Playing Soccer for Jesus
Bradley Teisen, Saints Missionary-Athlete, NE Soccer Team
It is not a typical teenager’s dream to go out on a Saturday morning into a prison to play the game of soccer. I would have never imagined playing the game I love with the most dangerous people that I may ever face. I never thought to play on a field surrounded by a tall wall with barbed wire attached to it from one end to the other. And as you look at the top of the fence, you could see just the tip of a pine tree waving in the wind. But, that game was one of the best games I had ever played.
I was able to play for Jesus in a barbed-wire prison with no way out and no turning back!
It was early in the morning when I got up and gathered all of my equipment together for the big game. I was pretty nervous about it, unsure how everything was going to play out. I kept thinking about the prisons I’d seen on TV and how violent the people on that show were. All I could do was to keep trusting God. As soon as the team arrived to our destination, we headed inside the doorway to the prison. Once we got out to the field, the team stretched, warmed up, and then we waited for the inmate population to join us in the yard.
The doors finally opened and the prisoners stepped on the field. We greeted each other and started right away. While playing the game, I was having so much fun that I forgot who we were playing against. During half time, I stood side-by-side with the “dangerous people” and listen to my father preach to them about Jesus and giving them a second chance in life. I was able to pray with those same men I had been nervous about meeting and show them the way to the light. It was amazing because a total of 8 prisoners accepted Christ. To me, being there and seeing their lives change before my eyes was incredible. In addition, we were able to make the prisoners feel like they weren’t caged in, but free with joy and happiness thanks to Jesus and the game of soccer.
This experience has helped me grow in my faith and learn more about how God uses people in the most unpredictable ways. I still can’t believe that I actually went to a maximum security prison and shared the gospel. But, I’m very glad that I did and would definitely do it again. Like they say, “Anything is possible with God.”
Ed note: Besides being a rookie this year, Bradley Teisen is also the son of Steven Teisen, an 18 year veteran and current captain of the Saints NJ Softball Team – and in this case, soccer player. Father and son shared this very special experience together!