Spain Update #4 June 25, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
And so it begins….the opening day of the clinics for both the towns of Santa Ursula and La Victoria. The day began at a place somewhere in the town of Santa Ursula, which we have designated as the “prayer place.” This year, it is a vista not far from the city plaza that overlooks the town below and to the coast and sea. A quite place it is and a good place to meet with God prior to beginning work for Him. A challenge was brought to the group from 1 Peter 2:9 to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into light. As we start to run the clinics and interact with those who will participate, we were challenged and encouraged to proclaim how excellent our great God is.
The morning clinic located in the town of Santa Ursula is home to our host church. Being the second year we are allowed to use the gym and facilities of the town was a very exciting and encouraging thing for our host church. Starting this clinic with 48 kids was a wonderful thing to see since the last day of last year’s clinic was less than that. The growth of the clinic was another blessing from the Lord and confirmation from Him that He is a part of what we are doing. The clinic had children ranging from the ages of 5-14 and presented a few challenges when it came time to play full-court games. Through the wisdom and experience of the Push the Rock team members, we were able to handle the younger children by giving them a great experience the first day. As is most times, the children’s favorite skills to work on were shooting and defense.
Another fabulous lunch awaited the team after the morning clinic. With full stomachs we began another time in praise and worship together as a team. Singing songs of praise and hearing what God is doing in the lives of people can be an emotional time as we share our inner being and ourselves with God and with each other. This time was no exception and God was honored as we gave Him His due praise and heard about His movement in the lives of team members.
A quick car ride to east found us in the neighboring town on La Victoria where the kids were already starting to gather. With 61 kids, the clinic got underway and the coaches worked hard to teach some groups new skills while developing the skills of current athletes in other groups. The large turnout also signified that God is still interested in using basketball to share His love and His principles found in His Word in this town. There were many repeat faces and some new ones who joined the group. Missing were a few who we have had our eyes on as they have been at our clinics in years past and whom the Lord could call to respond to His gospel. This clinic also had a wide age range with kids as young as 5 all the way to 16. Some kids even came from a neighboring town to participate in the clinic. The coaches had multiple opportunities to demonstrate the characteristics of God in both how they coached and what they shared with the group. Both clinics (morning and afternoon) had a coach share about how the player is more important than the points – meaning that the relationships you have with various people in a game (the opponents, the refs, the coach, the teammates, etc.) are more important that the score. Knowing this helps players see the value in playing in a way that honors God and gives Him praise.
Later in the evening, the men went to play with some locals who play pick-up games Monday nights in the gym where we have clinics. The women filled the stands to watch and support the men as they played. Although not a formal game, the Push the Rock team stayed together as they played a bunch of full court games against the locals. There was one team that had two players that sometime chose to play a little outside the rules. Rather than getting mad and demanding that fouls be called, the Push the Rock team played with great character and integrity. God blessed their efforts and kept them safe during a time when the potential for injury was high. It was exciting to hear that one of the players on another team commented to missionary Nathan, “The guys on your team ask for forgiveness when they foul. We don’t.” In less than an hour, and using a man-made game, God choose to point out a simple truth: people need to ask for forgiveness. Our prayer is that the testimony displayed tonight will spark a fire of questions to the missionaries and believers who come in contact with these same men who they see every week. May God’s Holy Spirit move and draw many to Him because we have been faithful to His calling.
Grateful to be counted among the redeemed,
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