Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Winning Day at the American-Filipino Friendship Game

The Sonlight mission team joined forces with Teams to bring the American-Filipino Friendship Basketball Game to village of Florida yesterday. Players from the church joined college summer missionaries in a showdown against the barangay all-star team – a group of irregularly tall and astoundingly athletic Filipinos. The Filipinos took the win after much sweat and hustle on both sides, but the team wearing the USA. custom jerseys still won. How? The Sonlight team, mostly from FBC Ft. Payne, accomplished their true mission – building relationships with the rural residents of Butuan City and sharing the Good News of Christ!

Sonlight members delivered two testimonies and two skits during halftime. The audience crowded around every meter of the basketball court inside the concrete pavilion. An estimated 200 heard the gospel in the course of watching the friendship game; many eager children also took the “Ang Gasa” (The Gift) tract. The game was a witness even on the court. For example, the teams prayed before the start of the game.

The day was repleat with ministry leading up to the game. Around 1:30 the team presented drama/health education at a nearby elementary school. About 100 children lined up neatly in rows and cheered in unison as Ms. Melanie talked about “clean teeth and a clean heart.” “Brush your teeth three times a day,” she said as Buffy put another visual on the board. Later she said, “You only need to clean your heart once, by asking Jesus to clean it for you.”

The team also played volleyball against the local high school, girls vs. girls and guys vs. guys. (A loss and win, respectively.) The girls on the team brought out bubbles, balloon animals and a drawing for a basketball before the game started. A line of eager children quickly formed for the balloon animals.

After the game it was a 2-hour boat ride down the Agusan River and a tricycle ride to McDonalds, where everyone celebrated a full and fruitful day of serving the Lord. Youth Pastor/Team Leader Jeff summed up their experiences on Tuesday:

“We’ve been working for 4-5 days now and the variety of things feels like many weeks. Our students have been amazing with the sharing of their testimonies. There’s a sense of accomplished purpose, a sense that God’s directing our steps and giving us opportunities to share in many ways. Our team is great because they never complain. It’s our missions motto – “be flexible”—and I’ve seen our team be so flexible. The most thrilling part has been transportation—motorcycles, boats, and tricycles. The most rewarding aspect—the attitude of the people, because we’ve been so embraced. …I thought I was almost exaggerating the challenges when I was preparing, but I wasn’t—you just have to experience it. You can’t get what it’s like riding four on a motorcycle until you do it. We’re all doing things we never imagined we’d be doing. The importance, the urgency of sharing our faith is a real lesson we’ve learned.”

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