Softball player Kiki Estrada transferred to Orange Lutheran in Spring 2021. She will continue her softball career at University of Arkansas this fall.
I grew up in a Christian family, but I never truly understood what it meant to be a Christian and how to have a relationship with God. Growing up, I would use God as a genie and wonder why I wouldn't get everything I asked for. I would go back and forth with my relationship with God. It would be solid for a few months, then fade away because of the constant urge to think my life was okay where it was, and I didn't need God at that point. The hardest part about this is that I wasn't around fellow Christians to help me through this time, as I attended a public high school. At public school, talking about God almost felt embarrassing. People would look at you as crazy if you talked about your faith. During Covid, with sports shut down, a friend who attends Orange Lutheran encouraged me to transfer to OLu because she thought I'd love the environment.
My family and I brushed it off, but as a few weeks went by, we started talking about Orange Lutheran more and more. On Christmas morning, my Dad asked me if I wanted to go to Orange Lutheran, and I said yes, so we scheduled a school tour during the week of New Year's. My family was blown away by what Orange Lutheran offered, from athletics to extracurricular activities and the more challenging classes. I transferred to OLu, and it has been one of the best decisions I've made.
Support Through Coaches
The way Orange Lutheran cares for its students and athletes is amazing. I don't think I have ever been in an environment where people ask how they can pray for you. OLu has impacted me so much, from prayers before class and knowing your teachers and coaches are there for you.
I had to sit out a few softball games since I transferred, and when I came back to play, I wasn't performing to my standard. I was struggling mentally, and I felt like I wasn't ever enough. After one game, I broke down. I was sitting on the bench, bawling my eyes out, and my OLu coaches came to talk to me. They sat down, and I remember their exact words were, "You'll be okay, Kiki, because you are a child of God and nothing can change that. Your identity is found in him and not in your performance on the field."
I quickly realized that softball wasn't everything when I heard those words. It opened my eyes to show me that God is so much bigger than softball ever will be. From that point on, my view of my life and how I should view my life changed. Like I said before, getting to hear the Word of our righteous God is so comforting and a nice reminder that you get every day at OLu.
Transferring to OLu
When I transferred, I was nervous because I was going into a new school, knowing one person, and I didn't have any classes with them. I was out of my comfort zone, and I was scared. I still remember when my Spanish 2 teacher called on me on the first day to answer questions in class. Usually, when you get a new student in the middle of the year, you don't call on them for a few class sessions so that they understand what they are learning and get comfortable. After class, the teacher told me that she called on me to answer because she knew my potential and didn't want me to be scared to participate in the future. She is now one of my best friends, and I sit in her class every white day during my free periods to talk to her about softball or anything that comes up in life. The little things can make a big difference in someone's life. Getting to hear the Word daily is great, especially when struggling during hard times.
Blessed Through Baptism
Earlier this year, there was an opportunity to get baptized on campus, and without hesitation, I signed up. I have wanted to get baptized for a long time but never knew how or where to go. I talked to our pastor at school, and we talked about it in theology class, so I became more and more informed about how it works.
As the date got closer, I was hesitant because it would be in front of the entire student body. I prayed to God to give me the strength to do this and take away any anxiety I have. At the time, I was reading a book called "Live Fearless" by Sadie Robertson, and in the chapter I was reading, she was in the same situation that I was. She wanted to go on national TV, but she didn't take the opportunity because she was scared. She talked about how God wouldn't cast anxiety on you--it isn't what he does. Those words were reassuring and comforting to know that I was second-guessing myself, and it wasn't God trying to make me nervous. I was still a little nervous going into the baptism, but knowing I was alongside people who were there for me was comforting. I was baptized, and I'm happy I didn't back out.
Trusting God's plan can be difficult at times, but those hard times make you stronger and closer to him. I don't know where I would be without God or if I didn't come to OLu to have the support and guidance I have today. Everything I do, all the glory, everything I have, I owe to Him because if it weren't for Him, I wouldn't be who I am or where I'm at today.