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God and softball in Guatemala

author: destiny kaus | production manager

Softball
Some pre-game prayer action/Letty Gali

 

Softball player goes on missions trip south of the border.

Hola people! So, this summer I had the opportunity to go play some softball in Guatemala. No, I didn’t get drafted to some sick professional team, ‘cause let’s be real, who really moves up from the University of Regina to the big leagues? No one. Sad. Anyway, on campus here at the U of R, I’m involved with a group called Athletes in Action [AIA], which is basically a sports ministry organization that helps athletes integrate their faith into their sport.

I first got involved with this crew about two years ago when I was really struggling through life and searching for God. My mind was constantly blown attending various AIA meetings because I learned about this God who loved me so dearly and who could forgive me for all my rebellions if I turned to Him. Ultimately, I met God in AIA so much so that I gave my life to him and started following him. Side note: my life is still far from perfect, and I still struggle, but I serve a God who will never stop loving me and a God who cares about the little things in life, like my sport.

Now, fast-forward two-ish years. I really felt called this summer to do a missions trip that combined two of my greatest passions: God and softball. Through AIA, I got connected with Competitive Edge International. CEI is a sports ministry based out of the States that partners with AIA across the globe and seeks to reach the unreached through sport, specifically through softball. (Editor’s note: So. Many. Acronyms)

So, after applying to go on this softball ministry trip to Guatemala, getting accepted, raising all the money I needed to for my trip, and all that jazz (this is actually a really long story, but Mr. Sports Editor only wanted 650 words out of me, so I gotta keep ‘er short…blame him), I flew off to California for a week of training camp with my team and then off to Guatemala for two weeks.

FYI, this trip was a competitive softball ministry trip, so the team of softball players we formed in Cali played against the Guatemala junior and senior national teams and shared the story of Jesus through softball. A short (and I do mean short *cough* #limitedwordcountprobs *cough*) snippet of what a typical game day in GUA looked like goes as follows.

Before each game started, we’d hand out a little gift to each player on the Guatemala team (a lil’ American flag, a bracelet, a Bible, etc.). Then we’d play ball! After each game, one of the girls on my team would share her story about how she came to know Jesus or how God has been working in her life. Then, our lovely team leader or one of the AIA staff from Guatemala would give a gospel presentation about Jesus and about what life with Jesus looks like. We’d finish with a prayer and then either play another ball game, head back to our hotel, or hang out with the Guatemalan girls!

My heart was so blessed by the friendships we were able to build not only with each other on our own team but also with the Guatemalan girls. My teammates and both the junior and senior Guatemala national teams will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was an honour and a privilege to play against them, to share our faith with them, to hang out with them, and to just meet them where they’re at in life. So much love!

I am continually blown away by how God can use sport to point people to Him. God definitely used this trip to work in my life, the lives of my teammates, and the lives of so many people in Guatemala. And that is such a beautiful thing. I’d go back in a heartbeat. Viva Guatemala!

About John Loeppky

I am an athlete with a writing problem, or a writer with a sports problem, you decide. When I’m not editing, playing wheelchair sports, or advocating for the disabled, you can find me de-stressing with friends.