“I only dreamed that I would play futebol against an American team… and on an American field!”

It could not have been more perfect: the weather slightly cold, the field rain-soaked from the night before, and two teams ready to take on an opponent who they only dreamed they might face on the soccer field. It was not about the points scored, nor was it about proving who is the best… it was about bringing the world together to share a passion.

Ober-Gatlinburg winter students from Argentina and Brazil played against a local team of American high school students. After the game we met center field to exchange a little gift with each player as a token to remember this event. But more than receiving an American flag or a ball signed by 15 Argentinian and Brazilian athletes was the gift of God’s presence which brought the world together, if just for a brief moment, in joy, love, and acceptance.

Katy and I were thrilled to have all 23 Ober-Gatlinburg students who played or watched the game over to our house for pizza and Guarana (Brazilian soft-drink). Scotti Simpson and his girlfriend, Amber, were a vital part of facilitating this event. Scotti is a SMRM summer staff alumni (2010) and has continued to travel back and forth from Alabama during the winter to help us share God’s love with the international students of Ober-Gatlinburg. It is exciting to watch God continue work in and through SMRM.