Tribute to a teammate

WC Men’s Soccer Team:
“One thing I will always remember about Ethan is that throughout high school we had a club rivalry because he played for Ohio Cup Crew and I played for Chicago Fire. All the time we would talk about our memories from those games and just where some of our teammates went to college. We didn’t know it then but we both had an impact on each others’ soccer lives before we even knew each other.”

Ty Robbins, junior

“The quality of guy Ethan was shown in his eyes. He wasn’t just a good guy, he lived by the example of Jesus. By doing this, he has inspired me and many others to live exactly like him following the example that he set. The way he lived in Christ showed every time he took the soccer field, studied, and spoke into my life.  Ethan will forever be remembered by me as a man who lived in the way of righteousness, and that is why I know he is rejoicing with the father right now.  Thank you, Lord, for blessing my life with Ethan Roser.”

Peter Whallon, freshman

“Ethan was a man who enjoyed teaching others about Jesus. One time at dinner, he was talking about Young Life with one of my other teammates and he said, “I love teaching high school kids about Jesus.” That’s when I knew that he was a true man of God and wanted to spread his word to the rest of the world.”

Reese Pustover, sophomore

“Ethan was the epitome of a Christ follower and a true example of how to live the Christ centered life. He loved Jesus with every drop of blood in his veins. He was on fire for the Gospel and wanted to share it with everyone he met. His eyes were never on himself, and his heart was bigger than his body. Ethan was very dear to us on this team and his story will not end with his transition from life to life. There was no better candidate for Heaven than Ethan Roser.”

Chad Miller, freshman

“Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Ethan Roser truly embodied the “kingdom in our midst” by living his life; eyes fixed on eternity. He brought Jesus and his love to everyone who experienced him.”

Ayo Agunbiade, sophomore

“Ethan Roser: A man of great wisdom yet young age. A true example of a strong man of God who constantly embodies Christ-like love and thirst for the truth. He reminds me of Timothy, full of joy and conviction as well as an unbelievable amount of humility. He was completely selfless and loving, always putting others before himself. If I had to describe Ethan in one phrase it would be “Here am I, send me!”

Kolby Versage, junior

“Ethan was uncommon. He lived a life of faith that was unique to someone who had an intimate love for Jesus. He spent so much of his free time pouring into others, selflessly giving, and reaching the unreached. God will redeem Ethan’s death, and I believe He will move in incredible ways, according to his will. We miss Ethan so much. He was loved dearly by his brothers on the soccer time, and I am honored to have served him as a captain, even if only for 15 weeks.”

Josh Greene, senior

“I got to spend Ethan’s last dinner with him; he talked a lot about his summer plans, his training, his ministry. I don’t think he wanted to train for his own ambitions so much as to be able to stay on the team and push the other guys. He was the sort of archetypal teammate, where you knew he was working and would do everything in his power to lift you up when you couldn’t push through, and he certainly embraced that role.”

Sean Dunlop, freshman

“Ethan was a privilege to live with. Anytime I was struggling with something I knew I could come to him with it. His laugh was so unique you could know in an instant when he was on the floor, and I don’t think there has ever been a day that he didn’t laugh. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the semester with anyone else.”

Kyle Shoemaker, sophomore

“There’s not really words that are sufficient  to describe the man that Ethan was, but here is my best attempt to do so.  Ethan was an incredible man of God, and this was evident by how he lived his life. My roommate, Andrew Wade and I often discuss what we want guys to be like on the Wheaton soccer team. We want them to love the Lord, walk faithfully in His ways, and to strive for greatness in everything they do. After our first practice with Ethan, we both came to the same simple conclusion: “He’s a Wheaton guy.” Ethan lived up to and surpassed this self-made ideal for Wheaton soccer players in just about every area of life. He loved others well, lived to share the gospel, and dedicated his life to the Lord. I strive to be more like Ethan every day, and I hope all who read this will do the same. It was an honor to be with Ethan in his last moments, which were blissful, lovely, happy moments for all involved. I love you, Ethan, and you will be missed.”

Elliot Paul, sophomore

“My first interaction with Ethan was walking with him to the BGC. He was telling me about his Evangelism class and how much he enjoyed it. Through this short interaction with Ethan, it was clear to me that he had both a passion for and an identity in Christ. Although I am a senior and have not been around much this spring, it is clear to me that in a short time, Ethan also brought a sense of purpose and identity to the team. This sense of purpose and identity will live on.”

Ben Bakke, senior

“Here is my best attempt at Ethan: In one semester, the cord of Ethan’s life was woven so tightly into the fabric of our lives on the team that we are forever different, forever blessed because of him.  When we lost Ethan we lost a wonderfully complex combination of a man: on one hand, he was gentle, thoughtful and caring. I will not soon forget the note he wrote to me and my wife during a difficult hour of our lives. He was a brilliant listener and extremely teachable. On the other hand, he was tough, persistent, and focused. He was resolute in his drive to understand the scriptures better. He told me when he was looking at Wheaton: “God wants me at Wheaton.” He was laser shape in his purpose, which was simply this: to know Jesus Christ and walk with Him. And anyone who knew Ethan would agree that he was so full of Jesus Christ that He spilled out of Ethan with every step he took. We are extremely sad and we miss him dearly.”

Jake DeClute, Head Coach

“As a senior on the team Ethan came in and I wanted him to feel welcomed. The couple of times he was at my apartment and every time I saw him at practice, in Saga or around school he always had such a joyous smile on his face. Truly a special young man with an infectious smile that was able to change this team while he was here and will continue to do so in the time to come.”

Chad Swieca, senior

“I remember that Ethan and I would always try and find the perfect handshake. We would try one, but it would be too long. And then we would try another one, and it would be too short. Or it would be too awkward. And every time we saw each other we would try a different hand shake, trying to find the “one.”

Miseker Wingate, freshman

“Ethan was the kind of player that everyone wants on their team. Every day I saw him he always looked full of joy. During training, Ethan always worked very hard, and was probably the most coachable player on the team, which is something I respected the most about him. He never complained, never talked bad about anyone, and showed so much love and care for his teammates. I was told that Ethan wanted to spread his love for Jesus to as many people as possible. Although he couldn’t do so himself, it is evident that God is still using Ethan and his strong faith to reach people in another way. With articles already on ESPN, CNN, and other national media, his story and love for God is being shared to millions.”

Drew Shay, junior

Glenbard West Young Life Team:
“Ethan was kind, joyful and all he desired for was people to know the Lord. He dreamed of becoming a minister, and although his time was short, he fulfilled his dream. He showed the love of Jesus to everyone he met. He ministered to his Young Life freshman guys and led them to love the Lord more deeply and fully. When struggling with the loss of our dear friend, one of his guys said that Ethan showed him the love of Jesus and as hard as this all is, he knows that Jesus loves him. It was an honor to be his friend and his co-laborer in Christ. He will be sorely missed, but Ethan Roser’s love for the Lord will live on.”

Michael Bloss, sophomore

“There are countless memories Ethan and I shared. It’s really the simple things that I can most distinctly remember and treasure. Things like playing video games until 1 a.m. and waking up my roommates because Ethan would be laughing so hard at the thrill of it all. Sometimes we would be in my room working on stuff and he would stop and go grab some random leftover food or coerce me into going to Los. Ethan and I had somewhat of a tradition where he would get a vendetta mask on, and I would lay in the elevator or the staircase pretending to be unconscious. We would strategically set it up to where someone would either call the elevator or open a door and see my laying there and they would be startled and go to help me, and then he would pop out of nowhere and scare them. It was awesome. He and I would quickly laugh our heads off and then apologize and give them a hug. As borderline as that prank might have been, he and loved doing that to blow off some steam.”

Jeremiah Clarkson, freshman

“His visions, passion and boldness through Young Life served as one of the biggest testaments to his faith as well as God’s goodness in our lives. In his short time here, Ethan made a huge impact not only on campus but with our team and his Young Life guys. He will be remembered as a kid who’s heart was so evidently on fire for Jesus as he made it his mission for everyone to know Him as well.”

Maggie Dansdill, junior

“The thing about Ethan was I would always find myself learning from him. The moment he joined our Young Life team, he was coming up with incredible ideas and all were backed so solidly by his faith. You could tell that everything he did was driven by his love for Jesus. He loved others incredibly well and was always down to have fun and spend time in community, I’m really going to miss him.”

Taryn Larson, junior

“Finding one single sentence to encompass who he was is difficult but Ethan truly lived for Jesus. He will always inspire me to seek Jesus in everything. He loved his young life guys and poured his heart and soul into the ministry. He embraced his freshmen as brothers and loved them with a Christ-like love. It was truly incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it. His genuine pursuit of Jesus was inspiring. Our young life team won’t be the same.”

Nicole Kitchen, junior

Ethan’s Application for Work Crew at Young Life Camp:
Briefly describe your relationship with Jesus Christ – your beginning with Him and your current relationship.
“I grew up on the mission field in Zimbabwe, Africa. Like most pastors’ kids, in a sense I understood why we were there and what we should do with our lives, but it hadn’t truly taken root inside of me yet. Even though I grew up in such a rich evangelical environment, my knowledge about God was not directly translated into a knowledge of him. As Ji Packer so elegantly puts it in the book Knowing God, “What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlines it – the fact that he knows me” and it wasn’t until my junior year that I really began to understand what that means.
During the fourth game of our soccer season, I went down with an injury. I would be on the sideline for the next nine months, away from the game I loved. But it was during this time my eyes were opened to what was really happening in my life. When soccer was taken away from me, it gave a chance to focus on what should have been at the center of my life all that time. God really took a hold in my life in a way I had never experienced before. My whole life, I had thought that I had a relationship with God, but it was during this time I learned to rely on Him more, and the more I relied on him, the more I began to know Him.
Before this, all I thought He had really gifted me with was my ability to play soccer, but at Young Life, I started to see the gifting He had given me in other areas. I started to notice that I understood the Bible in a way most others didn’t, and I could articulate on the things it said and make connections between different passages that genuinely made me excited, and I started to notice that I actually had a passion for it. Going into ministry became the only thing that actually really made sense to do with my life, the only thing I could do that would have lasting effects, and the only thing to do that would completely glorify Him with my life.”

Ethan Roser, February 2016

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