A short-story from our President
Matt Raney asked me quite a few times in the past when are you going to go to Swaziland with Adventure Soccer and my response was the same. Let me know when you are going to have a project to build something and I will go. In the spring of 2014 he asked me again and again I asked is there any building going on and this time he said yes. I told him I would think and pray about going but I think I most likely I will go. I made the commitment to go and decided also to take one of my sons with me. We boarded a plane in October and went to Swaziland. We arrived and were surrounded by kids from the orphanage we stayed at while we were there. They were full of smiles, hugs and enthusiasm that we had arrived. The very next day. Matt had a change of plans and that we would go out to a rural village and we would be doing an impromptu mini half day soccer camp. I said what this is not what I signed up for and he assured me it would be ok. I love my kids but not so much anyone else’s kids. We packed up a van and loaded up. We arrived and started to set up for the soccer camp on a dry dusty field. The idea was to just love on the kids in the orphanage. As we were setting up more and more kids were showing up. It took us about an hour and when we started we were surrounded by about 300 kids. Matt divided us up and I was paired with one of his sons. Matt then with the help of the leader of the orphanage divided the kids up primarily by age. Group by group they came to my station and that was to do different simple (simple is the key for me as I don’t do soccer) maneuvers and kick at the goal. The kids in line were smiling, having a good time and waiting there turn. The groups all made their rotations to our station and kids that were 3 or so to early teenage. When we were done Matt had the kids sit down in the dusty field in their groups. We then served them lunch (the lunch was put together the day before by the kids at the other orphanage, a simple lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an orange and crackers). We did not know if we would have enough so many kids showed up. We all grabbed some sandwiches and started to hand each child a sandwich. I was amazed each child sat in their group, they did not try to jump ahead of another child. Each child waited their turn put their hand out and accepted a sandwich. We were running out of sandwiches and I certainly could pass on one, but we had enough one for every child sitting in the field with a few to spare! We repeated with handing out oranges and then crackers and each child did the same patiently waiting their turn. As we started packing up Matt was walking alongside me and told me. You know 50% of the kids you see may not make it to adulthood as they have aids. He went on to share with me that the meal we handed out may be the only food they have today and as it was explained to him in another village that today may be their best day. Their best day of the season or year I asked. No, the best day of their life. I was very saddened but also humbled that God used me that day to be a very small part in someone’s life to bring a smile, fill their bellies and share the hope of the good news with them. I left there also thinking this is one of my best days. Oh, there was a project I helped alongside with other guys and my son to build a greenhouse at the orphanage we stayed at to help them be able to get plants starts. Why I asked isn’t it warm or hot most the time here. Yes, but they get acid rain often so left out the plant starts die from the rain. Three years later and the day I was tricked to hang out with kids is still one of my best days of my life.