Monday, January 10, 2011

sports evangelism

Abraham and I learned a lot during the three day conference in Mexico City which was about how to use sports for evangelism.  Another missionary had invited us to the conference, although he did not have much information when he invited us, so we were not sure what the conference would be like.  What a blessing it turned out to be.

We drove to Mexico City with three other missionaries from Puebla, arriving Tuesday evening.  The pastor of the host church, Rod Fry, had organized housing for all the people attending the conference, and Abraham and I were assigned to stay with a young lady from Mexico City and another young lady from Arkansas.  The funny thing when we first went to their house is that we had actually met the missionary from Arkansas before when we helped with the camp in Queretero over the summer.

Wednesday morning we joined people from many local churches for the training, presented by a team of five from the ministry Uncharted Waters.  Throughout the morning, the team presented the reasons for using sports for evangelism and also presented other related information.  We participated in discussions and took notes in the manual that the UW team had provided.

In the afternoon, the team taught us some drills for soccer and some for basketball to prepare us for the camp that would begin at four and end at six.  They also explained the schedule for the event and told us how we could help when the kids arrived.

After lunch, Abraham and I set out with David, one of the members of the local church, to invite kids to the camp.  We had not gotten very far when we passed a group of people in loud, aggressive argument.  A young man was pulling on a young woman while her friend tried to separate them.  The young lady's mother was shouting at them all and then desperately appealed to us for help.

She told us that the young man was trying to take her pregnant daughter back to live with him, and that he had hit them both that morning.  The man vigorously denied what she said, and the insults and shouting continued.  Abraham and David stayed to help while I went to look for the church's pastor.  He was leaving, but his wife returned with me.  When we arrived, the situation was much calmer, and Abraham was talking quietly with Yair, the young man, and Karla, the young woman.  After some time, they both agreed to seek counseling with pastor Rod Fry and his wife Myra.  Please keep them in your prayers.

Other groups had gone into the neighborhood to invite children, so we returned during the opening explanation of the day's theme and the accompanying sports story.  After the story, the group divided into those who wanted to learn more soccer and those who preferred basketball.  Abraham went with the soccer group and I went with basketball, so that we could learn drills for both.  The skill drills lasted for about half an hour, and then we broke into smaller teams so that one of us could share a personal story that fit the day's theme.  After a water break, we regrouped for more skill drills and then everybody came together for a Bible story that also fit the theme.

Each of the three days had roughly the same schedule.  On the second day, the team from the States asked us to take over with some of the stories in the afternoon, and on Friday, the team stepped back to allow the local church people to take over all the teaching, sports drills and all.  On the final day, two ladies from the church used the evangecube to share with the children how they could accept Jesus into their lives.  Several children raised their hands after the presentation, indicating their desire to accept him.

Abraham and I believe that the tools from Uncharted Waters can be valuable out in Huejotzingo.  One of the other Puebla missionaries plans to partner with UW to continue sports ministry around the city, and he already asked the team to return in July to do a camp in Huejotzingo.  This, and other camps that we will organize, will be an excellent chance to share the gospel with people who would otherwise never even talk to us.  Please be praying in advance for this opportunity as you also pray for our continuing involvement there.

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