We grew up in Southeast Georgia and eventually married in 2002. Through the years of growing in marriage and raising our 5 children, God has cultivated a heart for missions and has been preparing us to be sent out. God has opened our eyes to the great need for more laborers to be sent to spread the gospel. Our family has stepped out in faith, surrendering everything to Christ alone. God called us to leave the life we know and move to Guatemala.
We now serve at Bueno Vista Soccer Academy in Buena Vista, Guatemala where we work with young boys in a rural village, share the Gospel, and disciple (www.bvboys.com). BVSA is more than a soccer ministry; it is an evangelism and discipleship ministry. God has shaped us to serve in community as well as discipleship. Also, we utilize our medical training, as a physical therapist and nurse, to meet some of the medical needs. Our prayer is that God will be glorified and made much of in our family’s life and share His love with all those He places in our path.
Purpose of BVSA:
We believe that God wants to raise up a group of young men to be loving husbands and fathers, respected leaders, and godly men, who can break cycles of abuse – and absence of biblical family values – related to poverty in the village of Buena Vista, Guatemala. While there are exceptions, the overwhelming majority of the men are abusive, alcoholics, absent, or a combination of the three. In general, their women are considered their property, and their kids are often wandering the streets all day, if not working the equivalent of a full time job. This cycle is repeated for generations.
Our purpose is to mold boys into young men that will lead their future families, and entire community, in a new direction – towards following Jesus, loving and providing for their families, and serving one another.
The goal is long-term. With the Boys Academy, the idea is to work for a long period of time – years – sharing the Gospel, teaching, encouraging, and loving on these boys, with hope that their future families, and next generations, reap the benefit. The hope is that the Holy Spirit will raise up believers out of these young men who can be discipled in the Academy and then in turn, they will disciple future generations.
WHAT DO WE DO AT BVSA?
The focus of the ministry is centered around competitive soccer training and competition. We have approximately 30 boys in the academy at all times, the idea being that we can “go deep” with each of them in an effort to instill longterm, life-changing values. We chose this approach, as opposed to an “open to the public” model, which would have allowed us to minister to hundreds of kids, but on more surface level as opposed to a deeper relational level.
We have a 15-member JV team of “Rhinos” (ages 10-13) and a 15-member Varsity team of “Rhinos” (ages 14-18). Most boys enter the academy around the age of 10 or 11 and graduate around the age of 18, giving them 7 to 8 years in the program. We believe this gives us ample time to work towards transformational change, and our prayer is that during these critical years the generational cycles of abuse related to poverty can be broken. During their time at the academy the boys participate in an intense and focused program combining highly-competitive sports, classroom education, devotionals, weight-training, hygiene, and nutrition. Most importantly, we aim to teach the boys about following Jesus, respecting women, serving their community, and becoming loving husbands and fathers.
WHY ‘THE RHINOS?’
For us, being a “Rhino” has a much deeper meaning than just a team mascot. Here’s a quick summary explaining “why the rhinos?”
2 facts: Rhinos cannot see beyond 30 feet. Rhinos can run between 30-40mph.
Those 2 facts together make no sense! Could you imagine driving 40 mph in your car and not seeing 30 feet ahead of you?
But what makes the rhino special is that he will not run top speed alone. A pack of rhinos is called a “crash” – because when they get together, they run their hardest, without any concern for what lies ahead. They know that, together, they can run through anything.
What we are trying to do with the next generation of leaders in Buena Vista at times seems impossible. Our hope is to lead these boys to break generational cycles of abuse, absence, and spiritual emptiness. Many dads beat their wife and kids because they have never seen a man in their life who didn’t. The root of the problem runs deep.
As we spend the coming years digging in and attempting to bring life, hope, and grace in Jesus name to these future men, they will need each other in order to stay strong. That’s where the rhino concept comes in.
For us leaders here at BVSA, our rhino crash is invaluable. We encourage one another, challenge, push, and convict one another. Sometimes we have to call each other out. But we love one another deeply. We share life together and we carry one another’s burdens.
Our prayer is that these BV boys will form their “rhino crash” – running hard for Jesus, growing together in their faith, and leaning on one another as they face their community together… a group of young men who love the Lord and their neighbors, work hard, respect women, and live lives of integrity.
Eventually, may the influence of the rhino crash of Buena Vista spread like wildfire and have a transformational impact in this place.
For more information about the Buena Vista Sports Academy and what we do, check out: https://www.bvboys.com/.
If you’re interested in partnering with me, click here: https://cten.org/ryanwilson/