More Than Just a Game, Part 1
The football field is my mission field.
I dropped to my knees in sorrow and shame. I had been raised to honor God’s seventh-day Sabbath, but when I was old enough to work, every boss I ever had required me to work on Saturday. “Lord,” I prayed, “I want to focus on You exclusively on Sabbath. Please help me find a job that allows me to serve You.”
"Get Out Now!"
Within a few weeks after my prayer, my landlord told me to pack my things and get out. I pleaded for a few more days to pay the rent, but he insisted that I leave that very night. I took what I could carry and watched helplessly as he tossed my belongings in the yard.
I slept outside that night, or tried to, as I considered what to do next. “I need a new job and a new place to live now, Lord,”
I prayed, dismayed at my growing list of requests. The only bright spot was that the next day was Sabbath, and I’d get to see my friends.
When I arrived at church the next morning, I told a friend what had happened. “Come stay with me,” he offered. “I have another friend staying with me temporarily, but there’s plenty of room for the three of us.”
I’d never heard of Babcock University before, but my host’s friend had been a student there. When he learned that I drove a truck for a living, he said he’d tell his parents about me. “They might be able to help you get a job there,” he said hopefully.
An Answer to Prayer
Within a short time, Babcock University invited me to serve on their staff. I was so thankful. God had not only provided me with a nice place to live, He’d given me the opportunity to serve Him doing the work I loved best. He’d given me so much; I wanted to give something back.
When I moved to Babcock University, I learned that many of the students on campus and in the community weren’t Christians. I wanted to reach out to them through some kind of ministry and prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do.
One day I was lying under my truck, making a repair, when I noticed two enormous gym shoes near my head.
“Mr. Sylvanus, do you remember me?” I heard a deep voice ask. Pulling myself free, I looked up to see a tall, bulky young man. I always feel bad when I can’t remember someone, so I tried to rack my memory. “I’m sorry,” I said finally, “I don’t.”
“About three years ago I needed a ride off campus to do a practical for my environmental degree,” he explained. “I saw that you had a vehicle, so I asked you to give me a lift. You were happy to take me.”
Suddenly, I remembered the lanky boy who had nervously approached me for help. He had filled out now and was the picture of confidence.
"I Need a Favor"
“I’ve come to ask for another favor,” he said with a grin. “We have a football team on campus that participates in a league. But it’s more than just a game. It’s a mission. It’s one of our Adventist Youth Ministry projects to reach out to non- Christian students on campus and in the community. We need a coach. Will you help us?”
To be continued
I’m Oyewole Oyerinde, the youth church pastor at Babcock University’s Pioneer Church. The Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help build a multipurpose center for the hundreds of young people on our campus who are members of our Adventist Youth Ministry. Currently, some of these youth, many of whom come from a non-Christian background, have no conducive place to join us to worship or attend our youth ministry programs.
The new center will play an important role in helping our youth become committed disciples of Christ who are passionately engaged in sharing the Advent message with our largely non-Adventist student body and community. Thank you for your support.