In 2012 the Chicago Eagles staff was praying over different locations in the Western suburbs to expand our youth soccer and launch an incarnational, urban focused ministry. As two coaches we're praying in a community called Timberlake, a young boy and his friends came up and asked if they wanted to play some soccer with them. After kicking around for about 30 minutes (and breaking no windows), the kids asked if we knew any coaches, because they had no one to be their coach and form a team for them.
We felt this was God opening the door for our coaches to move in and begin launching our urban ministry.
Five years later, in January 2017, one of those young players, Eraclio, traveled with MAI and coaches from all 3 offices to Cuba for his first international missions trip.
Eraclio accepted Christ at a Chicago Eagles soccer camp, captains for the Chicago Eagles Youth/Urban teams, participates in weekly Bible Studies with the Eagles Coaches, and helps lead a Christian, after-school club at his public high school.
Of his trip to Cuba, Eraclio writes, "The impact that this trip made in my life was seeing those cubans who live in poverty being so faithful to the Lord. It made me want to keep striving into getting closer towards him. It was also awesome using the sport of soccer to spread the Gospel. I'd love to do this again for sure, new bonds are made and together we work to spread the Gospel."
Cody Snouffer, the Chicago Urban Ministry Director, writes, "Eraclio's story is a special example of the gospel and kingdom in action through MAI. Eraclio has experienced Chicago's Summer Academy, Camp, Urban, and International ministry in the last 5 years. He is a special young man and dear friend that we pray continues to seek and serve the Lord!”