The Soccer Field Is Her Mission Field

Real Stories #15

“It’s almost impossible in our day and age to evangelize without apologetics. You have to give people reasons to consider the message of the Bible.”

Like many who share their faith, Ester doesn’t feel like some great apologist. But it’s in her conversations with people on the soccer field, in a coffee shop or even on YouTube, that she’s likely making a greater impact for God’s Kingdom than she realizes.

Ester received her bachelor’s in religious studies from SES before returning to get her master’s in religion. And then her master’s in apologetics. She even audited some classes that weren’t for credit.

Originally, the Brazilian American wanted to go into sports ministry, but when her plans didn’t play out like she intended, she enrolled in SES, graduating with her first master’s in 2010.

By the following year, she began a two-year stint as a missionary in Kenya. Threats of terrorist attacks were common then, and there was Ester in the midst of it, developing relationships with university students through pickup soccer, the swim team, and taking courses in Swahili and philosophy.

She even organized apologetics discussion groups, which spread by word of mouth since the secular school she attended didn’t allow religious activities.

Once she got to know people, they introduced her to their friends. Her sphere of influence kept increasing.

Thinking back on her time at SES, Ester remembers going through the arguments for the existence of God.

“At the time, I didn’t think it was super worthwhile. I’ve never doubted God exists,” she said. Later, she found it quite useful as she came across more and more people who weren’t convinced.

SES also taught her how to think logically when confronted with critics of Christianity. What are they getting at? What’s the best way to respond?

She’ll listen for inconsistencies in their arguments, ask thought-provoking questions without getting defensive, and above all, keep it conversational.

Ester has found in her ministry to Muslims that there’s a fear of questioning what they believe. She’s met people interested in Buddhism who are drawn to it as a way of handling their anxiety.

Whether talking to a cultural Buddhist about meditation or asking a Muslim soccer player about the Quran while watching a game, Ester has realized you don’t always have to share the whole Gospel all at once. Sometimes, it’s more effective for someone to first question his or her worldview.

Throughout her studies at SES, Ester said Dr. Richard Howe was a favorite professor because he was easy to talk to and simplified complex ideas.

Dr. Barry Leventhal was another because of his passion for God’s Word.

“He encouraged students not to just look at this as an academic endeavor,” Ester said of Dr. Leventhal, but to look at SES as a way to learn about their Father and reach others with the Gospel. Papers weren’t just for grades, but for preparing students’ hearts.

Today, Ester teaches English to Chinese students online. She coaches soccer and recently started a YouTube channel, All Things Apologetics.

She regularly texts prayer requests for friends who need Christ, and for her to know how to respond to their objections.

Your SES Education Begins Here

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Fields are Ripe for Harvest

We’ve all been given a unique mission field like Ester. Supporting SES can widen that field as more students are trained to reach their communities for Christ. 

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