BLOG: Day 9 from Nicaragua (Chris Crawford)
BLOG: Day 9 from Nicaragua (Chris Crawford)
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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Day 9 Blog

Chris Crawford
ETBU Head Coach

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday started with an early morning wake up call as we were scheduled to be across town at a local public school before 8:15 a.m.  At the elementary school, the ETBU Soccer Team divided into five groups and they went to each classroom sharing with the children their personal testimonies.  The guys spoke about life in the United States.  The players also spoke about treating each other with respect because the principal shared that bullying and violence are major issues in their school and neighborhoods.  As their  coach, I have been so impressed with how our guys have come out of their comfort zones to openly share their struggles and testimonies as a team.

After the groups finished sharing, we were able to experience the most memorable thing we remember about school, recess!  Before the soccer balls were out of the bag the kids had already sprinted to the muddy soccer field, which had no grass and divided into teams, waiting for our guys to join them.  To sit back and watch our Tigers play the sport they love with these kids was amazing.  Not only did these young boys and girls have smiles from ear to ear, but the teachers stayed and enjoyed watching the children interact with the team.  And our guys were all smiles as well.  After the game it was time for the kids to go back to class and time for us to load the bus back to the hotel to prepare for our final match against the University of Central America Men's Soccer team. 

We got back to hotel for a quick rest and lunch, before traveling to Crenshaw Stadium for our match at 3:00 p.m.  As we pulled up to the complex the guys started standing up and getting excited as the stadium was an old style stadium with concrete stands, fully surrounded with metal fences.  The player areas were fully gated.  The UCA Soccer team were great hosts and went all out for the match by filming the game, broadcasting it live through Facebook, and interviewing a couple of the players.  During the first half Freshman Thomas Sanford scored the only goal to give ETBU a 1-0 lead.  Both teams were playing tough and physical in front of a great crowd that came out to watch the game.  In the second half we made a few key mistakes that ended up allowing UCA to score two goals.  We made a strong push at the end of the game taking several shots that just missed the goal, but the game ended in a 2-1 win for UCA.  After the game both teams exchanged jerseys, took photos, and shared with each other.  We may have lost the game today, but the Lord has blessed us so much with this trip by taking a very young ETBU Men's Soccer Team on mission and changing their lives forever through this global experience. 

We loaded back up on the bus and headed to the Nicaragua Men's National Volleyball Team training facility where we got to play against the Nicaraguan Men's National team.  Now don't get me wrong we didn't play soccer, we played volleyball and they crushed us yet both teams had quite a bit of fun.  Our guys were cheering for each other every time we were able to return the ball, block the occasional spike, or get a few points on the board.  It was a great way for us to finish the day with some fun and allow our guys to continue to step out of their comfort zones. 

I have been on many mission trips in my life, some with teams and some without, but this trip we have been able to bless others in Nicaragua with our time, our manual labor.   God empowered us by sharing our testimonies and by using our gifts of playing soccer.  This year the ETBU Men's Soccer Team had a theme that we have placed on our practice shirts, in our locker rooms, and on social media stating, “Our Gift, His Glory” from 1 Peter 4:10.   We want to use the gifts that God has given us for His glory.  These guys have been blessed to play soccer and these last 8 days we have been allowed to use our talents to work with several schools in Nicaragua declaring our love for God.  This trip may have impacted some of the students here in Nicaragua, but it has definitely changed our Tiger Soccer program.  What an amazing experience to see 21 guys come together and sacrifice so much to share the love of Jesus Christ.  We are called to do this as Christians across the globe and even in our backyards back home in Marshall, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store next for ETBU Soccer, East Texas Baptist University, and Marshall, Texas. 

God Bless,

Chris Crawford