Sport. What a gift from God. It’s an international language. It brings so much joy, health and community. It’s a platform where we can build relationships, live out the message we believe in and make an impact on others by the way we act and play. Through sport, I’ve met people with similar passions and dreams. We’ve connected while we were kicking a ball, going for a run or horseback riding. By doing what I love: playing sport and meeting new people, I can make an impact in others’ lives and get a chance to spread God’s word. God constantly teaches me through sport, and He gives me opportunities to say “yes” over and over again.
During my Discipleship Training School, our school leader shared something that really stuck with me. He said: “Sports, for example soccer, bring out the best and the worst in our character; they reveal a lot about who we are. One hour of play on the soccer field is like a year of conversation.”
I’ve realised that through my actions on and off the field I can express a lot about the character of God: kindness, patience, humility and love. By caring about my fellow players, helping others to succeed and improve, and by taking responsibility for my actions and feelings (self control).
Like 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God”.
It’s so easy to look down on others, to judge or complain when someone makes a bad pass, to get angry, to talk behind others’ backs, to be violent, show off, argue, etc. Sport can reveal areas of our lives that we need to improve.
Back home in Sweden, I have been in the Equestrian sport my whole life. I have heard, seen and personally experienced a lot of gossip, comparison and negative opinions that made me feel sick. I have had similar experiences on my soccer team. But, through my ups and downs, God has always been there, supporting me and encouraging me to have a good attitude. Through sport, God has taught me a lot about teamwork and things I need to work on in my character. Sport has given me health, joy, freedom and friends, and that’s why it’s one of my biggest passions.
One of the main things that God has taught me on outreach so far is the power of sports. We spent two weeks in Wollongong, Australia, and we had the opportunity to play soccer with youth from Syria. One night I started to pass a ball back and forward with a young guy from Syria. We shared stories from our backgrounds, talked about our families, passions and dreams. I got a new friend just by being myself, kicking a ball and being genuinely interested in another person.
Every day I thank God for sport; for the physical activity that brings health to our bodies, but also so much joy to our hearts and souls.
I’m passionate about sport, and I know that it will continue to be a central part of my life. I’m so grateful for what God has been teaching me through my DTS at YWAM Newcastle. I look forward to growing in supporting others, developing a good mentality, bringing life and health to myself and others, and reflecting my faith in God through sports.
by Emmy Leander
Sports DTS Student