Converting Physical Energy to Spiritual Energy

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I still remember this year’s Memorial Day very vividly. I began by coming to the morning prayer time, and I had such a wonderful prayer time with God that I prayed longer than I had intended, completely forgetting about my breakfast cooking duty. God had mercy on our cooking team; we were able to prepare the food very quickly with the help of Missionary John and started our supplementary Bible study just a little late.

The two Bible studies on John 19 and 21 were so wonderful and touching that I teared up during Bible study and two-by-two prayer as I learned about Jesus’ deep love for the disciples. Although I had not gotten enough sleep the previous night, the delicious omelette and those wonderful Bible studies filled me with energy and excitement for the one special activity that the entire church was waiting for: soccer and Ultimate Frisbee.

I did not know how to get to the soccer field and followed another shepherdess, who apparently had never been there either. We both got lost, but after several minutes of exploring, we were finally able to find the rest of the group. After a much-needed warmup, we split into two teams, and in view of the John passage we had just studied, our team was named “The Side of Truth.”

Soccer was one of the many sports that I did not know how to play. I did not understand the rules or the mechanism of the game, but everyone reassured me that everything would be okay. I just needed to kick the ball each time it got close to me and not touch it with my hands. In my team, Msn. John assigned me to play defense with the goal of not letting the ball pass me, and he also gave me a simple strategy to follow: I had to keep moving in the direction of the ball, so that the defense acted like a windshield wiper, with the goalkeeper as the pivot. I was skeptical at first because I was the only person in the layer I was in, and it looked like the strong opposing team would easily pass me as if I was not even there. I was also afraid that because I did not know how to kick a ball, I would miss it and kick someone’s leg instead.

However, I decided that even though my knowledge and experience of soccer was almost non-existent, I would follow Msn. John’s simple direction wholeheartedly, and something amazing happened. When I struggled to just trust him, and follow his direction absolutely, instead of following my instinct or my own understanding of where I should be, our defense was fairly impenetrable. When the game ended, we only had two goals stolen from us, one from a penalty kick, and the other from Ivan’s bullseye kick.

Remembering this event helps me to understand what my simple obedience can bring. The game should have ended with a devastating loss on our side, but when I obeyed the direction given to me, then even though I didn’t know how to play soccer and made a lot of mistakes, the strategy that we followed worked and covered my weaknesses.

In serving God and doing the work of God, this is also how I can be very successful. To this day, I still do not really know why God chose me and called me to do his work instead of those who are more talented than me. I’m not an expert in doing this work, and there are so many things that I still do not know. I also make a lot of mistakes. The result should have been determined already: no fruit would be produced through me. But this soccer game has taught me that when I obey, the outcome can changed in my favor. I may not be the best person to be trusted with the task of establishing disciples, but through my obedience, God can do his great work.

As we played soccer, the one thing that I feared most came true: I kicked many people’s legs, and I got kicked several times too. By the time we were done playing soccer, both of my legs had began to hurt. Yet I was full of excitement and enthusiasm, so that when we played Ultimate Frisbee, I ran back and forth at full speed until I made physical contact with someone and injured my calf. My body was so exhausted and aching, but I still wanted to continue playing, until it got dark if possible. But out of concern, some disciples recommended me to rest, and I decided to listen to them.

Cleaning up (and playing chess)

After that fun activity, we went back to the church to enjoy a delicious meal. When I arrived, I saw how busy Johnny, Jessica, Sarah Lingberg, and Mary were as they cooked in the kitchen, and I initially was thinking of helping them. But I got distracted by the nice smell of freshly grilled galbi (Korean barbecue) and started following the smell. Outside, I found two brothers, Robert and Francisco, cooking meat on a grill in the hot sun. While I had been enjoying Ultimate Frisbee, all these shepherds had been busy cooking, even in the heat.

Preparing Lunch
Korean Barbecue Cooks

When I saw them serving this way, I was inspired to serve too. But I was too late, and there was nothing left that I could do. So I just ended up offering my tiny service of bringing the brothers outside some cold water bottles. The food that we had was very tasty, comparable to that of a restaurant: Korean barbecue, chicken, and corn on the cob with a very unique coconut sauce that everyone seemed to be enjoying. (Unfortunately, I could not join the fun because I do not like coconut.)

That evening, I was exhausted and slept soundly. To my surprise the following morning, I was still full of energy, although my body was so sore that I couldn’t walk normally. Even standing up straight and getting in and out of my car was extremely difficult. Still, I decided to go to my campus anyway to look for students who needed the word of God. Doing the work of God on that day was very difficult, especially because my campus has a lot of stairs, but I was so revved-up that I couldn’t stop.

I must have looked funny and ridiculous as I went around my campus to find students with my sore and bruised body. I had to walk very slowly, perhaps, even more slowly than an elderly man with his walker. I was limping, and when I took the stairs, I had to firmly hold onto the handrail. I almost fell several times when I went down the stairs, because of how weak my legs were. Yet I had so much fun doing the work of God in that condition that I had a big smile on my face all day, and this lasted for more than a week. I hope we play soccer and Ultimate Frisbee more often so I can once again go to my campus to do the work of God vigorously with a sore body.

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July 25, 2019 5:12 pm

One thing I always notice is how much teamwork is involved in both soccer and ultimate frisbee–no one can win the whole thing alone, but only by working together with their teammates. At the same time, each person is working hard in their given task, whether defense or offense. It’s a cool picture of how God’s servants are working together as well. Also…THAT KOREAN BARBECUE. So delicious!

Reply to  bub4life
July 25, 2019 9:41 pm

Or just knock Sarah Baik down every time she’s in the touchdown zone for that last Frisbee toss…. that’s the secret 😉

Reply to  SHLingberg
July 25, 2019 9:48 pm

HAHAHA as I recall, you might have tried that once or twice xD

Reply to  bub4life
August 10, 2019 12:32 am

Hahahaha!! It was sooo epic to watch you two battling in the end zone.

Also, Sabaaa, your comment about not winning on your own reminds me of when I played soccer in my old life and sometimes there was that one person…the ball hog. Ugh. So annoying, but I’m so happy and thankful that God has brought me out of that beast wars life and into his family and this beautiful community where we love, support and even lay down our lives for one another. God is good!!

Reply to  Inez
August 10, 2019 12:24 pm

Ohh cool username! I was stumped on who you were at first lol. Yeah a ball hog makes it not fun for everyone ><

Reply to  bub4life
August 14, 2019 10:52 pm

I can’t figure out out, who is it??
These usernames stump me sometimes..

Reply to  SHLingberg
August 14, 2019 11:00 pm

Hahaha it would be whoever delivered the message of living water the last couple conferences 😀

Reply to  bub4life
April 18, 2020 1:05 pm

This testimony and your comment reminded of a quote that General MacArthur made, regarding the value of athletics among future military leaders at West Point. “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields, will bear the fruits of victory.”

Reply to  aspiringvictoryzealously
April 18, 2020 1:08 pm

Whoaa what a cool quote!!!

July 25, 2019 8:41 pm

I had so much fun reading this! I can see that God has given you a really beautiful and fun new life. Praise Jesus, our Savior!

July 25, 2019 8:42 pm

Energy conversion is always suboptimal (to say the least) due to entropy.
However, it is a relieve to know that when a computer executes a program, the conversion is always 100%. Hence optimal.
Scripture says that God multiplies whatever we give to Him. That is superoptimal.

I can sleep well tonight.

July 25, 2019 9:39 pm

(Ha! Look at my crazy stance on the 1st photo. Was I throwing? Or just ready to run for it??)

Even though my personality tends to be on the reserved side, somehow Gladiator Soccer can break me out of that hold…
6+ years have passed since I first played Gladiator Soccer, and I still don’t know all the rules or how to properly kick a ball . But I’ve found that it’s the spirit that makes all the difference! 😀

July 26, 2019 7:21 am

What an enjoyable testimony to read. What you said about obeying that one direction from God’s servants or his word is true but often very hard because it is against our logic, like going out into deep waters in the morning after washing your nets. I remember that your defense was often a challenge to avoid despite you not knowing how to play before. This week I could notice as well that when I obey a direction for God’s mission I received and held onto even beyond my calculation of the situation, then I noticed some fruit from it. Let’s continually struggle to follow God’s words even beyond our logic so “the outcomes can change in our favor.” And yes, let’s play soccer and ultimate frisbee more often!

Reply to  ikovalen
July 28, 2019 10:05 pm

It was really fun to play soccer with you!!! Praise God that He noticed your struggle and blessed you with some good result. It’s really great to see young people struggle to live the life of obedience. May God establish you as a great spiritual leader!

July 26, 2019 7:58 am

Memorial day was very memorable, you even have all the vivid details. I like the picture of the brothers grilling in the heat they look like they were having fun! Also that coconut sauce was really good i put it on everything on my plate (maybe the recipe can be a post 😉)

Reply to  HIMorales
July 27, 2019 11:54 am

That’s a great idea! Who made that sauce though?? It was just mysteriously and deliciously sitting there…

Reply to  HIMorales
July 28, 2019 10:07 pm

Yes, those pictures are really great!!! I think we should post on these events more often, of course with a lot of pictures haha.

July 27, 2019 9:15 am

Thank you for this wonderful testimony. It is very encouraging to hear how even after a hard day of playing gladiator soccer and ultimate frisbee 🥏 you still got up and served Gods mission.
Thank you for sharing a testimony that shows the blessings that come when we obey by faith.

July 28, 2019 9:59 pm

I like this post so much!!! Especially, the first picture – full of action. Check out myself, Mason, Sarah and Melissa – so dynamic! I like this picture :] By the way, I liked the coconut sauce too. At first, I was skeptical, but once I tasted it out of obligation, I was hooked!!! It was made by Kathryn. It seems I like everything mentioned here – post, picture, coconut sauce. Haha!!!

July 29, 2019 9:02 am

I love the pictures haha! I hope I was about to epically catch that frisbee in the first picture…but not likely.

Also, I totally apologize for leading you astray on the way to El Camino….oops! What’s funny is that I actually had been to El Camino quite a few times before. But when I felt confident about knowing how to get there, I got completely lost….and got others lost in the process (spiritual message there for sure). Interesting that in Spanish “El Camino” means “the way.” I had to laugh at that.

Thanks for sharing this. It’s cool how God can use a fun day of soccer to boost our spiritual muscles. In the world, people play soccer for competition and their own glory. But I noticed that when shepherds play soccer, they are even so humble and reveal God’s glory. For example, some shepherds were so kind and apologetic when accidentally running into each other. In conclusion, I think we should play soccer every weekend!

Reply to  Melissaburdi
July 30, 2019 6:51 am

Haha I had no idea you were the one he was following to the soccer field. There was one time during the game where the ball was rolling toward Imanuel, but since I was behind him, he waited politely for me to kick it while I waited politely for him to kick it, so it continued to roll unhindered past both of us and went on its merry way. We were in shock because we literally just failed our job as defense xD When shepherds play soccer, the game is “not of this world”!

Reply to  bub4life
August 7, 2019 2:11 pm

Hi . This is a good post. Check your email for the notification you were mentioned. You too .

July 29, 2019 11:42 am

Your testimony helps me to realize just how bad my memory is of these events 😄. I see that there are a lot of details and things that I miss out on when I am not in constant relationship with God through prayer.

Also, I had too small cleats that caused my toe to bleed. So by the time of frisbee, I was injured and could barely run. That is my excuse for why you won 😄! Although I do not kick peoples’ legs as much as I accidentally tackle them to the ground. I am super clumsy. (Sorry, Sarah L. ) 😞

I did not try the coconut corn either (because I don’t like corn haha.) We need to make more coconut sauce.

Immanuel, God has made you a blessing. Your testimony is very inspirational, fun, deep, action-packed, full of life. I think that is why God called you, that through you others would see the life God has in mind for them.

Thanks Immanuel for your testimony.

Reply to  maburdi
July 29, 2019 9:55 pm

Yeah… I was left with a huge bruise on my knee from that tackle. But I named it, a battle scar! And wore it loud and proud!

Reply to  maburdi
August 8, 2019 11:22 am


Reply to  maburdi
August 8, 2019 11:55 am
July 29, 2019 12:04 pm

The testimony was really fun to read and full of life too. It’s cool to learn spiritual principles through physical activities like soccer. The food was very delicious as well. It was something everyone needed after playing so wholeheartedly. May God bless us to serve him with such zeal and passion on our campuses.