MISSION STORY from Gabon
More Than Just a Game, Part 2
The football field is my mission field.
In last week’s story, Ndubuisi had been praying that God would show him how to reach out to the many non-Christian youth on Babcock University’s campus and in their surrounding community. This week he shares how the football field became his mission field.
When I was asked to coach the campus football team, it seemed like a match made in heaven. I love football, and I love outreach. But I was a little nervous about coaching this group. I’d heard it included a few rough guys from town, and I was worried that they might not listen to me.
“We Don’t Play Ball”
After a little more prayer, I decided to give it a try. I started every training session with prayer and a short worship. Since about half the guys on our team weren’t Adventists, I explained to them why we wouldn’t be playing on Friday night and Saturday. When other teams wanted to schedule a match on Sabbath, I told them, “Saturday is for the Lord. We don’t play ball.” Many people who’d never heard of Babcock University have learned about the Sabbath through our team. For us, the football field is a mission field where we show people God’s love.
To my delight, I found most of the guys cooperative and receptive to what I shared about Jesus. Their rough edges began to soften. They were showing sympathy to each other and sharing with one another. Most of them stopped using foul language, and the ones who had money were buying uniforms for those who couldn’t afford them.
There’s one child I firmly believe God sent to play on our team. His name is Jamiyu. I noticed two things about this boy: he never missed a practice and he never said a word to anyone. He worked hard at football, but he had much to learn.
One day I called Jamiyu over and asked how he was doing. “Fine,” he responded quietly. I prodded him gently about his family, and slowly his story unfolded.
A Struggle to Survive
“My dad died recently, and when that happened, my mother took my siblings and left.”
I was incredulous. “She left you alone to fend for yourself?” He nodded, his averted eyes glistening with tears. Jamiyu had to drop out of public school and find lodging with a friend. Every day was a struggle to survive.
The only thing Jamiyu enjoyed was playing football. But that was enough for me. I took him under my wing, helping him train more efficiently and providing him with food and clothing. When he got a job at a laundry service, I helped him open a bank account so he could save money to go back to school.
I told Jamiyu that Jesus loved him and that I loved him too. And when I asked whether he’d like to learn more about Jesus at our Adventist Youth Ministry (AYM) programs, he eagerly accepted my invitation.
Jamiyu is thinking about becoming a follower of Jesus. I’m so happy that Jesus used my two passions to show this child His love.
Getting Bigger All the Time
The respect I received from my football team boosted my confidence in sharing Christ. I decided to join AYM so that I could participate in their outreach to the youth in town. It’s been so rewarding. These young people want to join us for Sabbath worship and our AYM programs. We’re thrilled, but we have a big problem.
We don’t have a building on campus large enough for our youth to meet together. We’ve been dividing up into small classrooms, but we’re growing so fast we no longer fit!
The Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help us build a youth center so that we can more fully reach our non-Adventist youth on campus and in our community. Please generously support this project and pray that God will give us wisdom and passion for sharing the good news of Christ’s love and soon return. Thank you!