On Saturday, April 21, a whole lot of friends and I hosted the City Heights World Cup soccer tournament. 12 High School teams from approx. 10 different countries played together in a two day tournament. The majority of these students live in City Heights, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the USA. In addition, the majority of these kids have come to the United States on immigration visa’s, immigrated with their parents, or are refugees. The one main thing that all these students have in common though is a love and a skill for soccer.
I have been writing for the past three weeks about refugees. You have read and listened to stories about who refugees are, why they come to the USA and how we must respond, according to Jesus and scripture. Saturday was a day where heaven came to earth. The Church came together and hosted a celebration . Over 120 players, coaches, fans, organizations, churches, and individuals came together to make this day happen. It was such a gift to be a part of.
How do you serve the refugee community? Through selfless acts of love and acceptance. We are all children of God, and so that makes us brothers and sisters. We need to care for one another, serve one another, celebrate with one another and have each others backs. Here is a run down of Saturdays events. It wasn’t just a soccer tournament, but a celebration with food, friends and laughter and love.
- 15olbs of Halal chicken (grilled to perfection).
- 400 bottles of water
- a cartoon caricaturist painter for the kids (and adults)
- 80 lbs of rice
- Dozens of volunteers
- Some administrative geniouses
- An invitation to come
- A group of people who didn’t see citizenship, race or religion as a barrier to celebration.
- $1000’s of dollars in donations
- Prayer, prayer, prayer