Lord! We Want More!
It was smooth sailing for most of us heading to Germany, and as other participants began to arrive we finally met as an AIA team. Most of us were meeting for the first time and were not sure what to expect from each other or our German hosts. We quickly realized that the initial plans we had for our first week of camp would not come to fruition. Realizing this, it was imminent that we would really need to seek God, stay positive, and regroup regarding expectations and how this basketball ministry would unfold over the next couple weeks.
Our first week was to lead a camp near Frankfurt. We had partnered with an international church and Christian group called Youth Compass as camp hosts. This helped create opportunities to reach the community and local families long after we left. We had anticipated a good turn out for the camp, but were disappointed to find out only 6 registrations had come in. Our team prayer that first night was, “Lord! We want more!”. We didn’t hang our heads, but were instead determined to work with whatever the Lord provided. And as we showed up on Monday for the first day of camp there were 17 kids! Hallelujah! Tobi (our German translator) and myself prayed for more, we asked the Lord for 20 kids. On Wednesday, halfway through the camp, we had 21 kids! Hallelujah, this really encouraged us and built the faith of the young Canadian athletes on tour!
This tour was my first time leading a camp in all of my years playing basketball. I had an amazing time developing the Canadians, investing, loving, encouraging and especially inviting these kids into my life and allowing them to see the transformational work of Jesus Christ in me. We had the great privilege of sharing our stories and the gospel twice a day with the kids and really saw them open up to receive them. Many would go on to having deeper conversations with our team on an individual level, and that’s exactly what we wanted. We were encouraged by this response.
I got to invest in some children deeply, both spiritually and through the sport of basketball (Keiko, Linus, Zion, Julius and Miles). If any of you end up reading this, know that you have a special place in my heart. I pray that all of you will discover Jesus, experience his love and grace, and live to help others know Him as well. We wrapped up camp with pictures, memories, and lots to be thankful for!
The next week we were in a city about 300km away. Here we had expected to play 4 games against some official German club teams. Much to our surprise once again, things did not turn out as expected. The games we had previously lined up, did not pan out as hoped. Fortunately, we found a couple other amateur teams to play and so we were able to play a total of 3 games that week. As our athlete-missionaries experienced God answer our prayers, we really saw spiritual growth and a willingness to rely on the Holy Spirit. This is an essential element in growing men of faith.
This tour taught me that as much as we like to make our own plans, God directs our steps. We had many plans in place upon arriving. However, with the nature of foreign mission work, plans can fall through. Despite being discouraged at times, we sought to pray and be proactive with what God would do, and to trust the Lord that he could redeem events that fell through, and help each member grow in faith. We held onto Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. Following our tour, we have had a member of our tour (along with his wife) discuss further opportunities to serve in Germany for a year!
- Victor Dang, AIA Staff member and basketball tour participant