Basketball Is Basketball

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                           June 25, 2013


On our second full day in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic one of the things that has become evident is that “basketball” is a universal language. As we teach it and play it with the people of Herrera, and we struggle to know the Spanish language, basketball is understood by all. When I played a game of three-on-three and got teamed up with two Dominicans we all understood “pick and roll” without saying a thing. We understood “give and go” without opening our mouths.

Basketball has therefore become a way of connecting when words fail us. It’s the bridge over the confusion.

The first two days of camp I have used fundamental skills and teachings of the game of basketball to proclaim the truth about God. Yesterday I used the perfect positioning of our hands on the basketball when we shoot it to talk about the perfect positioning that God’s hands have on our lives. Today I used an illustration about an impossible shot made possible to talk about how God can take something that in impossible for us to do and make it possible.

Basketball has become the filter to talk about the relational gospel. Tomorrow I will use another situation from the game of basketball to help me convey the truths of grace and forgiveness.

Herrera can be a depressing place to live in. We’ve seen some things here this week that none of us have ever seen before. The school we’re at, Grace School, is a beacon of hope in an area that many several years ago was rendered hopeless. Now the school is held in high regard by the community because the community has seen so many lives redirected and transformed.

One of the young guys who has been at basketball camp this week is named Christopher. His father is imprisoned right now, charged with a very serious crime. Christopher has been devastated by the loss of his dad in his daily life. His attendance at camp has been a time of happiness for him. Sydney Cunfer, a 15 year old exceptional young lady on our team, said to me last night, “We should pray with Christopher before we leave here.” I told her that we would look for that opportunity to happen.

Basketball has provided that opportunity to care, to connect, and be used by God to come alongside.

I’m learning so many lessons this week about my “middle-classism”, about how privileged, probably over-privileged, I am. That things I have come to expect are not necessities. That what I think is a need is really just a want.

I’m learning how to say certain Spanish words…and struggle in saying other words, but more about that tomorrow.

Praise the Lord for basketball, and the chance to talk in a same language with kids who we have come to love.

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Christianity, Faith, Grace, Jesus, love, Pastor, Prayer, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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