We will serve with their sports teams in various cities and villages that consist of boys and/or girls who are 14 years and younger. These teams are led by a coach who has been trained by Sports Friends to use sports as a tool for evangelism and discipleship. Water filter demonstrations to local families connected with Sports Friends will also take place throughout the week.
The team will split time between ministry opportunities with Push the Rock. Part of the trip will be dedicated to running sports clinics and water filter demonstrations for boys in the Juvenile Prison where PTR staff has been serving on a weekly basis since 2010. The remainder of the time together will be spent serving with the PTR Regional Program where the team will run various sports clinics.
Team members that participate in this trip will have the opportunity to use sport to seek transformation in the community. Through various clinics, you will practice, play and pray together. You will share your love of the game, teach about teamwork and introduce new sports. You will spend time building relationships with the athletes, and have a chance to share your life and your story to encourage one-another. Water filters will be distributed to local families.
We will serve with their soccer training program and sports programs in local schools. Our team will also have the opportunity to partner with their various slum projects in Kampala which include a feeding program, chess program, discipleship, and sports activities. Water filter demonstrations will take place throughout the week to local families connected with Sports Outreach.
Join us as we celebrate God’s faithfulness during the summer of 2017!
Hear from student-athletes who traveled with SEED this summer!
Learn more about trip locations for summer 2018 and how to apply to the program!
The mission of the SEED (Sport Evangelism to Equip Disciples) Program is to equip Hope College student-athletes to serve as disciples who share the Good News of Jesus Christ through sport.
We recognize that sport provides an opportunity for athletes to have a significant platform from which to influence others. In traveling with the SEED program, Hope College student-athletes will utilize their passion for sport to share the love of Christ with individuals around the world.
SEED program trips will involve groups of 10-15 student-athletes who will serve internationally through sport ministry for two weeks.
Thanks to the generous support of Sawyer Products, the SEED program plans to send four trips in the summer of 2018: two in May, and two in August.
Student-athletes will be asked to pay a deposit, passport, and immunization fees. All other travel expenses will be covered by Sawyer Products.
During the summer of 2017, we launched the SEED program with the support of Sawyer Products. Three teams of mixed sport student-athletes and coaches used their passion for sports to share the love of Christ around the world.
In May, our first trip launched to India with 12 student-athletes and three staff members to partner with Audio Scripture Ministries.
The other two teams traveled in August prior to the start of the school year. Our team to Costa Rica partnered with Push the Rock and sent 11 student-athletes with three staff members, and the final team traveled to Zambia with 12 student-athletes and two staff members to work with Poetice.
Each team served alongside local churches and communities for a two-week period through sports clinics and Sawyer water filter distributions. These water filters attach to any size bucket and work with gravity. Because of their small size, we were able to give them to individual families. The best part of all is that these filters will provide clean water for a lifetime!
We are so grateful for the support of Sawyer as their generosity makes SEED trips possible and affordable to all Hope student-athletes. Our hope and prayer is that the SEED program continues to grow, providing student-athletes and coaches with opportunities to serve for years to come in different countries around the world.
Read how three student-athletes were transformed from their participation with SEED this summer:
Hola. That was the extent of my Spanish knowledge before going to Costa Rica this past summer with the Hope College SEED program. Though I lacked language skills, I had plenty of fears. Would I fit in with the other people on the trip? How would my knowledge, or rather lack thereof, affect relationship-building in Costa Rica? And how EXACTLY was I supposed to impact the lives of so many people who I felt needed me? I mean really impact their lives! As it turned out, lots of amazing things were done in the many villages and schools we visited. At each place we brought something new to the kids through sports. We brought water filters, too. And of course, we brought hearts to serve for Jesus.
The stories that I heard, and lives that I thought I was changing, helped change and grow me instead.
On our first day of training for SEED, we were asked what we wanted to get out of our trip. My mind instantly went to relationships. I wanted a stronger relationship with God. I wanted close relationships with my fellow SEED travelers. And I wanted to grow in all of those relationships. And I did…because of my new friends in Costa Rica. The stories that I heard, and lives that I thought I was changing, helped change and grow me instead. I saw this through the unconditional love that they showed us, the testimonies that they told us, and the joy that they expressed as we played game after game, laughed day after day, enjoying each other through it all.
Now back at Hope, relationship-building with my fellow Hope-SEED travelers continues. We Snapchat daily; when we see one another on campus it’s a whole production of screams and hugs. We also have deep conversations and not afraid to talk about anything. It’s true that we blessed people in Costa Rica, but in the end, we found that the blessings came mostly from them.
In any circumstance where God is present, an opportunity for a life-changing experience is possible, and God was present in Zambia. God worked through this SEED program, not only giving those from Hope opportunities to change lives but to have our lives changed as well. For me, God worked in my life through the relationships I developed while in Africa. The people I encountered made an effort to be a part of my life during my short stay there, speaking truth into my life.
Having interacted with the people of Zambia — people so on fire for developing great relationships centered in Christ — I am now fired up myself for Jesus.
While in Zambia, we worked with Poetice, and their staffs gave me an example of what it truly looks like to live for Christ. Through their stories, advice, and actions it was evident God was doing a big work through them. One person in particular, Joel Ng’ambi, encouraged me to embrace my story as well as share it with other people in my life. My time with Joel gave me a new perspective. He showed me how I should interact with others, be selfless to others, love, and see others with God’s eyes — as my brothers and sisters in Christ. These are all things that Christians know in our hearts to do but often, at least for me, I choose not to do them. Having interacted with the people of Zambia — people so on fire for developing great relationships centered in Christ — I am now fired up myself for Jesus.
Yes, the people of Zambia dramatically impacted my life. Now I hope that I impacted theirs. Yes, we shared our stories, played with the kids, and were fully present. Now I hope those memories stay with them as much as they stay with me. Specifically, I hope that I left an impact through my personal testimony. I had the opportunity to share my testimony with all the kids and staff, pushing me way out of my comfort zone. I hope that God used me to touch the one life, or maybe more, in Zambia. Lord knows, Zambia touched mine.
God is present in Zambia. Through the pouring out of His presence in that place lives were changed, mine being the first. It was and has been such a blessing. This small attempt to put a few things from the trip into words can’t do it all justice. I thank Hope, Poetice, and Sawyer for making this trip possible.
When I arrived back to the United States, my heart was full of thanks and appreciation for the people of India who welcomed us into their country and for a SEED trip for allowing me to witness and experience God transforming lives and building relationships through us. I was exposed to the truest and purest form of God and I was reminded that nothing, not even a language barrier, can stand in the way of His love. Let me explain.
I was exposed to the truest and purest form of God and I was reminded that nothing, not even a language barrier, can stand in the way of His love.
One particular group of kids in the village stole my heart. Each day before camp began, we would pick out our teams with pointing and non-verbal agreements. On the surface, it seemed to be a normal game of small-sided soccer, but beneath, relationships were being built through sport and faith. To be able to communicate without actually knowing each other’s language was incredible. I watched kids learn how to play American football for the first time, got my butt kicked in 4v4 soccer by some talented 10-years-olds, saw kids hysterically laugh during one huge game of “rhinos and monkeys” (aka, “sharks and minnows”), witnessed adults and children crying in the presence of the Lord, and felt how gracious and thankful they all were for our sports camp, water filters, and distribution of audio bibles (with help of Audio Scripture Ministries). God’s power touched the hearts of each person there and we were all simply united under His name.
Each of us have our own gifts and talents that the Lord calls us to use for His glory. Going on this trip was a reminder that we should carry His principles with us each day and love those around us unconditionally. The impact of a smile, genuine conversation, game of catch, or prayer is so powerful. I can’t imagine how different our Earth would be if we all treated each other like God intends us to. The SEED trip is an incredible opportunity to pursue God’s plan while simultaneously incorporating sport in the mission. I encourage all Hope athletes to do the same.
This morning, we woke up around 7:00AM and went to a restaurant called Zigzag. At Zigzag we ate delicious breakfast foods like French toast, muffins, and English breakfast. At breakfast, we talked about how we are going to explain our experience to others back home. We all have struggled to put into words what this trip means to us because of how impactful it has been. We were led by the current missionaries in this session on re-entering the United States. We discussed what is okay and not okay to post on social media, as well as ways to not overwhelm friends and family with everything that we have learned. We talked about how to stay connected with the individuals of the organization that hosted us and how to give back to it. At the end of breakfast, we said our goodbyes, and we were sad to leave yet were excited to head back home to tell others about our experience here in Zambia.
During this trip, we learned how big the global church is. For a lot of us, we did not realize the full extent of God’s work around the world. This trip allowed us to see that although we come from different backgrounds, we still worship the same God. At first coming to Africa, most of us focused on the physical poverty of the area, but throughout our time we learned that these are their daily lives, and they are very rich spiritually and in other things. This trip has changed all of our lives because now we know how much God loves all of his children whether they are in the U.S or Zambia, and we now want to continue to grow deeper in our faith. This trip has brought up 14 brothers and sisters that will continue to walk towards Jesus together in any way that He calls us. Several people have considered different ways that they can stay connected from the experience that we had, whether that is to give back financially to the organization, apply for the summer internship that Poetice hosts, or to consider the missionary field as a career option in the future. Over the last week, not only did we grow closer with each other and Jesus, we also grew closer with all of the Poetice staff. They helped us understand the love of God in the community and spoke God’s truth to us and to the community members we worked with. These are people that we will never forget and are people that we will continue to stay connected with. Thank you for everyone following our daily blogs and the continued prayers of support. We are now headed back to the United States and are excited to share the fire that God has started in all of our hearts with you all. We cannot emphasize enough how thankful we are for this experience and how blessed we are to walk along side Jesus.
So many emotions ran through our minds as we woke up in Choma for the very last time. We’ve experienced so many wonderful things this week and it was hard to say good-bye. We celebrated our last meal together with the EMIZ staff and our team at 6:30 am. Then around 7:00-ish we packed up the bus and began our journey to Livingstone.
The bus ride took about three hours and many people slept on the way there. Once we arrived in Livingstone, we dropped our luggage off at the Emert and Howell families’ homes. These two mission families partner with Poetice in Livingston and we cannot thank them enough for their hospitality and support. From there, we headed to Victoria Falls.
The falls were a short drive from downtown and we were all very excited to see them. We had an hour and a half to explore the Zambian side of the falls. The falls were still beautiful even in the dry season. We were completely in awe by all the beauty that God created on this Earth. We were also shocked to learn that there were as many baboons near the falls as there are squirrels at Hope College.
After the falls, we got to go back to the EMIZ base in Livingstone for a lunch of PB and J’s courtesy of Tena and Kyle (mom and dad of the trip). After lunch we had to say goodbye to Blessing and Sande (two of the Choma staff we got to know throughout the week) before heading to the market.
The market was an experience in itself. We bartered with all of the vendors and bought some souvenirs to bring home with us to remember the trip.
Then it was time for the game drive (African for safari). We got to see so many animals including; impalas, buffalos, zebras, baby zebras, birds like Zazu from the Lion King, monkeys, warthogs, a hippo, adult and baby elephants, some more baboons, giraffes, a wildebeest, and a crocodile. At one point, we were worried that we weren’t going to be able to find any elephants or giraffes, but we ended up getting stuck between two elephants and two giraffes on the way out of the game drive. A lot of our week has focused on seeing God through people, but today we really got to focus on seeing God in nature and it was a great experience.
After the game drive we headed back to the Howells’ home for dinner and ate homemade chili with rice, and incredible cornbread. After dinner, we went out to do our final team debrief around a campfire. We focused on the ways we saw God this week and how he revealed himself to us as we were using all of our individual gifts to serve him. We also reflected on who had the most impact on us and how our eyes were opened to the global church. This was a very good time for reflection. We have been so blessed with this opportunity, and from this, we have realized how much this experience has impacted our faith and us. Tomorrow we are headed home for the States and we can’t wait to begin to share our stories with our friends and families.
We have finally arrived in Chicago and we are in route to Hope! We have had an incredible trip and we were blessed to receive the opportunity to share God’s love to Costa Rica. This trip wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Sawyer’s sponsorship. Sawyer gave us the opportunity to give the Costa Ricans clean water and help prevent communicable diseases. We also would like to give a big thank you to Push The Rock! They gave us the opportunity to grow as a group and individually. We will miss Costa Rica very much! We’d also like to extend a thank you to those of you who have been sharing in our journey through this blog and through prayer.
This morning we woke with heavy hearts knowing that it would be our last day with our soccer children. We began our morning with worship and devotions and after we welcomed the kids for the last day with games galore. Once everyone was here, we went inside the hall to hear testimonies from Chris and EJ. Chris talked about growing up and how his life has changed since he has found God. EJ shared her favorite verse from the Bible which was 1 Peter 5:10 and explained that God has the power to heal even when you go through hard times. He will give you chance at new life.
Once the testimonies were finished, we broke into small groups to go play new games with the kids. Today, we had clothespin tag, classic volleyball, track and field, and ultimate Frisbee once again. They showed improvement to the old games and quickly picked up on the new ones. Looking around, there was nothing but pure happiness and love throughout the morning. After hours of playing both new and old sports, we gathered back into the hall to hear from Caroline and Coach V about the word of God. They both talked about perseverance and how important it is in life and sports to pursue God. They read scripture from Romans 5: 1-5 to help explain their message.
Later in the afternoon, we broke into small groups to teach the children about hygiene, strength training, how to warm up, and leadership. Kyle, Maya, and Jenna led the hygiene group where they reminded the kids of basic hygiene and how to keep their bodies healthy. Alli, Sara, and Tena were in the leadership group where they talked to the kids about who they look up to and why and talked about how they should look up to Jesus because He is our leader. Jager, Eddie, and Britta were in the strength and conditioning group where they did a lot of plyometric exercises and fun games to stress the importance of exercise. Haley, EJ, and Brian led dynamic warm ups where they different types of dynamic stretches to show the importance of stretching before playing sports. All the kids seemed to enjoy the small groups today, learned a lot, and asked great questions.
We went back into the hall to sing Father Abraham in front of everyone before we were released for lunch and team pictures. As some teams went out for pictures, others stayed in for a quick dance party with live African drums. For lunch, we had a classic PB&J sandwich and had fellowship over the meal with the little ones. The games continued after lunch for about an hour before everyone gathered into the hall for one last time. The whole staff and kids said thank you with loud cheering and whistling which made our team feel so welcomed and loved. Abby mentioned that we will always have a family here in Choma and we are welcome back anytime. We thanked the kids for being so awesome this week with handmade bracelets, Hope stickers, and candy!! We also got into groups of 4 with some of the kids and prayed for whatever was heavy on their hearts.
Once the commotion died down, some of us got ready to go into the community for home visits and some stayed in their athletic wear for community kids to come to the base for Kids Club. We went into Armor’s kids family homes where we asked questions to learn more about their culture and every day life. We also talked about the word of God and gave them any advice we could offer. We ended each home visit in prayer with everyone hand-in-hand. When we arrived back to the base, there were several community children there for Kids Club. We ended our night by playing games with them and said our heartbreaking goodbyes with so much love and several hugs all around.
For dinner we had nchima!!! We were all excited and we thank Mama B, Mama D, and Mumba for cooking our favorite Zambian meal on our last day. To top the night off we all gathered to thank the staff here at EMIZ and Poetice for their wonderful hospitality and welcoming us into the family. We gave them their very own SEED shirt as a way to always remember us. Last thing on the agenda for the night was debrief. We all shared our God moments for the day, which everyone looks forward to every night. We all felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the week that we had together and the experiences we’ve encountered. We joined together, hand-in-hand with an emotional prayer for anyone to jump in when they felt the need to. Overall, it was a beautiful last day to spend in Choma. We want to thank everyone who has made this trip possible and we all look forward to see what God has planned for us when we go back to the States!
We started the day with devotions and worship after breakfast. Felix, our worship leader for the morning, encouraged us to pray for each other during the songs that we were singing. A lot of us were moved and felt the Holy Spirit during the morning. After devotions, the Armour’s kids came for another talk from Caroline and Coach V. Today, their message was from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, which talks about dedicating your bodies to compete and serve in a way that will glorify the Lord. Caroline talked about running the race with perseverance so that we can have eternity with Jesus Christ. Jager and Blessing also shared their testimonies with the group, which was inspiring for all of us. We then separated into stations with the kids. We introduced some new activities and sports, including American football, capture the flag, ultimate Frisbee, and their favorite: volleyball. After the sports stations, Kyle, Jenna, EJ, and Brian did some very enthusiastic cheers with the kiddos (ex. The banana cheer). We then split up into 4 different session groups led by Team Z. The sessions today were: speed and agility, sportsmanship, nutrition, and yoga. All of the kids paid attention, asked good questions, and seemed to enjoy each of the stations. We were all super pooped after a long and eventful morning. We took a short break to put some food in our tummies and then we were off and running for the rest of the afternoon.
After lunch, Abby split up the kids up into groups. Some of us did home visits with some of the kids from Armour’s and some of us stayed back to do more water filter demonstrations. The rest of the kids went to soccer practice. We were assigned do home visits with two brothers from the Armour’s boys teams. After walking to their home, we were greeted by their step-mother and some other relatives. At the small home that we were visiting, there were 19 people living there. The mother that we had the chance to talk to was raising the boys and their siblings because both of their parents had passed away. Not only was she taking care of the brothers and their 7 others siblings, but she had 6 children of her own. There was only 1 person in the family who was bringing in income for the family. It is very hard for them to feed their family – most of the time they only eat one meal a day. When asked about her life, the mother seemed helpless. She asked that we pray for more years for her so that she may provide for her children. We were all struck by her selflessness, kindness, and strength. However, after taking a glimpse into her life, we were impressed, but also frustrated because we felt like we couldn’t do anything.
After the home visits, we had some down time as a group. Most of us focused on making friendship bracelets for all of the Armour’s kids (80+ kiddos). Others focused on improving their volleyball skills (Coach V).
After dinner we debriefed as a group. This is our favorite part of the day because we all share how we saw God throughout the day and how we were challenged. It’s so awesome to see how friendships are growing and how God is working in each of our lives. Today we focused on how our stories, both before and after this trip, can be an influence to others. We were also encouraged by what Abby had to say about our home visit. She said that even though we feel helpless, “what we have in us is the most helpful.” Food is a short-term need but the gospel is a long-term aid. The fact that God is pushing this on our hearts shows that there is hope for change. What we feel as helplessness is actually hopefulness from God.
We only have one more full day in Choma but are so excited to see what God has in store for us. Life here feels so real and the idea of going back to school in a week sounds superficial. It’s hard to see the necessity of school when we have seen people live this way in their daily lives. We feel like we are needed here.
Today was a day filled with many lasts of the trip. We started our day bright and early at a 6:00am and left Los Chiles. We had a full day ahead of us that consisted of adventures like zip lining, bus rides, and hot springs. As we filled our anxious bodies with food served on seaweed we prepared our minds for a canopy tour over the jungle. We strapped up, and we were on our way! There were twelve different zip lines including a Tarzan swing, crazy horse, and superman across the valley. We got to see God’s beautiful natural creation. Our guides cracked many jokes about how tall Cody was, Jdawgs screaming, and Sydney and Luke’s fear of snakes. After surviving this crazy new experience the team bonded over a long bus ride to Baldi Hot Springs. We enjoyed the time and fellowship with each other in the hot springs and water slides at the base of Arenal Volcano. On the bus ride home, Melinda shared with us about how the Israelites created a memorial of 12 stones to remind them of God’s great works among them (see Joshua chp. 4). Likewise, we each reflected on the most impactful experiences and people we encountered during the trip and made our own monument out of Costa Rican colones (their currency). We discussed best practices for transitioning back to life in the United States and look forward to sharing about and applying our experiences, shared and individual. Coach Kust blessed us with a beautiful affirmation she wrote for us, and we finished our team time with prayer. Thank you for following along on this blog and for your prayerful support of this team and our trip. We anticipate continued blessing and safety as we travel tomorrow.
Matt, Syd, and Hayley
This morning we woke up early, watched the sunrise, ate breakfast, and were supposed to get on the bus to leave for the village of Macha at 6:45. Push the Rock is a sports based ministry present in the community there. Last year Caroline had the opportunity of working with the Messiah College student athletes in Macha and today we partnered with them in their sports ministry. However, the bus was running on Africa time again so we actually left at 9:05. While we were waiting for the bus, the members of our team either made string bracelets or played sports with the U10 and U12 Armour’s soccer teams who were coming with us to Macha.
After a long and bumpy ride we arrived in Macha and began our day with Push the Rock. We split up and partnered with Messiah College student athletes serving at the base in Macha that week. We worked on different sports stations, which consisted of games such as lacrosse, tug of war, and volleyball. After the session we continued to play with the kids while our Armour’s kids got ready to scrimmage the players from Macha. During the scrimmage our team and Messiah’s students continued to have fun with local kids and adults. We danced, played games such as netball, and Coach V taught the kids how to play softball.
After the scrimmages, we had the opportunity to share another Zambian meal, which included Nchima. Post lunch, we played volleyball against the Messiah College athletes. We won two of the three games in the match, and it was fun for us to come together to work as a whole sports team.
We ended our time in Macha with worship with the Push the Rock staff, Messiah Students, and the children of Macha. Elam spoke about how God loves each and every one of His children the same, no matter the differences between us, and He loves us so much. He also made the point that it is no accident that we all were gathered together today. God had planned all of our interactions far before today and knew that we would all cross paths to love on each other. Two Messiah students sang songs for the children to listen to and spend time with God. We want to give a special thanks to Push the Rock and Messiah College for letting us be a part of your mission in Zambia.
Sadly, it was then time to say goodbye to our new friends, but we got to head back to Choma for a delicious meal waiting for us (thanks Mumba!). We spent the rest of the evening in discussion and fellowship with our team and the Poetice/EMIZ staff. It is always wonderful to hear the different God sightings and highlights of the day!