Conversations on the Practice Field

I wrote earlier this week about how I love the conversations I get to have with young men as I drive them home (or to school, if needed). Of course, sometimes I flounder in my attempts to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). But I still feel like the opportunities to talk and listen are worth the wear and tear on my vehicle.

Why else would I pack in sweaty, smelly football players who need a ride home after practices and games? Why else would my wife pick up some kids from an after school program, when their mom is at work?

Why else would I drive down the muddy dirt road to pick up a kid who missed the bus? Why else would I drive to Augusta at 1:30 AM, to take the mom and sister of a football player who was transported to the hospital there?

Remember (in that post) how I tried to explain the mistakes I made in relationships, and the importance of marriage? And remember that I felt like I completely flopped?

Fast forward a few weeks.

We’re at football practice. In between plays, I was using my phone (not for talking, because who uses a smartphone to talk anymore?). One of the younger guys said, “Coach, who are you texting? You got some girls you’re talking to?”

Before I could respond, one of the other guys spoke up. It was the same guy who told me that he liked being a “player” with lots of girls, and that he was never going to get married. He spoke to the other kid who accused me of having multiple girlfriends.

“Coach Espinosa doesn’t do that. He’s been married for almost 13 years, and has three kids. He’s got a great family, and loves his wife. He doesn’t have girls on the side.”


He went on to explain to me, “Coach. I’ve been thinking about what you said. You might be right. I think I will get married one day.”

You could have knocked me over with a jock strap (but please don’t do that; that’s gross). I never thought that my words would have soaked in, especially not with this guy. He’s from a broken home, and has lived a life full of broken relationships. And, to be honest, I’m just as broken as he is.

But it reminds me that Jesus is actively redeeming brokenness. He can work in this guy’s life, to help him find life in Him, just like He did for me.

And it reminds me why we’re here. We are here to be a part of God’s mission in Allendale, to be his agents and ambassadors (II Corinthians 5:20). It’s not about what programs and projects we do. We are called to build relationships and to spread the truth about God.

For those who have supported us, this is what your money, prayers, and encouragements are going to – giving us the opportunity to communicate gospel-centered love and truth.

We’re thrilled to partner with you.

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9 responses to “Conversations on the Practice Field”

  1. Karen says :

    Wow!!! That gave me goose bumps! What an incredible event! Thank you Joey and Joanna for doing exactly what the Lord has called you to do. Thank you Lord for giving Joey and Joanna evidence of your movement in their part of the world.

  2. Tracy says :

    Thanks for sharing this story, Joey. I love the HOPE the gospel brings to any environment. Thanks for your family’s faithfulness to share that hope in Allendale. We love you guys!

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Thank YOU, for your support, encouragements, and prayers, and for how you’ve poured into us over the last 12+ years. We would not be in this situation if not for you. We love y’all and miss you. Hope to come down there soon.

  3. Susan says :

    That’s awesome…

  4. Valerie Campbell says :

    Oh wow! I don’t even know what else to say about that.

  5. Jimmy says :

    Wow! That is completely awesome! Thanks for sharing, and for putting yourself out there.

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