For security reasons, neither the real name of the Temple college student nor his specific place of service is used in this account of summer mission work. He will be referred to as SG (not his real initials) and the site as east Asia.
Wanting to win games is a natural desire for athletes. For those who serve in sports ministry, however, winning games becomes secondary to winning people to Jesus Christ. SG is a college student who served in sports in east Asia in the summer of 2018.
God reinforced SG’s decision by prompting his best friend to join in the effort and by providing an internship with a sports company. Once he was with the company, SG found himself surrounded by others who he said were “passionate and effective in ministry.” They welcomed the two newcomers as enhancements to the existing ministry.
Basketball camps provided opportunities for SG to meet and develop relationships with believers and non-believers. Participation in football, soccer, Frisbee fun and other activities went beyond the official camp schedule to build new friendships and witness to those new friends. “After we developed a relationship with them, we would share our testimony little by little,” SG said, “in hopes of painting a clear picture of the amazing God we serve! It wasn’t long before they were the ones asking us all the questions. We could see God clearly moving in their hearts.” During their third week on site, one of the new friends accepted Christ.
The university’s summer break brought a change in focus for SG and his friend. With no students to minister to, they traveled to work with an unreached people group in what SG described as “a very dark place. The people were friendly but, SG said, “few had ever met a Christian, let alone heard the Gospel.” Working with a couple of more experienced Christians, they became involved with local residents through activities such as biking, eating, playing ball and riding yaks. “God opened multiple doors,” SG said, “for us to share the gospel and develop connections for potential future evangelism in that area.”
SG learned some lessons himself as he ministered. “One thing God taught me early in the trip,” he said, “was that it was never up to us whether students entered a relationship with Jesus to begin with. We were/are called to share …” He also learned that even an injury can be beneficial. A dislocated ankle two weeks before the end of the trip left SG sidelined during ball games. However, that inability to play gave him time to share his witness with high school students who attended the games.