We had the fortunate circumstance that our soccer camp started on Sunday afternoon so we were able to go to our friend Indrek’s church in Tallinn (the local church that has adopted the Märjamaa football team) and they prayed for us! An evangelistic camp focused on reaching local footballers is a great thing to pray for!
Once church concluded, we ate lunch and headed out-of-town to the school (approx. an hour outside of Tallinn) where we would spend the next 4 nights training footballers about football and teaching them about Jesus!
Casey, below, starting the Sunday afternoon training.
Not including our Interns and the Estonian leaders, 13 young men showed up ready to go. What you see above is pretty much what every morning and afternoon looked like but with more blisters, bruises, swollen everything, and strawberries as the week progressed.
Most JV camps just have one talk in the evening that introduce the idea of a relationship with Jesus Christ, and progress during the week and not only get deeper, they tend to ask the question…what about you? Now that you know these things, what will YOU do?
Since a football camp is bound to be full of a bunch of move-ish young men that have ADHD or similar symptoms, the JV Estonia team decided to cut the talks into two parts. There was one talk each day right after breakfast (followed by small group time to discuss what they learned and thought) and one right after dinner (also followed by a small group discussion). Something that I thought was pretty creative was that instead of calling the talks “meeting”, on the schedule there were 2 “coach’s room” times a day. How appropriate.
At the first “Coach’s room”, Indrek introduced the interns and had them help him to distribute football jerseys.There were two different teams from the JV football league that came to our camp (Marjamaa and Turi). The Märjamaa team had blue jerseys and the Türi team had black jerseys.Below: the Märjamaa team (plus all of our interns and their coach)….and not all of the team came to camp so their team does not really have only 4 members.Below: The Türi teamEveryone together.In a separate blog post, I will include some of my favorite pictures from the week.
Below: Nick sharing during Coach’s roomChris sharingCasey sharingLogan (tank top) sharing after a tournament that our camp had with another football camp in Estonia. Ranno is translating. I have written about Ranno in a few previous posts about Estonia.Adel sharing (she came to be the camp medic, help Casey with logistics, and help me with the boys and Haley while Casey was out training the guys all day…I am so thankful for her help). She has a very interesting and miraculous testimony. A lot of the guys resonated with what she had to say. She is Czech (also a very atheistic country) and went to Christian camps and events for many years before choosing to follow Christ.The last night and morning, we did praise and worship (in English to my surprise).Something very interesting about very atheistic countries like Czech and Estonia is that more people have open minds and can hear the good news without contempt, mockery, and heavy disbelief, like so many other people do. However, once a person decides that they believe what Jesus did, choosing to admit that they are sinners and asking Christ to lead their lives, and be their savior, is a much more gradual process.
This week, many of the young men at camp admitted that they do believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, to reconcile them to God, but they are reluctant and fearful of having a relationship with Jesus and devoting their lives to him. One boy did say that he used to the follow the Lord, fell away, and through the discussions and teaching at camp, he has decided to turn around and walk towards the Lord again. Praise God!
Please join us in praying for these precious young men. Please pray for the Lord to soften their hearts and speak to them in a personal way. Please ask the Lord to take away their fear so that they can walk towards Him with courage and hope, not fear of the unknown. Please also pray that they would not forget what they have learned as they go back to their daily lives. Hoping and praying….
The lovely thing about Edge Sports is that this is not it. These guys will be meeting together in the future for many practices, trainings, and tournaments. Our Estonian missionaries and churches already have programs and events in place to continue these relationships. So much to praise God for!