Grove City women’s Team takes on Cape Town

Grove city group photo

Let’s hear what Jordyn, one of the players, has to say about their time here:

“Grove City College is a small Christian school located in western Pennsylvania on the northeast part of the United States.  As a team we strive to have the focus of playing for an Audience of One by glorifying the Lord through our play.  This can be demonstrated by the way we treat our teammates on and off the field and our 100% effort as a way to thank the Lord for the gifts that He’s given to us.  Our Coach Melissa Lamie had taken three previous trips to South Africa.  We had the privilege to work alongside Ambassadors Football South Africa (AFSA) because of the relationship that Coach had formed with them on a previous trip.  We were so glad that we could continue the tradition and the journey God took us on, is one that will never be forgotten!  As we prepared to leave for South Africa we would meet one night during the week.  At our meetings we would discuss a book we were reading, take part in team building activities and discuss what the trip would entail.  To say the least, it exceeded all expectations!  We could have never prepared for the life changing experience and the work that God did through each and every one of us on this trip!

Ambassadors Football South Africa is an organization that is focused on mentoring individuals to prepare them to play influential and productive roles in the future.  They do this through coaching soccer and incorporating the Gospel in everything they do.  For our team, AFSA was a huge reason why we had such an amazing trip.  They showed us love, care, hospitality and were a constant source of knowledge as they continuously poured into us during our time there.  They were intentional in their conversations and they truly wanted to build relationships us during our trip.  AFSA is an incredible organization the Lord is using for so much more than soccer.  They are impacting many people in Cape Town and their constant, loving presence is what made our trip the incredible experience that it was!

We arrived in Cape Town around 11 pm and we were exhausted from the two days of flying.  We were greeted in the airport by a stud soccer player who is an employee of the AFSA and he would be our guide for the next two weeks.  Tour guide does not even begin to describe the job Roberto had while spending time with us.  First off he had to spend two weeks with 11 women who were so excited to be in a new country, experiencing new things and enjoying the time we spent together.  Needless to say, we kept him entertained!  Roberto was no stranger to humor himself.  One night when we were eating at a restaurant he told the waitress that it was Coach’s birthday.  After dinner the staff came out singing ‘happy birthday’ with ice cream and a sparkler.  It was so funny!  Little did we know, he would become a close friend and mentor throughout the trip and Roberto was a true blessing.  We are so thankful that the Lord placed him with us during our time in Cape Town.  We know that we have a true lifelong friend and brother in Christ!  Not only did Roberto play a huge influential role, the whole Ambassadors Football organization impacted and influenced our team as well.

We learned so much while on the trip.  We were constantly poured into through Bible study, teaching and the many interactions we had with the South African people.  The Lord shined through them in new and unexpected ways and these conversations, soccer games and new experiences are what made this trip one to remember.  One of the most noticeable characteristics about South Africa, is the hospitality the people exhibit.  AFSA more than exceeded this.  They were the most welcoming, caring and loving group of people we could have asked for on this trip.  We were truly blessed beyond measure by the love the Lord showed through them and what they taught us and for that we are forever grateful.

AFSA organized a wide variety of activities ranging from soccer practices/games, a soup kitchen, running fundraiser event, tourist attractions and team building.  We were constantly on the go but every single activity we did was impactful in one way or another.  The first soccer program we were involved with was the Totius Primary School practices.  AFSA runs after school practices for kids ages 5-14.  We had the privilege of playing with the kids and interacting with them.  One of their main focuses is on relationship building with the players individually.  Because of the lack of relationships in certain situations, building these relationships serve as a constant source of love, security and mentorship for the kids which is so vital to their development.  In addition to Totius, we had the opportunity to visit Khayelitsha, Kuyasa, Kayamandi and Mitchell’s Plain.  Each of these areas run their own soccer and after school programs and they were kind enough to let us join for the day.  We practiced with them and were able to learn more about their programs.  Each of these teams are in communities that are stricken with poverty and can pose a dangerous threat to live in.  Each coach had their own programs with the goal of impacting the lives of each of their players as well as giving them an opportunity for community and a chance to play a game that is so loved in South Africa.  Regardless of the situation, the Lord’s joy shined through each of the people and it was truly beautiful.

In addition to soccer we also spent one night at St. Peter’s Church helping out at their weekly soup kitchen.  When we were here we experienced the deep need for community and the desire for someone to listen.  Each of these people had an impact on us during our time spent with the people. We also had the opportunity to help out AFSA with a community running event ‘Run for the World.’  Rahel, an Ambassadors staff member, did a great job organizing the event and it was a big success!  The purpose of the event was to raise money for the Ambassadors Football Organization in South Africa as well as their sister organization in Mexico.  Each runner raised money based upon the number of laps they ran with or without a soccer ball.  This event was a lot of fun and we were blessed with gorgeous weather!  We also were able to experience a South Africa Braai at two lovely homes.  One of the most noticeable characteristics of the people in South Africa was their hospitality.  People were so willing to open up their homes which gave us the true South Africa experience!

Since we were in South Africa and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, Roberto took us around to some of the popular tourist attractions.  We toured Cape Town Stadium where the 2010 World Cup took place and we had the opportunity to see a local professional team play there as well!  Our group took a visit to a lion’s rescue center.  While here were able to many lions that were rescued from abusive situations in order to be properly cared for.  One night we went to the beach and saw the sunset over the ocean.  It was so beautiful.  The best experience that our group had while touring around was definitely Table Mountain.  We rode up on the gondola to the top of the mountain and we had a couple hours to hike around and take in the many breathtaking views of Cape Town and the surrounding ocean.  This was an incredible display of God’s beautiful creation!  The scenery and landscape from the top is mind blowing and gives you an overwhelming sense of God’s beauty and goodness!

Since it was winter and school was still in session we had the chance to play against a couple of the university teams.  We played against the University of Western Cape (UWC) and University of Cape Town (UCT).  It was so fun to be able to play soccer as a team as well as play against some of the local teams!  Although we may not all speak the same language, we can communicate through a game that we both love, soccer.  We also had the opportunity for some team building a SCAS.  It’s a Christian Sports organization and we spent a day participating in different activities that tested our mental strength, awareness and communication.  It was so great to learn from Godfrey, our leader as well as each other!

In the two weeks we were there we had so many incredible experiences but the most impactful for me was our visit to Drakenstein Prison.  This is the well-known prison where Nelson Mandela was released.  We had the privilege to work alongside Hope Academy which is a separate living area within the prison.  There are multiple groups including soccer, choir, cricket & rugby.  We had the opportunity to attend the weekly Bible Study as well as play soccer with them twice while we were there.  Hope Academy is an AFSA program that consists of three pillars: faith, future and football.  It seeks to build men of faith and prepare them to be respected male leaders in society.  The men also are on a soccer team within the prison and all 25 of them live together in the same room.  This experience touched not only myself but our team in a way that we could have never expected.  The Lord’s transformative work was truly evident in these young men and their desire to learn more about Jesus is amazing.  These men have the desire to change and they are on the right path with the help from AFSA and most importantly, the Lord.  It was a humbling experience and I am so grateful for the opportunity to form relationships with these men and play a game that we love together.

As we prepared for this trip we were reading the book River Dwellers.  As a group we discussed what it means to dwell in the river of the Holy Spirit.  This includes prophesy, visions, hearing from God, etc.  Many of us could not directly relate to the situations described in the book but after our trip to Logos Church all of that changed.  Logos was the property that so kindly housed us during our two week stay.  On our only weekend there we attended their worship service.  It was an experience that we had never experienced as a team before.  We were worshipping the Lord with song, scripture and words the Lord gave to individuals in the congregation and communion.  It was an incredible experience and it was a blessing to experience it as a team.  The Logos congregation not only welcomed us, but showed us the Lord in a new way!  Our trip finished off with a send-off from the Christian school which was so special.  This was one of the many ways their love was shown throughout our trip!

Our 2016 trip to Cape Town exceeded any expectations that we could have had.  We met great people, played a lot of soccer and saw beautiful scenery.   Most of all, we experienced the Lord in so many ways.  He shined through the people we interacted with and the things we saw.  This is a trip that our team will remember forever and will bind us for not only future seasons, but the rest of our lives.  On our first day Roberto mentioned a quote to us that says, “The life you change may be your own.”  I can honestly say that this trip changed each of our lives and we are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity and the work that God did during our time in South Africa.  Although we will miss the amazing people we met while on our trip, we know that one day we will see them again.  On behalf of the GCC Women’s Soccer Team we would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the people at AFSA and all those who allowed us to see a glimpse of the work they are doing!!”

Psalm 145