Here are a few thoughts to wrap up our time in Grand Cayman.
God’s provision for our group has been awesome to see. He is surely good.
The Lord has a unique and wonderful way of placing people in our lives at various times in various ways. I have been excited to reconnect here with two men I played against when I was at Covenant. Lee Ramoon and Neil Murray, both former King College players, are doing a tremendous job using soccer as a platform to help kids on Grand Cayman. These men have invested much of their lives teaching youth players through soccer. After both starring for the Cayman National Team they have tremendous credibility to use this beautiful game to affect the lives of countless children.
The youth camp the Covenant boys worked this week was hosted by CIFA (Cayman Island Football Association), which is headed by Lee. The opportunity to teach soccer and present Christ in this way has been great for the boys.
God has also placed Dennis Smith (Smithy) our bus driver front and center in all of our lives. Smithy a man, who has boundless energy, never is without a smile and seems to know everyone, has greatly enhanced our experience on the island. Laughter exudes daily from our bus all driven by Smithy. We pray that God uses the words and actions of the boys to work in Smithy’s heart.
Finally it has been my privilege to lead this group of young men on this brief journey. They are uniquely gifted as soccer players, but more so as men of God who truly care for each other and each one they have met. To watch their joy and passion teaching the kids about a game they love, but more importantly about their Lord and Savior, has been truly inspiring. We have asked the Lord to “use us, use us up” and I believe from the smiles and the lengthy naps he has.
Psalms 19: 1
“The Heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament sheweth His handiwork.”
This we were able to experience daily on this beautiful island with these beautiful people.
Starting the third day of camp, I was in high spirits despite my tired legs. The first few days of camps had produced fruitful times of laughter and bonding through the game of soccer. While all of this is going on, I still had that longing for an opportunity to give these kids a testimony that would sweep them into the nearest church and bring them to the Lord by the time lunch rolled by. But I really did not know how that would look or work. Coach Boz started our morning early with a devotion on God’s knowledge and inversely our lack of it. Whether it was how clouds formed or why people cry or when flowers bloom, God knows it all. Well in today’s case, along with the week, He knew each of the kids’ hearts and what was stirring in each of them. This week, it’s been my absolute privilege and blessing to become something of a friend to a young boy named Jaiden. He is shy at first, loves to shoot on the “big” goal, and never lets his lego man go anywhere without him. I have been praying this week in how I can be that person to help bring Jaiden to the Lord. I wanted to be the gardener that planted the Lord’s seed in him. I was gonna minister to Jaiden in the best way I knew how, and no one knew Jaiden better than I did. So as we sat down during a water break, I asked if he went to church. He responded no, but he did go to church camp this summer. Seeing my opportunity, I said that I go to church, but that was shot down by his fascination in a ball that rolled into the mud. As we were getting up, I asked what he learned at church camp. At first he just smiled, not answering me, but with a little more asking I got him to answer. With the biggest smile and giggle, Jaiden answered that he learned about God. The joy that was on his face when he said that was unbelievable. I followed up his joyful answer with did he know and like God? And with the same joy, he responded yes. Needless to say, the rest of the day was filled with games of soccer and laughter for the kids. But it also humbled me in that the Lord is already working on the kids’ hearts. I am not the great, immensely loving gardener that He is, I do not know these kids like He does. All that I know is that i want to love these kids like the Lord does, and try to bring them the joy of knowing Him.
This Sunday the Covenant men’s soccer team had the privilege to worship with fellow believers at Boatswain Bay Presbyterian Church. Humbly giving, “Service to God and the community since 1930,” the members of Boatswain Bay Presbyterian Church warmly welcomed us as we filled a quarter of the pews in the small sanctuary. The service began with hymns and an infant baptism. Preaching from the pulpit, Rev. Danny Levi, a guest pastor and missionary to Haiti, delivered a sermon on Psalm 118. As Rev. Levi preached, he painted a picture of how great God’s love is toward his people and how vital the cornerstone of Christ is to the church. After the closing hymn and benediction, we where flocked with questions from the local congregation. As the differences between our two cultures blended in worship, we were all reminded of Colossians 3:11, “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Yesterday we played the George Town club soccer team. The team was composed of a range of talents and ages. It included the most accomplished soccer player in Cayman history, Lee Ramoon, and some players who still are in love with game, like our bus driver- Schmidty. Overall they were talented and possessed the ball really well but lacked fitness to keep up.
The result was good but the conversations throughout and after the game are what we are most excited about. After the game we prayed with the team and thanked the Lord for the opportunity and ability to play the beautiful game together.
When we asked the other team if they would pray in the middle of the field with us, they gladly accepted. However, their willingness to pray with us may come from their easy going nature.
Please be in prayer for more conversation with the members of this team as well as with the kids who will be participating in our camps Monday-Friday. Please pray that the spirit open hearts and guide us to reflect the glory of our Father.
Henry Paris checking out his outfit
The smoothie shop promoting our camp
Jesse Riggs in the deep sea photo by Ethan Pettit
Jesse Riggs photo by Ethan Pettit
Local newspaper advertising our camp!
Our friend Kenny
Paul Lemay #7
JB getting up high to bring down some coconuts
Players are cooling their jets this afternoon after a light training session in preparation for our 6:30 match against the George Town Soccer Club. Photos to follow this evening.
There was an afternoon of snorkeling today for some, but extended naps for most. Cayman time much different than time at home. Four (4) days in Cayman feels like seven (7) on the mountain. Good news, even those players of Albinoinian descent have kept the sun at bay- most likely inadvertent fortuitousness, than foresight.
On Sunday we will be attending the 11:00 AM service at Boatswain Bay PCA. We have no additional activities planned for Sunday.
Much more to follow with the “service” portion of the trip beginning Monday morning.
Following our second training session
Cheese taking one to the chin
Injuries continue… please pray for Nye
The boys ready to snorkel
Jesse Riggs taking on the Cayman defenders
John O’Carroll taking a free kick
Henry Paris taking the ball down the line
Moments before Buzzeo’s equalizing goal