Sunday, June 7, 2009

Let's go, birds.

I've been in Charlotte for a month, playing soccer for the Charlotte Lady Eagles. The Eagles are W-League team (semi-pro) owned by Missionary Athletes International (MAI). MAI has a passion to share the Gospel through soccer. Ministry is done through the team, (i.e. we are a witness to the teams we play and to the fans watching, etc.), and it is also done through coaching youth camps all summer.

I absolutely LOVE it here! There is much to tell so I will try to get to the point and tell you the main stuff I am learning.

Most of us stay with host families during the season. We live in their house and they basically support us for the summer, giving us a place to live and some food, too! I love my host family. I am learning what an awesome, godly marriage looks like. They have three adorable children, all under the age of 5. I'm starting to learn what Jesus meant when he said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matt. 19:14) An example.... Hailey is the oldest of the 3 children (4yrs. old). I had only been living with them for 2 weeks at this point. I was leaving for 2 days to go to an away game. Hailey stood up on her chair, stretched her arms out as far as they would go, and said, "Kelsey, aren't you going to give me a hug and a kiss before you leave?!" Hailey is teaching me what FAITH is.

I have missed being on a team, and the people on this one are truly amazing. I have gotten close with a few of the other girls and I am learning different things from each of them. One of the girls, specifically, is teaching me about BOLDNESS. She loves Jesus and is not afraid to talk to anyone about the way he has drastically changed her life- from complete darkness and destruction (seriously, I'm not sure how she's still alive) to everlasting joy. One of the other girls is teaching me about being SILENT. I know that sounds ridiculous but there is a lot of "noise" in our world and I think it distracts us from listening. She is very quiet, taking in everything around her...and when she talks, she is full of truth. For real...few words, but straight truth. Sometimes I think she can hear the voice of God.

One of my best friends went on a mission trip to Honduras last week. When I spoke to her she told me how ridiculously poor everyone was...but then she told me how incredibly HAPPY they all were. Life is so simple...and they love it. It hit me while I was sitting in church on Sunday how drastically different it is here. Don't get me wrong, I love this church and all the people. The sermons for the past two Sundays were entitled: "How to find happiness" and "What to do when my life is falling apart." How ironic that the people in our country (the wealthiest in the world) are dying of depression and loneliness. Or is it? Jesus wasn't kidding when he said "the love of money is the root of all evil."

I find myself a little trapped in the Christian "bubble." It's amazing because I'm around so many people that are wise and that I am learning a lot from. It's also frustrating because Jesus doesn't call us to isolation...he calls us to GO out and be the light in the darkness. And oh how thick that darkness is. I think many Christians like the "bubble" because it's safe. We can all sit around and have cookouts together, in the suburbs, talking about our 'heart for the poor,' while a homeless man digs through our trash each night. I know how important it is to be in community with other believers...but I am also seeing how important it is to spend time with those who want and need LIFE. I've been thinking more and more about how to make our two 'worlds' collide. The one in which we live in (wealth) and the one that most of the world finds themselves in (poverty and destruction) are growing further and further apart. So...what does it look like for these two extremes to come together with grace and love? I'm not sure...but I'm beginning to see.

Jesus. People. Soccer.

Embracing the LIFE THAT IS TRULY LIFE (1 Timothy 6:19).