The youth minister at our church invited Pat and I to attend an Upward Basketball mission trip to New York City. The clinic was held in the Bronx so we traveled fifty-five minutes each morning on the subway to a park where only three basketball goals stood.
This program is designed to teach the basic concepts of
basketball and the theme that “God is love.” We used the tool of a basketball as a tool to teach about Jesus. Each day we read and shared devotions based on Mark 12:30, “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. THIS IS THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.” We added other verses as well as John 3:16, and we really stressed John 3:16. Only one young man could recite John 3:16, and we asked him numerous times to do so.
We averaged forty kids a day at our clinic. Only a hand full came every day. Those who came received an Upward basketball T-shirt, a pen, a watch that chimes at 3:16, a basketball, and the good news that “God is love.” We could see their mistrust and chip-on-their shoulders disappearing by Friday. Some of the campers actually had parents show up. It was a real treat to get acquainted with these parents. Pat bonded with them, and they loved talking to him. They echoed “awes” as they learned we had traveled from New Mexico to New York to teach them about Jesus.
As I said, only one small boy could recite John 3:16. There
were perhaps two that had heard about Jesus and what Jesus has
done for all of us...died on the cross to save us from our sins. Most of them were not even aware of the word sin. They received us well, and they thanked us for caring enough to come all the way from New Mexico’s deserts to teach them about Jesus. We had thirty-one decisions for Christ.
Our group felt we flew into New York on the Rev. Billy Graham’s groundwork. He planted the seed. We misted. We watered. Just like Paul tells us in I Corinthians 3:6, “I PLANTED, APOLLOS WATERED, BUT GOD GAVE THE INCREASE,” we felt that was our standing.
We gave tracks out on the subway and had the privilege of sharing God’s word and love with a few that rode. We were told September 11, was an opening for Jesus to be discussed as openly as we discussed Him. Ground Zero haunts the residents of this
metropolitan area and they are hungry for something to bring them peace. It has allowed prayer throughout the city. I remembered what we all say in times of a crisis, “Something good comes from something bad.” I was glad to hear they became aware of a higher power and are curious about this power.
Upward stayed in New York until August of the 2005 summer. New camps came and were ran by people from Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
We met some incredible people. The Rev. Graham’s seeds are still being watered. We took the Acts l:8 challenge.
We took a trip to New York State
with God as guide, we accepted this date.
We flew up there on Rev. Graham’s aftermath
to water his seed, help them on a new path,
so they could become a part of God’s remnant and know God is love.
there are 582 words in this story
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