2018 End of Year Sports Ministry Update
This year was by far the most unique of the past four years. It has been extremely saddening to see how the country has fallen apart over the past 7 months. Fortunately, in Chichigalpa everything was “normal” in comparison to other parts of the country. Unfortunately, I do not foresee that being the case in 2019. The biggest, and in many respects the only, employer for the communities we work with has hired only half of the workers they usually hire for harvesting season. The sugar cane company in Chichigalpa usually provides many jobs for harvesting sugar cane, but the jobs are only for 6 months. How the people were able to make it with only 6 months of work remains a mystery to me, but now half of them, which represents thousands of people in a town that has around a 35,000 population, will not have any income for the whole year with no guarantees that the next harvesting season they will be rehired again. It is tough understanding the difficulties that will be presented to many solely based on where they were born, which they had no choice in. That brings me to what I would like to share. Matthew 25:14-30 is the parable of talents. A very familiar parable that I am sure most have heard several Sunday school teachings and sermons on.
There are various teachings that one could extract from this parable, but the one I see most vividly is that the talents represent, for lack of a better explanation, “our opportunities in life”. In the parable there are three people. If we think about a pie chart that encompasses every person in the world meaning we could say that the one who received only one talent is the “bottom 33%”, the person that received three is the “33 – 66%” and that the person who received the five is the “top 33%”. I can unequivocally say that regardless of your circumstances just by being born in the US puts you in the top 33% just based off sheer opportunities, resources, and potential one has. Once you factor in your economic status, whether you had a supportive parent(s), education, etc. the gap increases. So just think about that, you have it better off than over 66% of the world and if you are a middle-class American citizen, I would say its probably closer to 80% of the world. So, what do we do with that? Do we prop out our chests and say, “Stinks for the rest of y’all, but I am going to maximize my personal life to the fullest.” Which is exactly what we are indirectly fed from a little kid, the American dream. One of the most powerful Scriptures for me is Philippians 2:3-8,
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
I hope that the sheer power of that brings you in awe of Jesus. One day we will have better context of what it was that Jesus exactly did when He left heaven. But could you imagine being a king in paradise and then being told you have to go live behind a dumpster for thirty years? That is probably the best “human” example I could use to put into context what Jesus did. But this gives us no foot to stand on when we talk about not wanting to sacrifice certain things. The example Jesus gave is unattainable. So that brings me back the talents. We have no excuse or argument, each one of us have been given 5 talents in this life, and Luke 12:48 says, “who has been given much, much will be DEMANDED.” Linda Gable, one of the founders of New Song, said one thing that will always stick with me. She said, “I just want to bring something to Jesus when I die.” If we take our lives as an example of the talents, we are expected to go and multiply those talents.
I know this would be a good place to transition into end of year giving for our baseball ministry, but for some people giving money is easier to do than to give of something else. That may be time, themselves, a certain area of their life, etc. What I desire and want to convey is that there is always more that we can give and sacrifice. Jesus set the ultimate example that we could never surpass, and we have been given way more than a LARGE majority of the world. What are you doing with your five talents?
In saying that, I want to first and foremost again thank all of you who have given throughout the years. We are so grateful for every donation. We are in a good place as far as equipment goes, but of course could always use bigger gloves. Our main need is to be able to fund our league. Even as frustrating as it can be dealing with “little things” for the league, it is always humbling and rewarding to hear the kids talk about the games. It is a treat to hear kids reminisce on past games. I do not know if their memories aid them in school, but the kids will talk about specific situations in games dating back to our FIRST year. It is amazing to know that we are truly giving these kids memories that will last a life time and hopefully something that will be a stalwart in their communities for years to come. Most importantly, my prayer is that through the weekly Bible memory verses and devotions that the Holy Spirit will work on these kid’s hearts. Last year we focused on getting them to try to understand that they can not earn salvation, what Jesus did was a onetime act and that only through faith in Him is one saved. Sponsoring one of our teams provides the team of 11-12 kids with complete uniforms, transportation to the fields (for the communities that are not within walking distance), umpires, and baseballs. Also, this year we hope to construct an enclosed batting cage to be able to spend more one on one time discipling kids during even the hottest points of the day. We ask that you prayerfully consider being apart of the ministry financially and being an active part in Kingdom building by one of the following:
- Sponsoring one of our expected 18 teams at $750 per team
- An enclosed batting cage – $10,000
- Missionary Support – $14,400
You may make a donation by going to http://newsongnica.org/give/
Click on the donate and be sure to memo Baseball when you make your donation. Thank you all so much for your support. May God bless you and yours. Merry Christmas!