a mission trip, I was beyond excited. I have never been on a mission trip before, so having the chance to travel and impact lives with my team was almost a dream come true.
For the amount of time we've been here, we have impacted more lives than I ever could have imagined. Monday through Thursday we spent our days traveling to schools and running soccer clinics with the kids there. We played soccer with students of all ages, ranging from 7 year olds all the way to 18 year olds. Walking into their schools and being fully immersed in their environment truly was moving.
The joy and happiness that runs through these kids was an inspiring sight — I have never met a more welcoming and loving culture. It would have been really easy for these students to not engage with us and not try to communicate with us, but everyone was open and willing to create a relationship with our team.
Although the language barrier seemed like it was going to cause a problem, that didn't stop the power and impact of the Lord. Before every class session, two girls on the team would share a small part of their testimony with the kids. Each group of kids got to hear the different ways God has worked in all of our lives. It truly was an amazing opportunity to have the ability to speak truth into these children's lives.
As this trip comes to a close we as a team have grown to love the people of Costa Rica. We have first hand seen the need of the Lord in the community here. We have made an impact on some lives; however, the work of the Lord is not done.
We would love if you joined us in prayer for the lives and hearts of Costa Rican individuals. We know God cares so deeply for these people, and through that it is our pleasure to be able to care for them too.
Blog #2 by Kathleen Brumagim - March 11th, 2019
Today we had the opportunity to spend time and play soccer at the Linda Vista School in San Jose, Costa Rica. The school was not what I was expecting. It was a private school where most of the population is from the lower class. Inside the school was a concrete gym with soccer goals where we conducted the soccer clinic. With age groups ranging from 1st grade to 6th grade, we played all sorts of games with the kids. We worked on technical skills like juggling and dribbling the ball as well as fun games like sharks and minnows. Despite the language barrier, when there was a soccer ball between us and the kids we spoke the same language.
This experience opened my eyes to how incredibly blessed I am. Getting the chance to see the kids' classrooms and compare them to where I went to elementary school really humbled my heart. These children do not have access to the technology that we take for granted each day. Yet they are passionate about learning and experiencing new things.
It was awesome to watch my teammates interact and share the love of Jesus with these kids. Playing soccer and teaching them different skills was not our main goal, but it was an avenue to reaching their hearts. It warmed my spirit to listen to my teammates share the Gospel with the kids and see them be receptive to what they were saying. I am excited to continue to see how our team grows through this experience.
I have also loved having the opportunity during our Team Time in which we debrief and share testimonies. I have learned more about the hardships my friends have gone through that made them who they are today and how God has walked with them through their struggles. This trip is deepening our relationships with not only each other, but also with Christ.
Today I saw God in the joyous spirits of the children. Psalm 47:1 says, "Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy". As I got to clap and shout with these children, it opened my eyes to how God cares for every little thing. God has given us a passion for soccer and allowed us to use it to share His love with people around the world. God desires us to be joyful and worship him in everything we do. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve and love on them! I am excited for the days to come!
Blog #1 by Kayleigh Kardos - March 8th
When I think of what it means to truly make an impact I think of what intentional love looks like. It is the type of love that embodies unconditional boundaries and defies the rugged pattern of our human hearts.
When thinking about our team I see the body of Christ broken up into many various gifts and love languages. Some of us are encourages, some leaders, and some comforters. Each player possesses a different set of skills in their tool box. Being a rising senior on the team, I've gotten to know each of the girls beautiful hearts and have seen one common passion we all share which is playing on a platform that shows our love for Jesus.
When thinking of the opportunity to go to Costa Rica this March I began to think of how we could actively be equipping our hearts to be able to serve the children we will get to meet. Being with these kids, this may be the only opportunity they get to hear about Christ so shouldn't we make the most of that?
The word for "the word," "static" or "estático" in Spanish was laid on my heart. Was I being actively evolved in my relationships or was I becoming static and complacent not seeking to make an impact? With this in my head around Christmas time the Lord laid on my heart the idea of how the little girls there would look up to us like big sisters. Having two younger sisters of my own I began to think of how they emulate the way I dress, the way I carry myself, and most importantly the way I value and share my relationship with Christ. I wanted the girls to have a visual and tangible item that would remind them to pray every day for the little girls we would soon get to impact.
At our team bible study each girl made a brightly colored beaded bracelets adding a cross bead in the center. As girls we always use the line "it's the little things that make a difference" and this was a simple, yet powerful moment for us as a team. We prayed over the bracelets together and prayed that the little girl we give it to would see Jesus through the lens we we are blessed to see. While beads on string are insignificant, the ability to have an outlet to share Christ through it will change their little lives forever.
At our team bible study I shared with the girls a quotes family friend had shared with me over Christmas break. It was the idea of "4" "40" "Forever."
This quote shows that the number of years we get to be a part of the culture at Liberty University and get to dress in red and blue uniform is 4. It is but a season of our lives that comes and goes quicker than we can imagine so how are we making an impact through it?
40 is the number of years we will spend in our future careers as strong nurses, teachers, doctors, and business women. It is when we meet the man of our dreams and start a family teaching our children the traits and values we learned through being a part of the Liberty Women's Soccer Team. It is directly affected by who we choose to reach out to and how strong our foundation was that 4 years. How will we make an impact through it?
Lastly, the component of forever, which is evidently greatest in importance. This stands for every little difference we make and every step of boldness we take in this life to reach ones for Christ. It is where we will hear the words "well done my good and faithful servant" and will take pure ownership for what difference making we did here on earth.
How will we choose to be an eternal impact? Sharing Christ is our "Why" every single day as a part of the Liberty women's soccer team.
2 Timothy 1:7
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