Travis in SE Asia

Today's post is very special and near and dear to my heart. I've asked Travis to write about his experience in SE Asia. Thank you for all your prayers and encouraging words while he was on the other side of the world! I hope you are blessed as you read his story:

It was funny, as I sat down to write this several weeks ago Jess asked if I could have it finished within an hour. I laughed and thought to myself, “try to sum up two weeks of adventures on the other side of the world in one hour? HA!” If you know me then you know it takes me a long time just to blink.  So, it has taken me much longer than an hour to regurgitate all my thoughts and pull out some highlights of my trip that I can briefly share with you.

Let me begin by saying, the other side of the world is REALLY, REALLY far away! We spent what seemed like a week either in airports or in planes but finally made it.  It is fascinating to enter another world full of people who are so similar to yourself and at the same time so uniquely different. Strangely though, I found myself feeling at home. SE Asia was incredibly familiar. In many ways it was like stepping into a much bigger Forest Hills, the community we live in. The cultural norms in both Thailand and Vietnam just didn’t seem that strange to me. A year or two ago that would not have been the case, but I was acquainted with this environment. It is now my life. The trip was all the more enjoyable and exciting for me because I met people who were like my neighbors and the players on my Urban Eagles team. What a great chance for me to understand my community, the people I serve in Forest Hills, more fully. To get a better idea of where they have come from. To experience the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds of their world. Things I could be aware of as I went back home.

Our primary goal in SE Asia was to train coaches in sports ministry. To teach them how to use the sport of soccer to love, disciple, and empower. To take the insight and experience the Lord has given to us and impart it to those serving in their communities throughout SE Asia. We had the privilege of meeting and sharing with over 200 coaches during our trip. When we were not teaching, much of our time was spent just hanging out with our new friends and sharing the grace, joy, and love of the Father with one another. We worshipped and prayed together often, our conversations were rich and encouraging, and there was definitely a lot of laughter.  I sensed that the coaches received new vision and renewed excitement for their ministries from our being there.  Equally, we were encouraged and blessed by them. I am so thankful for the diverse global family of God.

The unique platform the Lord has given the Charlotte Eagles to share the love of Christ through the game of soccer provided our team opportunities to play in games against a few professional and club teams.  It’s amazing the power of that little ball and the doors it opens. In Chaing Rai, one of the cities we visited in Thailand, we were welcomed by the mayor or as they called him, the President.  Also, we were hosted by the top footballer in Vietnam. We encountered the Lord together and encouraged this player and his family.  Many of us left his home feeling that our time with him was one of the most significant reasons for our being in Vietnam. The Lord has given him tremendous favor in the game of soccer and with man and we believe the words the Lord spoke to him during our time together could be a catalyst in his ministry and influence. God is so good and so fun! He loves to play and I think it is just like him to use silly games and child-like people to change the world.

Speaking of which…what a joy it is to hang out, laugh, and play soccer with youth! It’s hard to think of many places where I so tangibly experience the love of God. We partnered with several coaches and community leaders to host clinics for children in various communities in both Thailand and Vietnam.  One of these clinics was for 30 young men in a Karen village in Thailand. There are several Karen refugees in our community in Charlotte so this was one opportunity I was pretty excited about. Again, it opened my eyes to the world of my neighbors and the kids on our team. It was also great because we witnessed 13 young men step into faith in Jesus. Our Father is such a wooer.

I have taken so much away from this trip. I feel better equipped to do what I have been called into. I have been blessed by relationships that were formed and changed by the many lives I brushed against.  I am different now then when I left.  And I am more convinced then ever that the Lord is using trivial soccer to promote his unbelievable Kingdom.


  1. that is so awesome! thanks so much for sharing! what an incredible opportunity.

  2. Looks like a rewarding trip! It sounded very exciting!