Yesterday was our last day running soccer camp for the kids in the Cayman Islands. It was a blast playing some of the campers favorite games including tiger tails, head it catch it, and then ending with a big scrimmage. However my favorite part of was at the very end of camp. Arguably some of the campers favorite part is trying to find a coach to give them a piggy back ride to take them to the water or spin them around if they are tired. Today I let my little buddy Jaheim jump on my back. I started singing, This little light of mine, and Jaheim chimed in right away and sang along. The fact that he knew the song perfectly startled me because I hadn’t gotten the chance to talk to him about Jesus and the camp that we ran was in no way a religious camp. Jaheim’s enthusiasm reminded me about the passage in Matthew 18 where Jesus is telling the disciples that a child like faith will be received as the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jaheim and the rest of the campers reminded me this week just how sweet a childlike faith truly is and the Lord calls us to live that faith out everyday. Thank you for all the support and prayers!
-Colby “Coach Cheese” Pepper
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.
During camp the Lord gave me an incredible opportunity with one of the local kids. As we were finishing practice, I noticed he was on the other end of the field all by himself. I went over to see if everything was alright. We talked for a while and he said he was very upset with himself. He felt as if he was being selfish since every time didn’t play well, he would start to cry. A pretty mature response from a kid that couldn’t have been more than 8 years old. He went on to explain how he is always bored at home because his mom always takes away his Xbox and other things because he says “bad words or does bad things.” I asked some provoking questions as to how he could fix this and he said “I know I shouldn’t do those things but it’s really hard not to because the devil always enters my heart makes me wanna do those things.” I asked him if he knows who Jesus is. I explained that he can pray to ask Jesus to help him when the devil tempts him. He said he knows that but has never done it before and doesn’t know how. I asked him if he wanted me to pray for him. So I had the opportunity to pray for him and told him that he could pray whenever he wanted because Jesus was always listening. I explained that he could even say it in his head because Jesus even hears those prayers, which blew him away. I had been praying all week for an opportunity like this, so when God gave this one to me I was incredibly grateful.
Today we had the opportunity to coach some local kids ranging in ages from 5-12. Myself and the other guys were bummed yesterday’s session was canceled due to weather, but we were ready for today. Starting at 5:45 we went on a beach run, took a dip in the ocean, grabbed some breakfast and headed to the fields for coaching. It was awesome getting to see their smiling faces and to see everyone getting really into coaching them. Some highlights of the session were when henry played stop/go with the kids and blew his whistle constantly (he enjoyed the power) and finishing up the 3 hr session with our favorite game-power/finesse. It was a great start to the camp. We are really excited for the rest of the week and hopefully, Lord willing, the chance to make even the smallest impact in their lives using the gift God has given each of us, soccer. Prayers are always appreciated.
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.
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.
Following our second training session
Woke up at 5am, left for the airport at 5:30am, jumped on the plane at 8am, arriving in Atlanta at 9:03am, departing Atlanta 11am, arriving in Cayman 12:41pm
After being asked the question “what are you most excited about” the team responded:
Joe- clear water
Jesse- leaving the country for the first time
Paul- using soccer for Christ
Cheese- exploring and meeting the beautiful people of the Cayman islands
Nate- meeting some local people
JB- to roam the streets spreading the word
Izzy – just trying to make friends
Henry- pursuing relational ministry with the local campers
Ham- getting to experience a new culture
Boz- To see how the Lord uses us and excited to see how we come together as a team while over seas
John- alone time with Jesse Riggs
Ethan- play a lot of soccer
Buzz- team bonding
Matt- team bonding
Kenny- taking a nap between here the Atlanta and Caymans
Carl- learning the stories of locals and spreading the word
Caleb- can’t wait for some quality cuddle time with JB
Carl “I’m not Indian” Simakoff