Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Basketball in Guanabano

One of my favorite nights in the Dominican Republic was Friday night. That was the night our team split up to take advantage of two ministry opportunities.

Most of the team went to church in Hoya Grande and they told us it was an awesome service with several students stepping up in big ways.

Six members of our team, and one translator, went to the Multi-Uso, a covered basketball court in the town of Guanabano (see picture above). We played an organized game against a group of guys from the town as a pre-game show for a city tournament game.

There is a man named Victor in Guanabano who has sacrificed greatly to become the organizer/coach/mentor to all the men and boys who like to play basketball in that town. And in a small town like Guanabano that has two very nice basketball courts, there is no shortage of
interest from the men and boys!

Victor set up the game for us and even played against us. He was so excited to have us there. We played pretty well and won our game, but the most important part of the night came after our
game was over.

As our game was ending and the two city teams were warming up
for their tournament game, more and more people began pouring into the gym. Almost all of our team quickly found people to talk with and scattered throughout the gym. I ended up sitting with our trip leader Sam for a while and he explained how basketball is a huge part of life for much of this town.

But with basketball comes a somewhat destructive lifestyle for the men and boys involved in it. Their main influence in the basketball world is the NBA. I'm not against the NBA but the lifestyle it often portrays is one that most people will never be able to achieve - lots of money, lots of women and little responsibility. You can see this influence in many of the men in Guanabano. It's not overt, but it's definitely there.

That's why a guy like Victor (pictured right) has such an amazing opportunity. As far as we know, Victor is
Catholic. In the Dominican Republic, being Catholic is the norm but it's not based on a relationship with Jesus Christ. Victor seems like an amazing man, but I long for him to know Jesus personally and to pursue Him wholeheartedly. I also long for him to use his position in the community to share the love of Jesus with all the men and boys he spends so much time with.

I ask you to pray for Victor. First, pray that he would meet Jesus in a real way and accept Him as his savior. Then, pray that Victor's position and place in the community will only be strengthened through his pursuit of Christ so that he can help the men and boys of Guanabano take steps toward Jesus for themselves!


Jill said...
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Jill said...

Such an awesome ministry! So glad you guys got to be a part of that! Thanks for sharing!