Justin Chapman | Echo
While some Taylor students braved the cold weather in Indiana, the women's soccer team traveled to Costa Rica during J-term. This trip usually occurs every three or four years. The purpose of it is to bring the team closer together and spread the gospel to other people.
Groups who go on this trip are thrown into a culture where soccer is the dominant sport. They then play several other teams from the country they are in. This year, the team competed against three Costa Rican teams, finishing with a record of 2-1.
The only team to defeat them was a professional team, which included at least one player from Costa Rica's national team.
For the most part, the teams they played were receptive to what the Taylor team had to say.
"Unlike America, you can go play a really good game in Costa Rica, and they're like 'wow, you're really good at soccer. Tell me about Jesus,'" head coach Scott Stan said. "(It) never happens here, but it happens all the time overseas."
Stan added that this visit put an emphasis on the fact that a sport can be missionary work. Normally painting a fence or street evangelism is considered missionary work, but sports can be used to spread the gospel as well.
The women from Taylor go through a four-week training where they learn how to share their faith in a way that does not necessarily use Christian terms. After the games, they will talk to people using the training they received.
"Even just the way we played . . . was a testament to our faith," junior Megan Kammer said. "Playing with character-playing with respect-was definitely also showing that we were different than most teams."
Kammer added that they applied the gifts God gave them to honor him. Everyone on the team knows how to play soccer, and since they are comfortable competing, they can use that as a platform to reach other players.
Not only did the team spread good news to the people of Costa Rica, but they also bonded together. The whole experience of being in a different country team allowed them to experience and process life as a group.
"I think it was really cool just to see each individual's personal joy and experience of it all," Kammer said. "Everyone had a different experience of it all, but at the same time I really think the root of it all was joy."
Each night the group got together and shared their favorite parts of the day and how they saw God move. This time gave them the chance to reflect on their own experience and hear what other people were processing.
Junior Nikki Zaino went on the trip and enjoyed working with the high school aged people. She appreciated the joy the kids contained even though they lacked certain comforts. The Trojans had the opportunity to share some of their stories with the kids.
Overall, the journey gave both the Taylor athletes and coaches the chance to spread the gospel in a different country in a distinct way. Kammer noted that this was not the typical mission trip people usually take. The team collectively shared their faith by playing soccer.
After all they gained from this J-term trip, the women's soccer team will continue to prepare for their fall season.
"Photograph provided by Scott Stan"