Do those two things really go together? Absolutely! But when I write Diamonds and Ministry, you already know I use those terms in a way you don’t expect. So let me break it down…
Diamonds and Ministry – Barahona
One of the things our mission team did last week was equip a diamond ministry. I know it’s a ministry because I know the hearts of the men who lead it. I have had that same ministry here in the U.S. And while I am speaking of a baseball diamond, men who use it as a ministry have the opportunity to uncover living diamonds and shape them for God’s glory! Being part of it is a great, rewarding opportunity. Not only did our team get to be part of that diamond ministry, many of you are also part of it.
Many people continue to donate baseball equipment for the leagues in Barahona. Last year, Coach Patrick Nix and I discovered that Barahona was home to the 2015 World Champion girls softball team. One of the coaches we had been helping leads that team. So our equipping opportunities expanded from strictly baseball to include softball. That means we can also use athletes and coaches from either sport on our sports evangelism mission teams (that’s a not-so-subtle hint for you to join a team!!!). 🙂
The teams are almost always lacking adequate equipment for catchers. This time we were able to give them multiple sets of catcher’s gear that was in great shape. A church that supports ROW had connections with a U.S. university. College and university teams get new equipment every year. At the end of each year they discard what is no longer usable and donate the things that can be used. The church asked for the usable items and they sent that equipment to ROW. And our team took it to the people who needed it and greatly appreciated it.
We called the coaches and let them know we were in Barahona again. Arrangements were made for us to meet at the Mission House. I knew the coaches would be excited to get the equipment we brought. Two things were a bit of a surprise – and both were delightful.
Ministry and Diamonds – Unclaimed (UBC)
First, Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro donated the suitcases and bags the equipment was packed in. It didn’t dawn on me ahead of time that the coaches would be just about as happy to get those bags as they were to the get the bats, helmets, and other gear. They have a hard time even buying equipment, much less bags to carry it in!
And my biggest blessing came at the end. The coaches divided the equipment among themselves in a very fair way. They proven much more capable at that than we are. So we always let them do it. As they reached the end of that process I was going to ask them to gather for time of prayer. Much to my surprise and delight, they asked to do that before I could say anything! It started with them and that is how an equipper knows the message is getting through and taking hold.
You have a part in this ministry of diamonds. Thank you for praying for us and equipping us so we can equip others. And I would invite and encourage you to pray for these coaches. We know first hand their desire to use their time and influence to put the Gospel in the hearts of boys and young men. Please pray for them and for our continuing opportunities to work alongside them!