TMC soccer teams
share Gospel in Costa Rica
By Scott Sienkiewicz
Truett-McConnell's men's and women's soccer teams traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, last August for a week-long mission trip. The teams worked with SCORE International, a missions organization focused on sharing the Gospel through sports.
While in Costa Rica, the student-athletes from Cleveland, Ga., played in games with local colleges and held soccer clinics at local schools. Afterward, TMC students shared their(left to right) Nestor Flores, Cameron Garner, and Joy Smith play soccer with local children from an impoverished neighborhood in Costa Rica. faith among those with whom they competed.
"I got to spend about five minutes telling the guys my story," said TMC goalkeeper and student Wesley Lutz, who also told about how he became a Christian and "about my life as a Christian now."
The students also ministered in some of San Jose's most impoverished neighborhoods, playing soccer with children in the streets. "The street -- it was all they had," said Chalice Price of the women's soccer team. "They didn't have a field, but they didn't care. They didn't need the field."
The children were glad to receive soccer balls, jerseys and sports bags as gifts from TMC students. "It was really life changing for some of us," Lutz said, "because it was the first time that we really got to spend time with kids who were way less fortunate."
Rudy Vazquez (center) befriended local children on TMC Soccer’s mission trip to Costa Rica. "Sports gives you that common ground, something to start the conversation with," Price continued. "Then you can lead up to why you play, which for most of us is to give God glory. He has given us the ability and so we want to utilize that for him. So that is just the doorway. Being able to relate (Christ) to what people are already into. It makes them more receptive."
Price -- a world missions major -- and her teammates also served food and bought handmade purses from poverty-stricken women at a center that feeds, clothes and provides medical services.
Lutz echoed Price's comments regarding soccer's ability to provide "the team the platform to share Christ wherever they play, and to share their individual stories even with their opponents in the U.S. Each of our stories is different. There are some stories, such as mine, where I grew up in a Christian home, to where some have grown up in broken homes." God deals with all people no matter their background, Lutz concluded.
"My hope in taking the teams on this trip was to help them see that sports is really only a means to an end," Head TMC Soccer Coach David McDowell said.
McDowell believes the purpose of TMC's soccer program is more than winning games: "The result of a game bears no weight when compared to where a person stands in relation to Jesus Christ," he said. "We found that soccer is a great platform presenting Christ to the world."
Scott Sienkiewicz is a staff writer and videographer at Truett-McConnell College.
For more info on TMC Athletics click here: www.tmcbears.com