During our last meal together in Myanmar, the Spanish team and I debriefed the mission. Dan Fernandez of Athletes in Action Spain has led the team each of the four years, plus leading training last November for the coaches in Myanmar. He marveled at the ways God worked in our midst. A near palpable peace and joy surrounded all of us during the matches (8 each day). In the evenings, all players gathered for awards (Man of the Match trophies and shirts), silly songs, laughter and a marked increase in hunger to hear spiritual truth through music, testimony and short preaching by Pastor David.
On Good Friday evening, our last night together, Pastor David shared that this was an important day to Christians. He went on to say he was usually with his own church preaching about what happened to Jesus on this day. Did they want him to tell them what happened to Jesus on this day? There was a resounding "yes" from the 150 young men there.
David shared for about 15 minutes about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. You could have heard a pin drop. I prayed silently, knowing these words of truth were entering hearts all over the room with power. We had set up a table with many copies of the Evangelistic Burmese Bible and Jesus Film DVDs. They were invited to pick up a Bible or Jesus Film as we closed the evening if they had a interest, no pressure. Many moved quickly to take these items. It was holy ground.
Fellowship shared during football matches brought down barriers, connected towns and villages and ushered in an atmosphere where Pastor David sowed seeds of eternal life into hungry hearts. God's Word will not return void. It will produce a harvest!
Thank you for praying for us and for giving sacrificially to sponsor players for the challenge cup. The local coaches will continue to follow up and share the love of Jesus throughout the year. What a privilege to have a small part in what God is doing to bring people to Himself in Myanmar through sport. Thank you, Firefall partners!
Eagles Team: physical, relational & spiritual hunger met
We had six training sessions and two meals with the Eagles Boys Team while in Myanmar. As I watched the Spaniards interact with the boys from poor Buddhist and Muslim homes, I could not tell who was enjoying the time more…the Spanish team, I think! These athletes are masterful at using football to demonstrate physical affection, teach boundaries, respect and discipline, impart character traits and just show these little boys they are worthy of time and attention because they are created and loved by God. By the end of the first training session, they had given nicknames to each player which stuck with them throughout the week, to their delight.
Pastor David invited the boys to attend all aspects of the football challenge, even the night meetings. They sang, laughed and soaked in words of life that were shared. We saw many of them leave with a Bible clutched in their hands to take home. There will be follow-up for them during their weekly meetings with the House of Glory coaches.
As we said our goodbyes after the last noodle shop meal together, there were tears wiped away from the eyes of both the Eagles boys and the Spanish team. The bonds of love formed on a mission like this are unforgettable and life-changing. Thank you for making this time possible through your love, prayers and giving. I pray these boys will always remember the demonstrated love of Jesus they tasted during these very wonderful days we had together.
Check back over the next few weeks (we'll email subscribers, too) to read more about our Reading Room updates and how God is expanding its influence in the community. Also, what came of Nancy's lunch with visionary women leaders.