At the end of the spring semester, most of the Eastern University student community went home for the summer. However, the EU Women’s Soccer Team had other plans.
They spent two weeks in Zambia, a desperately poor and undeveloped country in South Africa. Their goals for this trip were to share Christ’s love with the Zambian children, bond together as a team and play international soccer.
“I wanted to give our student athletes a bigger picture of the world and Christianity around the world,” Coach Dan Mouw said.
While in Zambia, the team competed in four games. They played two games against regionally selected teams and two games against professional teams. But the trip provided many more benefits to the Eastern Women’s Soccer Team than just providing extra playing time. “We were able to get to know each other in a new environment outside of the busy and stressful school life at Eastern,” senior Kristine Zeiset said “Spending two weeks non-stop with a group of people naturally deepens your connection with each other.”
The team was also able to spend some time at a local orphanage where they played and sang to the children.
“We played soccer, tag, duck-duck-goose, danced, and did so much more with the children” Senior Bethany Engle said, “They had tons of energy and loved being with us.”
The squad spent academic time with the children as well. “They loved us in the classrooms with them. They were constantly having us draw pictures, sing, and dance for them,”junior Alysia Goodman said.
As the 2011 season moves on, the Women’s Soccer Team stays close-knit as a result of the summer missions trip.
“For me, I found great value in the quality time spent with my teammates,” Zeiset said. “I will also never forget the countless times we broke out into song while driving in our bus or walking through the airports as we traveled many hours.” This cross-cultural experience provided immense opportunity for growth spiritually, individually and as a team unit that have life-long effects for everyone involved.