JULY 10, 2006
€œWhat Is That In Your Hand?
Moses expressed doubts about how the Lord could use him. The Lord responded by asking, “What is that in your hand?â€? Moses said “A staff.â€? The Lord used that to help deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 4:1-2). The Lord never asks us to do things beyond the gifts he has given us. He often works through areas of special interest and talent.
Matt Bassett teaches sports and conditioning to young people. He wants to serve the Lord. The Lord said, “What is that in your hand?â€? Matt answered, “A baseball bat.â€? Here’s Matt’s testimony of how the Lord used his baseball bat (and soccer balls and catcher’s mitts, and frisbees) just this past Sunday.
– Pastor George Van Alstine
This Sunday was a great opportunity for ABC to hear about Gene Siwak (Evangelical Spanish Missions) and the work that he is doing in Nicaragua. This is the second year that ABC has been asked to donate baseball equipment for a sports ministry that has been started there. Gene has used the baseball ministry as a way to reach out to the youth of Nicaragua. They ask the players to come to team meets and Bible studies where they talk about God and his son, Jesus.
I’ve been excited to help with this ministry because of my lifetime passion for baseball and my work in church outreach. I’ve personally felt that it’s really easy to call or email people about donating baseball equipment. We have been blessed by so many people willing to donate used equipment or buy new equipment for this ministry. In fact, I have not heard the word “No” too many times when requesting equipment.
Amy and I started collecting equipment at Grace Church in Glendora a few months back. I was able to meet the sports ministry director through a mutual friend at work who goes to Grace. The director opened up his equipment room to us and told us we could take anything that was in a certain box. After taking out soccer equipment, T-ball equipment, various uniforms and Frisbees, we loaded my car full of items to take home. We had so much equipment that we were able to send some of it with the Ghana team to take for children in Africa.
Last week, Amy and I went to West Covina to pick up some baseball equipment from their Little League program. We were directed to them through a parent of one of my students at the school where I work. We met a coach who has 2 sons who attend my school. He was willing to take 10 minutes away from his team, right before their playoff game began, to get us the equipment that we were looking for.
In addition to these two donations, I’ve had ABC members come up to me and ask what they could contribute. One member asked if she could donate money to buy baseballs (a big need), while another couple went out and bought a complete set of catcher’s gear (another huge need). We’ve also had a few pieces of equipment that multiple people had stored in their garages. The most exciting part, in my opinion, was what happened Sunday.
I was very excited to participate in the Mission’s Moment at the worship Service. Gene Siwak talked to the congregation about what he was doing, or what God was doing, in Nicaragua. To hear in his own words about the exciting things that are happening in this ministry was special. Having people pray over the equipment was something that we wanted to do, so we came up with the idea of handing bats and balls and other items out to people in the congregation and allowing them to touch an item that God would be using in Nicaragua. I wasn’t sure how it went, but after the service I had a few people tell me that they really enjoyed it and that the hands on part was meaningful. To me, the least we could do was to pray. Prayer goes a lot further than we know.
After the service while I was starting to clean up, a couple came over whom I didn’t recognize. I found out that they had some baseball equipment at home that they wanted to donate. They realized that it could be used for a greater purpose than sitting in the garage. We made arrangements to meet later in the afternoon.
When they came to my house I was able to talk with them about the history we had with Gene. I found out that this was the first Sunday they had ever visited ABC. I wondered how they knew of ABC, and they told me that they had driven past ABC numerous times, but never had gotten around to visiting. They have been in the process of looking for a church that they could call home, a church they could get involved with. At this point I started to get chills as I knew God was definitely at work in this situation.
The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways!!!
God had brought this Christian couple to ABC for the first time on the exact weekend that we were talking about the baseball ministry. God needed them to come so that he could use their equipment in Nicaragua, to reach out from ABC to the kids and families half way around the world. He also wanted this to be an introduction to a couple who were looking for something more in their church. Maybe this was the way for them to instantly connect with a church and feel the “family” that Amy and I have come to know at ABC. It’s amazing how God has used the two of us to collect baseball equipment and at the same time introduce a new couple to the ABC family.
I hope next weekend that I get to see this couple again. I’m excited to hear more about their lives and how God brought them to us this weekend for the first time. Even if they don’t come back, I’ll always remember this as an example of how God works in multiple ways for his word to spread throughout the earth.
– Matt Bassett
Messenger Note From Ghana:
Twenty eight hours after leaving the Altadena Baptist Church parking lot, the ABC team arrived in the home of Pastor Joseph and Florence Mante, in Accra, Ghana. We were warmly greeted, fed a delicious meal, and shown to our sleeping quarters in the Trinity Theological Seminary dorm rooms (each room for two equipped with its own bathroom and shower).
Saturday was spent acclimatizing. We took a bus tour of Ghana, and got a good dose of sweat in the afternoon sun, walking through a local market.
Our devotional verse for this morning came from Phil. 4:19– “My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory.” This verse has really captured our experience so far. We have been thanking God for his great blessing on our group. We had no problems in travel, in fact, we were shown preferential treatment in the Ghana airport, getting through customs on a fast track. We are so well taken care of that we have had no physical needs here, and anticipate more of the same. Transportation, lodging, food, etc. have all been abundantly provided by the Mantes, hospitality that is greatly appreciated by the dozen ABCers on this trip.
Sunday we will travel a couple of hours to a church service a ways from the capital city and then continue to Kumasi, where we will spend the week. Our schedule for the week involves work at the school in the mornings, visits in the afternoons to a cultural center, to an Ashanti King’s Palace, and to the weaving and carving centers. We will spend one day visiting World Vision projects. Then it’s back to Accra next weekend, a visit to the slave castle at El Mina on Monday, and an eco-tour on Tuesday. So we look forward to filling our eyes, ears, and hearts with as much of Ghana as we can.
Thank you all for your prayers for our group.
– Pastor Connie (e-mailed Saturday, July 8, 2006)