Better Luck Next Year!
My first overseas mission coaching assignment was in basketball against a Prep School team in Mombasa, Kenya. The boy’s team was coached by a female French teacher who had a better knowledge of French than basketball. As we warmed up, our kids naturally were looking over their shoulders to scout our opponents. They were disorganized at the least and did not exhibit many basketball skills during their warm-ups. Our players walked over to their team and introduced themselves and wished them well. They indicated that their best player hadn’t arrived yet but they told us to watch out when Oliver gets on the floor!
Sure enough, Oliver did arrive and he could dunk and he was very cool. No doubt the best athlete on either team, but few of his basketball skills were very well developed. My first coaching move was to call time out half way thru the first quarter and the score 18 to 0 in our favor. I remembered the training time I had spent talking about how hard it can be to share your witness when you are either winning to easily or your team is getting blown off of the floor. My expert advice was to not contest passes and do not block any more shots for the rest of the game. When the final score was 65 to 22 in our favor, the other team realized it could have been much worse than that. We split up their team and had another game after the official game with all the players playing on a more balanced team. Oliver fell in love with our team and started following us all around Mombasa as we played against other schools.
He heard us share the Gospel at each of these venues and he watched us as we broke into small groups and talked about our faith. He visited us at our hotel and established a friendship with several of our players. We asked him if he was ready to invite Christ into his life, but he said he wasn’t quite ready. As close to a hundred other kids had indicated they wanted to know Christ during our stay there, Oliver watched them all and spent time with us. On the last day we were there, we talked with Oliver one more time about whether he was ready to start a relationship with Jesus. He was still not quite ready.
He was a junior in high school then and we were so blessed by this time by the way God had used us on this trip that we were planning on returning the next year. Our trip took place in June, 2001. As you know the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place a few weeks later. Just one year later, terrorists blew up a hotel within a few miles of where we were ministering in Kenya. That door to Mombasa, Kenya was not open for the next several years and we could not return there with a large team. As we all had to learn, God does not always keep the doors open to every ministry need all the time. Won’t you pray for Oliver just as we do every night, trusting that someone has come along since we were there and shared the truth of the Gospel with him and that he has accepted it?
Revelation 3:20 (RSV) “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.”
Monday Morning Message Sent 7/27/09
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