Faith & soccer
During confirmation faith stories on Sunday, three students talked about their faith, using soccer as a way to illustrate how they’ve moved through their relationship with God over the years. The last Sunday of faith stories for this year is this weekend, 10:20-11:05 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.
Jordan and Aron Stewart, ninth-graders at Davenport North High School
Jordan: For most of our lives, we’ve played soccer. In fact, we don’t remember it, but our first trip to the soccer field came when we were just two weeks old.
Aron: Our faith is found in community. Our teams have been communities for us, but they also serve as metaphors for our faith life.
Jordan: On our teams, players have roles. Some players defend, others attack, and roles can shift depending on how the game goes.
Aron: Teams involve other people as well. There are coaches who help us understand the big picture. They teach, but they can’t play for us.
Jordan: There are also referees. They help us understand the rules and play fairly. They enforce the rules that we agree to play by when we begin the game.
Aron: In life our community is like a team. Some people are with us only for a season. Since we were born, both of our great-grandfathers have died. But we learned important lessons from them.
Jordan: Our birth mother gave us the opportunity to be adopted by our parents. Our confirmation leaders spent the last season with us.
Aron: Others are with us for longer periods. Our parents, my sister, our grandparents, and our uncles have supported us our whole lives.
Jordan: In addition to those who have supported us, my brother and I have helped to coach and teach others. Sharing the things we have learned is an important part of building community. Among others, especially important to us are Charlene, Chantal, Deborah, Jerome, Rebecca, and Rehema.
Aron: Our team will continue to change, develop, and grow over time. My dad always says that the games we have played so far are to prepare us for more important games later. There will be important things to happen later in life, but we have faith that our community can help us meet the challenges.
Justin Ancelet, ninth-grader at Pleasant Valley High School
I will be sharing my faith story through different periods of time in a soccer match.
It all starts in warm-ups, at my baptism in my church in Cedar Falls where I was born.
As the beginning whistle is blown, my faith has turned completely as I am now in Sunday school, with all of my buddies that are also in my kindergarten class at school. This gave me a chance to meet new people, and to build stronger relationships with all of my friends I would also see at school.
As we approach the 22-minute mark, by now I have broken a good sweat and my faith life has taken an interesting twist because my family I have now moved to Brazil. All of my relationships have been crushed and now I am very sad that I have to leave some of my friends that I used to hang out with all of the time. I am way too scared and nervous to go to a church where I don’t understand the language, so I focus on my family and getting to know others in my new international school, and how they would connect with God.
As my life completely changes in Brazil, we are about to go into halftime, when my parents decide three years later that we are now heading back to the United States. I enter halftime barely able to breathe, and felt both bad and good because I was happy to go back to join my old friends in the U.S., but a little sad to leave some of my new relationships behind.
Now as I head back onto the field, we switch sides, and also switch Lutheran churches. I am now at St. Paul and I am just starting confirmation with my friends, and also people I might not know.
I am approaching the 71-minute mark, and I am starting to cramp up, but I am brought back up by my three small group leaders – Amy, Chris, and Stephanie. All three of these people played a major role in helping me personally grow, whether it was encouraging me in sports, helping me with problems I had, or helping me connect deeper with God.
As the ref looks at his watch, I see all of my teammates in need of someone to lead them through the last seconds of this game, which tells me that I need to step up and push through. Each soccer game ends with a result we like or don’t like, but the journey through life is about making mistakes, trying our best, and trusting in God to be the best we can be.