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Part 2: For the Love of Soccer - "I am IMPORTANT TOO!"

To read this post in context and to understand the full impact 
of this spontaneous mud-filled match, I would suggest you first read 

After walking 30 - 45 min in the hot sun, over 200 children showed up in a makeshift soccer field to attend a soccer camp led by Dustin, Nick, Anina and the Great Hope Charities leaders. Many children stood for hours waiting,  watching and hoping to play. With so many children,  not everyone was given the opportunity.  It was a bittersweet day for all of us - be sure to read Part One and then enjoy Part Two below...

The heart-rending sight of watching these children turn around and begin the long trek back to the slum and heart of Korah, without having had a chance to play soccer or receive a jersey was fresh in our minds. The following afternoon some of us were standing around in an empty and muddy courtyard across the street from the Children’s Shelter.  Earlier that same morning we had all stood in that exact spot,
watching as a number of sheep were being slaughtered for dinner and their life blood drained into the surrounding mud.  The mire was thick and deep in spots with pools of stagnant waters, garbage and who knows what else intermingling and melding into each other.  I clearly remember walking carefully and with trepidation as I entered into the courtyard that morning, trying to miss the spots that would quickly rise up and slop into my shoes.

But now, only a few hours later, God was about to transform this unsightly ground into something beautiful…I am not sure how it all started, but at some point, someone brought a soccer ball into the court yard.  I suppose at first just one or two boys kicked it into the mud and then someone else joined them, then another and before long the boys were pulling on my son Nick and drawing him into the play.  

Oh! The mud began to fly and the voices began to rise as the love of soccer, play and belonging - began to fill the air!  What a sight and what a joy! They loved having this moment and sharing it with their new found friend.   I stood there smiling and my heart swelling as I witnessed such spontaneity and such joy. 

But then I noticed a familiar sight…. the girls standing on the sidelines… watching.  This time they were laughing and enjoying the unexpected flurry of activity - but not daring to join in.   I quickly recalled the day before and could see in their faces how they longed to be a part of the fun. Anina must have sensed the same.  She was part of our HFK team and has played girl’s soccer for years here in BC.  She suddenly turned to the girls and asked “Do you want to play?”  “Go ahead, join them!” and then she stepped into the middle of the boys game and announced that the girls were now going to have their turn!

At that moment, the very unexpected happened and before I fully could understand what was going on, the girls began taking off their skirts!!  At first it took me by surprise… I was a little shocked – wondering what in the world were they doing? I stood there with my arms and mouth open and immediately the girls began to pile their worn out and faded skirts into my arms!  They were squealing and laughing with delight, when suddenly I realized – and when I did, my eyes almost began to fill with tears as quickly as my arms were filling up with skirts - I could hardly believe it - but every one of those girls were wearing their new black soccer shorts under their skirts!!  They had been dreaming – but likely never expecting to play soccer in those brand new shiny black shorts!  There is no way they could have communicated this to each other that morning when getting dressed – and there may have been other reasons they had them on that afternoon… maybe afraid someone else would steal their new shorts or perhaps they never had taken them off… In any case, every one of those girls was wearing their soccer shorts!

 And as the girls began to play, the boys eventually joined in and when together, all mayhem broke loose – fun, excitement and shrieks of delight filled the air! The gray clouds forming in the sky decided to join the fun and spilled rain into the newly formed soccer field – mud and sludge flying in every direction as children played, kicked the ball, ran and slipped through this unconventional field!  Yes! They felt important and they did belong - to this moment, to this team, to each other and to God!  We all cheered, we all laughed and we all joined in! 

"Yes! We are important and we belong!"

We love these girls!
This is likely the best these soccer shorts will ever look!


  1. Eve, as I read this post, my heart could fully feel the excitement and joy of all the kids. I loved the part about the girls dropping their skirts...I can just see your face now! But how very amazing when you saw all of those girls with their soccer shorts on- ready to join in the game. Their dreams became a reality and you and the team were able to witness the abundance of God's desire to meet their dreams. God NEVER leaves us on the sidelines...ever. And as for the mud splashing around everywhere....what a joyful sight! I will never look at muddy shorts the same way again! Thanks for sharing this great post.

  2. Eve....just beautiful! What a treat to see such joy on everyone's faces. Looks like it was a great soccer game.

  3. That is just AWESOME!!! Yes, especially about the girls dropping their skirts!! What incredible joy & privilege to be a channel of God's blessing to these girls! Amen, to your post, and to Angie's comments!! AMEN!! :)


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