McIntosh High student brings gospel, American football to Nicaraguan kids

Jake Carney (center, shirtless) plays football with some of his new Nicaraguan friends. Photo/special.

By Jordan Torr
McIntosh Class of 2013
Special to The Citizen

This past summer, McIntosh High School junior Jake Carney traveled to Nicaragua in an effort to spread the word of Jesus Christ.

Carney said he found himself discussing the mission trip with Joey Potter, the director of missions at Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After learning more about Nicaragua and what the mission entailed, Carney wanted to take advantage of this special opportunity.

“Not many people are blessed with having an international mission trip,” Carney said. “I emailed Joey and told him that I was interested in going on this mission, and wanted to grow my relationship in Christ.”

Lee Belknap, head football coach for the McIntosh Chiefs football team, has coached Carney throughout his high school career. When asked what he thought of the trip that Carney took, Belknap stated, “I am so proud of him for getting out of his comfort zone and sharing the gospel with kids his age that would have never had the opportunity to hear it if he had not been obedient.”

Going into the trip, Carney knew no one and knew he would be out of his comfort zone.

However, he says he warmed up to the other kids quickly and began to feel comfortable with the situation.

“Every day, we started the morning with worship, and after would help around the facility to fix things that needed to be fixed,” stated Carney. Following the rebuilding, the group taught the kids there how to play American football and spoke to them about Jesus Christ. “They were very fast learners and great athletes and they really paid attention when we spoke about Christ,” remarked Carney.

The trip to Nicaragua not only had a positive impact on the many kids the group helped, but also had a powerful impact on Carney.

“I realized quickly that many of the kids were at the same point of their journey with Christ as I was,” Carney said. “We related very well in sports and in spirituality.”

Going to Nicaragua also had a lasting impression on his outlook on living in the United States. After returning from the trip, he realized how blessed he is to have had the coaching and sports experiences that he has had and recognized how he had always taken living in the United States for granted. He came to appreciate the experiences that he is fortunate enough to receive, experiences that the children in Nicaragua could never dream of.

Upon returning to the states, Carney unfortunately broke his collarbone during a summer scrimmage for the McIntosh Chiefs. He stated that he was devastated immediately after it happened and didn’t understand why God had allowed this to happen, but then realized what he had learned this summer.

“Going on the mission trip help me put my “collarbone experience” into perspective,” Carney said.

When asked if the trip had an impact on both Carney and his teammates, Coach Belknap responded, “Absolutely. Upon his return, he has continued to share the gospel with friends and teammates leading some of them to accept Christ as their Savior as well.”

Carney has made an impact on those around him through his sharing of the Gospel and Christ. Coach Belknap, when asked about the type of person and player Carney is, stated, “Jake is a winner. Everything he does is done 100 percent and with absolute passion.”

Carney has been forced to sit out because of the serious injury he underwent over the summer. However, you can still find him supporting his teammates on the sidelines every Friday night and continuing to make an impact on others’ lives daily.

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