1) Every Monday, we start training with a time of devotion and prayer led by one of the players. Right after that we head into our Monday Fitness complete with Monsters, Partner Carries, Burpees, and "Fun" Runs. I am grateful that the guys work so hard. The hope is that this discipline and exercise in "delayed gratification" translates into our personal, academic and spiritual lives as well.
2) Our senior captains, Sam and Henry, served in the same capacity last year as juniors. Sam plays center back and Henry plays striker. They are great leaders: working hard, checking in on players, setting a great example. I am so grateful for these guys.
3) Richard Maguire is an alumni and former player, who has worked at ABC Malawi since graduating. Before ABC, he served in the Malawi Defense Force for a few years (the Malawian army) and continues to be one of the fittest guys I know. He is coaching the team this year while we are home on furlough. Not only is he a faithful Christian leader at ABC, he also helps run a ministry called LiveLove which serves village communities just minutes away. I couldn't ask for a better role model for the team.
4) We are pretty good. We have only lost a few games in the last couple of years. We are always working to keep first things first: our priority isn't winning, it's using soccer as an opportunity to reach out to others for Christ while building our character and love for one another.
5) At the end of the year, we send the seniors off in style, with a jersey for their favorite team in Europe. Steve and Tushah graduated in June 2016, and are obvious and outspoken Arsenal and Liverpool fans.
6) I really do enjoy being around the guys. We laught a lot and have a really good time at training. Last year was tough, with many heavy things to walk through. But I was always refreshed when spending time with the guys on the team.
These guys are a real encouragement to me, and a constant reminder of why we're in Malawi at ABC: helping to disciple young men and women to lead their nation, and the continent of Africa, as educated and well-equipped Christians.