The sun shone bright on the flat, green turf of the Olympic Training Center in Haiti. The children from Jesus Name and Lighthouse Children’s Homes lined the edge of the field facing a visiting team from Furman University. It was game day, and excitement was in the air.
“Every year, there is a soccer match between Lighthouse and Jesus Name Children’s Homes,” shared Matt Ellis, Back2Back staff. “We didn’t have a set date this year, but when we found out 8 of the 10 students on this trip were soccer players, we thought it’d be a great opportunity for a soccer match.”
The Olympic Training Center, located about fifteen minutes between the two homes, was the perfect location for the match. Level playing field allowed ease and space, and sidelines with shade were a welcome reprieve from the sun for the audience. That afternoon, two matches took place, and water balloons were available and used quickly on the sidelines. The children and teens were naturally competitive, but the ultimate goal of the afternoon was fun, and it was clear each child welcome the opportunity to run with abandon on a hot afternoon.
The day ended with Gatorade, snacks, and prayer. As the visiting team and the children from each home held hands and thanked God for the day, each person present came closer to understanding just what it means to be known and loved.