A soccer game may seem like an unlikely place to support something like Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM), but Bryant Eckes found an opportunity to share his joy of sharing God’s Word with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities on the playing field.
Bryant, a junior at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson, Wisconsin, is a member of its varsity soccer team. His coach asked each player to choose something to dedicate their season to and share their choice with everyone at practice. As part of this, each player had to create a wrist band representing their choice. Bryant chose Jesus Cares Ministries.
Bryant was first introduced to people with special needs at Camp Phillip, a Christian camp in Wautoma, Wisconsin. As a seasonal staff member, he worked with participants during the “Jesus Cares” week for 2 summers.
This summer, he was asked to assist with a picnic at Pilgrim Lutheran in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, specifically to help those who attended with special needs from the church’s JCM program. His parents, Joseph and Debra, volunteer for their JCM Bible class. At first, Bryant was not enthusiastic about volunteering for the picnic. But once he got there and started interacting with the JCM participants, he realized just how much fun he was having. The JCM participants’ enthusiasm encouraged Bryant to realize he made a good choice in attending the picnic and created an experience he would not forget.
Because of his experiences, Bryant chose to dedicate his season to JCM. He explains, “Jesus Cares Ministries does lots of good things for people with special needs. You can see how Jesus touches their hearts. It puts in perspective how blest we are in many ways, and yet you see just how blest they are also. It is important that we are reaching out to them and sharing the Gospel. If someone were to ask me about JCM, I would tell them to try it and see how it goes. You will have a feeling like I had at the picnic; one of the greatest I ever had.”
Kettle Moraine’s soccer team fell one match short of going to the state championships this year. Although that was disappointing, Bryant will also remember how a wrist band made this season different.