While our ten days in Mexico have been filled with good training sessions, opportunities to serve, and time to fellowship together, these things also take a toll on our bodies, mind, and spirit. Today, was a day for all of us to recharge. Some of us are nursing injuries or battling illnesses and a day of rest, with no training or games can only help our fatigue, both physically and mentally.
In this day of rest we were able to eat at a very nice steak restaurant and attend church. We also received a blessing from the church, since this was our last Sunday here and it was awesome to have the church members pray over us as we head back to the States and begin our season!
A 2 day trip to Puebla became a remarkable experience as the team not only had the opportunity to practice at one of the best fields in the country but most importantly had a great time connecting with some great Bethel Alumni (Javier Lopez, Rodriguez and Fernandez family) and had a powerful time learning up close about one of the most amazing soccer projects in the country – The Puebla Blind Soccer team (with players on the national team) hosted our team for a training session! it was a very humbling experience for us to see how these guys are not limited by their loss of sight. I believe we all walked away with a different perspective in life and in awe of their amazing skills . It was an incredible experience and I am so excited to know that something as big as a loss of vision doesn’t stop these guys from doing what they love!
“And on the seventh day, we rested” (Gen 2:2, paraphrased).
We woke up this morning in anticipation of playing in the afternoon, this time against a local college. But first, we had a brief training session that consisted of stretching, recovery in the pool, and positional understanding. After our hard fought run with the Gallos U-20 team yesterday, a light training session was in order, especially since we had an pre-season exhibition in the afternoon. However, shortly after lunch, we were notified that the exhibition was off. The university we were scheduled to play had to cancel as they did not have enough players to field a team.
This gave us a big break in the afternoon and provided some much needed recovery time. After dinner, we headed to a local mall where some of the guys picked up some souvenirs for there families, friends, or, in some cases significant others. The highlight of the night was definitely Lukas Muszong’s expertise in picking out gifts for some of the guys’ girlfriends!
Today we had the opportunity to run with the best U-20 side in the state of Queretaro and one of the best in the nation. We did very well and there are some many positives we have taken away that will certainly pay dividends in the weeks to come when we get into the thick of our college season.
We have a few guys struggling physically and battling through some injuries but they have all done well in trying to recover and be fit again. Pedro scared us today as he was cleated on the nose and left eye – he had quite a bit of blood coming out and swelling around the nose and eye but thankfully eye is good and nose has only a small fracture at the very tip of the nose.
In the afternoon the team did another clinic at the community of Bernal and were able to share the gospel to another great group of kids. The watched the kids play a game after the clinic and then enjoyed a good traditional Mexican meal afterward. This community was about one hour away and it was located at the feet of the second largest rock formation in the world (picture below). It was a long day for the team today and a few used the time in the van to catch up on some sleep -:)! (Picture below).
As has been the natural pattern with our mornings, we started off the day with a devotional. This particular morning, we were blessed to have Blake Bauman and Josh Brenneman lead us and focus the day ahead. In a bit of a twist, after Blake briefly sharing a devotional, they opened a question up to the team: What has God been sharing with you this trip? This question served two immediate purposes for our team. First, it forced us to reflect on the previous four days and really evaluate what has been going on. Second, it allowed our team to connect each other’s stories of what God has been showing them this far. It is easy, especially as we are busy and have had a lot of things thrown at us, to simply go through the activities of our day and neglect to spend time in reflection. But that time this morning sparked great conversations throughout the rest of the day.
We headed off to training a short a few guys as sickness struck. Those who may be unacquainted with Mexican cuisine would do well to know that the cornerstone of every good meal starts off with beans. While this hearty food has been welcomed by our taste buds, not all of our digestive systems have expressed the same sense of gratitude. But with the help of a sufficient amount of rest, the guys have since made a full recovery.
This afternoon, we had the amazing fortune to lead a soccer clinic for local kids. There were kids all the way from age 4 up through age 13. We broke these kids up into 5 groups and were able to lead them different training exercises (which for my group of 4 year olds, consisted of playing a lot of tag and goofing around), and then had Saul, our leader for the trip, shared the gospel with the nearly 50 kids that were there! The amazing thing about this time was that when we got back to the hotel, about 15 minutes later, people at our hotel had already heard about the soccer clinic! Parents had taken pictures and posted them to Facebook and talking about the amazing time their kids had with our soccer team. It was a huge blessing to be able to be around these kids and we quickly learned that it truly is better to give than to receive.
As Day 5 comes to a close, we would appreciate prayers for the health of our team, both with injuries and sickness. And of course, continue to pray that God would work in our lives and use us to show his love to everyone we meet.
Sneak Preview of team fellowship from Sunday after church:
Monday was again another beautiful day in Queretaro and we had a fairly light training at the hotel after the morning devotional. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to run against a local private university, Tech Monterrey, and it was a good initial look of the group we have. we had a great time and the game of soccer can be a great bridge to bring people together and a powerful language to share a message. Saul was able to fully share the gospel with about 16 college students and it has been great to come alongside Saul in his ministry here in Queretaro.
We have a few tired guys and we will look to recover well tomorrow morning but yet continue to make progress with how we want to see the team play this fall. We will be hosting a clinic in the afternoon and again another opportunity to share the gospel as well as strengthen the work of Mexico Vive Ministries.
Beautiful shining day in Queretaro this Sunday!
The team had a very good and fun training session this morning at a very nice soccer training facility that has hosted pro and national teams such as Germany and the USA (video sneak preview to come from training).
We made our lodging move from we had stayed our first two nights to our more permanent base hotel at a country like atmosphere. We had lunch today at Domino’s and the pizza down here seemed to taste better than back home – or maybe the guys were just too hungry:-)
We enjoyed church and fellowship with the Mexico Vive Ministries family in the evening (picture below). We had worship in both spanish and English (video preview to come), presentation from the kids and then Saul preached on the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus from John 4 – encouraging us not to drink from a well that doesn’t satisfy but rather from the One who gives us living water!
The team enjoyed a very tasty home made meal with the Mexico Vive church after the service and then a good time of fellowship with a few guys bursting out their music talent ! (video preview to come).
Now off to rest and get ready for a full week of activities !
The team had no trouble in falling asleep on our first night in Mexico after a long travel. We began the morning with breakfast and devotions before we left the hotel to practice. We had a good training session at a field out in the country (picture below) – We are still working through some travel fatigue and good training, food, and rest are key in getting us fit for the coming week.
In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to play Futbol 7 and share the gospel with some local coaches at a local training facility. Futbol 7 is a 7v7 game played on shorter field and the environment where we played was much like organized street soccer. We had our group split into 4 teams and each team played one half over the two games. Blake Bauman shared his testimony (pictured below) and Saul shared the message of the gospel with great clarity and boldness. The other team was very receptive and we pray that the seeds of the gospel will grow in their hearts and help them come to the knowledge of Christ.
We had some authentic tacos and now time for bed as we look for another full day tomorrow!
After a long day of travel and a sleeplessness night, the Pilots arrived in the city of Queretaro safely! Saul Andrade, leader of Mexico Vive Ministries, received us well at the airport and we took our transport to the camp/hotel we were set to stay at. To everyone’s surprise, we were not received as well as expected there as we came to found out they were overbooked and told us we wouldn’t have our rooms until tomorrow or Sunday (even though our rooms had been reserved for months). Our hosts went to work trying to find a place for our team to stay but everything in town was full or only a few rooms available. After lunch we received the news that a lady from our host church was able to bless our team with 2 nights stay at good hotel for 50% off the regular price! Huge Praise! Our team did great in being willing to adjust and adapt to things that are not always common back home. We are glad that we do have a good place to rest well and with AC:-) before we had back to camp on Sunday. As a way to immerse into the local culture, we attended Quererato’s pro soccer team’s game tonight and had some of our guys (Caleb, Lukas, and Isaac) being interviewed on national TV.
Tomorrow is a full day with devotions in the morning, training in the morning and sports outreach in the afternoon at local fields in the community. Off to rest!
2014 season is underway and could not have a better start than going to Mexico on a task force trip to serve alongside Mexico ViVe!
Stay in tune for updates each day on our journey !