As the team bus pulled up to the stadium in Cagayan City, I started to get excited. I could see the hundreds of people jamming through the gates into a stadium already full of several thousands of basketball fans. We were going to play the All-State Selection Team of Cagayan and everyone wanted to see the game. It was the big event for the city and the radio stations and newspapers had been publicizing it heavily.
Being the player/coach on the team I waited to make sure all the guys and equipment made it through the crowds. I began to realize there were many people who wanted to desperately get in but either had no ticket or were too poor to buy one. I let the team go ahead and just watched the people.
Then I spotted a Filipino Christian I recognized. His ministry was with the deaf and dumb and he was standing on the outside of the crowd with 11 deaf and dumb students crowded around him holding hands to stay together.
“I asked if he was taking the students into the game”
I approached him and asked if he was taking the students into the game. They were, but their connection for tickets had fallen through and they had none. I told him to bring the students and at the gate I told the usher that they were my special guests and to please let them inside.
As each student passed me and entered the stadium I was especially touched to see their eyes communicating thankfulness and excitement. They also did some sign language that resembled asking for time-out in basketball but I have my doubts about my interpretation of their signs!
I have since attempted to arrange as many times as possible for our games to be free. That is why I enjoy the cement floored courts and outdoor games so much. The promoters can’t get away with charging for those games and everyone that wants to watch can.
It was a great feeling to be able to give those students something and see them so happy to receive it. My greatest joy though is giving the Gospel message and seeing people receive the gift of eternal life and the right to enter the Kingdom of God.
The only difference is many people don’t realize that it is such a fantastic gift. We need to explain it to them. What a valuable thing we have… the opportunity to give away our faith in Jesus Christ! When I play basketball with our Sports Ambassadors teams I give the people basketball and, more importantly, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Their joy of a basketball game is temporary. Their joy of knowing Jesus Christ is permanent!
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people…”Titus 2:11