Gameday in Barcelona

Today is game-day here in Portugal. We have the opportunity to host a 3rd division team at Benfica’s facility. The day began with a little bit of much needed sleeping in. After breakfast, some guys were able to open up during team time a giant step in the right direction with their walk with the Lord. After team time we were able to split into smaller groups called discipleship groups. We talked about things going on in our lives currently and the trip thus far. After lunch we were able to help stretch the legs with some time at the mall where we were able to begin to prepare for the game this evening. Dinner was extremely fueling and after pre game strategy talks we headed to the field to play.

Kickoff was at 9:30pm but we came out and played a solid first half which ended in a 0-0 tie. The second half we conceded after a the referee refused to call an obvious offsides. The last goal was just due to lack of communication but today was a step in the right direction soccer wise. We ended the day around 12:30 eating pizza and good conversation. It’s awesome to see what the Lord has done in my own life and in the lives of others in this trip and I’m excited for the last week in Portugal.

Ya boi,

Jackson Hawthorne

University of Kentucky, Goalkeeper

Last Day in Barcelona

Our last full day in Barcelona started off with another great breakfast followed by an inspiring talk by Susie Hermes. Susie shared her story with the team and was so vulnerable with us. Her talk pushed us to seek God in all situations, even when it is so hard for us to do so. She challenged us to ask the question,”God, how are you loving me?”

Our first game did not come before an interesting bus ride where we had to squeeze as many people possible. We arrived at the field, which had an absolutely beautiful view of Barcelona. After watching an intense math between two Spanish teams, it was our time to take the field. It took a little bit of time to adapt to each other, but with the help of the coaches and with our the right attitude, we were able to play for each other and take the win with a 4-1 scoreboard. On behalf of the team, I would also like to thank the AIA women’s team for their support throughout this game.

After enjoying some pizza with the whole team, we headed back to the hotel where we would take a moment to pray for each other and for God’s will to be done on our trips.  I thank God for being able to get to know this amazing city, but most of all for these brothers and sisters that reflect God’s love and are teaching me different lessons each day.

Ignacio Ramirez

UC Irvine, Defender

Its Time for Portugal!

We left our Hostel in Barcelona this morning at 5am to catch our flight to Lisbon. Fortunately, we made it to the airport very quickly without any issues. Everyone slept on the plane, and when we got off the plane, everyone got some Starbucks. I had a delicious Frozen Carmelo Frappuccino, but also went off to get myself a raspberry tart. The tart was pretty divine if you were wondering.

After meeting up with our Portuguese liaisons, we hopped on the Benfica team bus, a double decker bus with the softest seats that is bound to put you to sleep. It took us to the team hotel (I mean resort) where we will be staying for the next 11 days. We had to wait for an hour or so before we could check into our rooms so we explored the place, and spent time pool-side, getting tan. We had our first meal here, and had some of the finest Portuguese cuisine. They laid out a buffet of different cuts of sliced meats, baked breads, fresh fruit, mixed rice and stewed fish. My favorite was the rice pudding for dessert.  After chilling out, we went to the training grounds to get some work in. We trained on a turf field over looking the bay/ocean. We then finished with a nice dinner at their cantina. We came back to the hotel and had the night off, but did a small devotional led by one of our captains.

Overall a busy but great day!

Sawyer Gaffney

Davidson University, Goalkeeper

Cinderella Story

Morning Devotional

We began the day with a devotional ran by Ashley. She discussed Mathew 13.44, where we learned the importance of giving up everything for the Lord.

Day on the field

Our next plan was to head out to the Jordi Alba Stadium which was located 20 minutes away from the hostel. It was an excellent facility that contained four small sided fields within a rejuvenated warehouse building. The staff and coaches separated us players into 4 teams of 8 within a combination of both women’s and men’s players. Before we kicked off we prayed as group and focused on the principal one, Audience of One. I was placed on team with Ashley, Stanton, Haley, Benji, Ben, Tripp, and Mariah. We started off losing the first game 3 to 0.  In game two we bounced back and won 1 to 0. In our third match we lost 3 to 0. Games thereafter were single elimination. if you lost, your night was done. We were seeded last and playing against the first seed. In the match we played hard and won the game 1 to 0.  In the final game if we won we would be rewarded free gelato.

True Result

We definitely had something to play for. But mostly for ourselves and the grace of God. We won the final 4 to 1. Being with  everyone and playing the game was very enjoyable. I am truly grateful to be here and have been growing stronger in my faith.

Hagen Hyatt

University of Arizona, Midfield

Day Two- Today Was A Grind

Praise the Lord for a great and safe trip thus far. His hand has been evident in every step we have taken. The much anticipated arrival of Toba and Ben has occurred! After sleeping over night in the Charlotte airport and thus conquering his fear of airports, Toba and Ben made it to Barcelona this morning. Unfortunately, Coach K’s flight was delayed once again. Please pray for his safe and haste arrival.

This morning started very early for this Barcelona group. A savory 7am breakfast satisfied our needs. Breakfast was followed by an excellently teaching of “Principle 1” by Ryan Matthews. Principle 1 is titled ‘Audience of One’ and asks the question, who or what do you worship?

It was then out to the pitch for the gang. A fun ride on the metro ensued created for a nutritious lunch was served shortly thereafter. Once we got back to our Hostel, Suzy taught a heartfelt session on ‘Principle 2’. The final traing session of the day took place between metro rides and was quite taxing. A short, but excellent team time then set the mood for the evening. I was taken my Stanton’s ability to be vulnerable to the group, sharing his testimony, some tough challenges he’s had to face and how God has been so faithful despite those things.

Dinner was served from a variety of restaurants including America’s own McDonald’s. The final activity of the bustling and action packed day was an insightful lecture presented by Jared wellman titled on Principle 3 titled, ‘Holy Sweat, Holy Surrender’ . We walked through methods in growing in our fellowship with the Lord.

A special thanks to all who made this wonderful opportunity possible. Hopefully God will be able to use all of the seeds planted on this trip.Thank you very much for your prayers thus far, but please keep them up. God bless you!

Asa St. Lawrence

Maranantha Baptist University