Did You Win Your Games In France?
Many of you have been asking how we did in our basketball games while on mission to France. Our official record was 5 wins and 1 loss, but one of our games was not counted in this statistic because it was officially called a scrimmage. For many years, our guide and spiritual leader from France, Gerard Lanniee had prayed about the possibility of an American team of Christian players coming to France and competing at the very highest level of competition. After racking up two lopsided wins, we ventured to one of the most prestigious teams in all of France, Paris Levellois_Perret. Levellois (pronounced, Leva Lu ah) is the team that Tony Parker played for when he was drafted by the Spurs and they are loaded with many talented players.
Coach Jean Marc Dupraz became a believer many years ago when his American teammate, Michael Young of Houston shared the Gospel with him. Today, Jean Marc is one of the most respected coaches among all of the French National teams. Gerard’s dream was coming true and as the scrimmage began, the bigger, younger French team took command. Our own Michael (Watson in this case) hit two big threes back to back just before the end of the first 15 minutes and it was obvious that our team could hold its own against this formidable group of players from Paris. After, 30 minutes of play, our team was leading by two points and filled with confidence. At the 40 minute mark we were behind by a basket and looked forward to a final 10 minute period. Coach Dupraz felt his team had gotten in their intended workout and called the competition right there.
Gerard was in tears of joy that he had finally seen this event take place and our players not only faired well from a competitive standpoint, but when we invited all of their coaches and team to pray with us, every member of their team joined us. Long after the last whistle had blown, there were still players standing around talking about both basketball and their faith in Jesus Christ. Coach Dupraz was surprised at how competitive our players were and also how open and refreshing it was to see them share their faith with his players. There are not a lot of openly Christian athletes in France. In fact, there are not a lot openly Christian witnesses in all walks of life in France. For the 18 members of Levellois’s team, they have seen an example of how you don’t need to be ashamed to share your faith in public. Will you pray for this team and for all of those believers who need our encouragement to be more open about their faith?
Romans 1:16-17 (RSV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.”
Monday Morning Message Sent 10/12/09
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