Terrell: “Coach, I read a Bible verse today and it made me think of you.”
Me: “Oh yeah, what was it?”
Terell: “Let’s see… something about… if you bring a kid up right then he’ll have a good life, or something like that.”
Me: “You mean, ‘Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it’?”
Terell: “Yeah, that’s it!”
When I asked him why that made him think of me he said it was because of all the stuff we do together and all the things I try to teach them. I confess it made me feel good…
After this conversation (we had already dropped off the rest of the kids in the van) Terell asked if I would feed him. Now this is a common ploy by the kids. I always give the boys a snack when we have an activity and sometimes take them to McDonald’s, or Lisa will make a meal… but whoever is last in the van will usually ask for more, thinking that since they are last I’ll break down and hand out more treats. I told Terell that I had just fed all of them but he replied that he was still hungry, they didn’t have any food in the house and he hadn’t eaten all day. Now I’m tired and Terell is the last kid to drop off and I want to get home, but he seems earnest so we stop at an Asian food counter near his house.
Terell lives in a very seamy part of the neighborhood and as we sat down waiting for our food I asked him what it was like for him living there. “At home it’s fine but it’s rough outside coach… I have to keep my eyes open whenever I go out.” While we are waiting for our food a disheveled looking man comes in and rushes straight up to me. His face is literally an inch from mine and he looks like he’s either drunk or high. In a threatening manner he asks me for money. I employ my usual defenses in this situation (I pray in the Spirit) and reply, “Naw man, sorry.” And he leaves. Terell says, “Coach, I though he was gonna jump you!” “Yeah, I thought he was too”, I say. “But you were so calm. Were you scared?” he asks. “No, I was praying” I say. We finished our meal and I took him home.
Earlier that evening I had asked Terell if he was going to play basketball for me this season. He is a decent player and his dad likes him to try out for other, more competitive teams. He told me yes. “Well what about this other team?’ I ask. He tells me his dad says he can play for me. When I ask why Terell says cause I told my dad when I play for you I do more than just play basketball.
The whole dynamic of my time with Terell that evening is an example of the spiritual warfare we engage in for the welfare of our kids. In one evening I am addressing physical, emotional and spiritual needs. I didn’t plan it that way… stuff just happens. When people ask how they can pray for me I ask them to pray that I be prayed up and ready for any situation which may arise when I am with the kids. It is in those moments that they see things and are greatly influenced, much more than in planned activities, camps or Bible studies. My experience with Terell that night signified a great victory in that I’d been trying to pull him in for two years. This night showed me that he (and his dad) were buying in to what I was offering him… a relationship.
Going to camp with me last summer was a big part of the process of bringing Terell in. He has already asked me about going to camp this summer. Y’all know there are a lot of Terells out here… decent kids in difficult situations. We are asking you to give beyond your usual giving to enable us to offer some of them a camping experience this summer. It costs us $300 to take Terell to our Christian sports camp or to our discipleship camp… any amount would help.
Summer camp is one of the tools the Lord equips us with to draw kids nearer to Him. Join us in giving these kids opportunities so they can grow up right and have a chance at a good life. We appreciate your partnership with us in this ministry through your prayers and gifts.