Jeremiah 5:24 says, “Let us fear the Lord our God who gives the rain in its season… and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.” Honestly, this verse has never meant much to me before today. That last phrase, “appointed for the harvest” especially sticks out to me in light of what happened today. But, before I get ahead of myself let me explain…
We are in the season of heavy rain right now in Malawi and we praise God for His provision from above. Literally, it has been dumping rain every day for the last week. Today, the Ndirande and Bangwe Sports Friends leaders that we’ve been pouring our lives into organized a friendly get-together where each team would play against one another and at half-time there would be a time of teaching from the Word of God.
So, at 8:30 a.m. I left the house with our friend Shaddy (another local sports ministry leader) to go pick up the Ndirande boys soccer team to bring them to Bangwe for a game. During the rainy season in Malawi, the roads get quite horrendous and the potholes are unavoidable. After 20 minutes of smashing hole after hole, we arrived at Ndirande to 20 beaming faces of the boys from the community outreach that we have in the largest township (slum) in Blantyre: Ndirande. They jammed into the minibus and off we went to Bangwe (about 20 minutes southeast of Ndirande). The whole time we drove, our prayer was that it wouldn’t rain because it would foil many plans that our faithful leaders had made to make this event possible. This was an opportunity for Gospel ministry. The fields of souls were ripe for the harvest but the sky was black and it looked as if the clouds would open up at any moment turning our football and netball playing surfaces into swimming holes and mud pits. The local farmers smiled and waited for the rain that would shoot their crops up again. God had other plans.
We arrived to the football pitch and netball court ready to go. It was just a matter of time before the sky would dump on us so we had to make haste. The games kicked off and there were nearly 100 people present. It was quite encouraging because this was fully initiated and organized by the local churches. This is something we’ve prayed for from the beginning: that God would empower the local churches with the powerful tool of sport to build relationships for Kingdom expansion and multiplicative discipleship that would bring in a harvest of righteousness and love for the Lord.
|Let the games begin!|
|One man halftime show|
After 45 minutes, referee Shaddy blew the whistle for halftime and everyone gathered to hear the Word for 20 minutes while they let their bodies rest from the brutal 1st half of play. This time I taught from Acts 14 about the healing of the crippled man in Lystra. I opened with a story from my own life where I acted foolishly and boasted in my menial basketball accomplishments when I was in my early teens just to be moments later struck by a ball in the face, knocking me to the ground, humbling me instantly. I then explained to the crowd how there was a lame man who had faith in God and was healed by the power of God through Paul. But instead of giving glory to the Great Physician, the people of Lystra all praised Paul and Barnabas and gave them the glory and tried to worship them instead of the Lord who actually brought healing to this crippled man. Then, we talked about many professional athletes who are either good or bad examples of giving God the glory or not. It was hilarious to see the kids act out professional football stars who take the glory for themselves instead of giving it to the One who has given them their gift. Our time closed in me challenging them to use the different gifts that God has endowed to them for His glory and never dare to take the glory and boast in our own abilities. And during this whole time, the rain still held off…yet the harvest was plentiful because the kids heard the Word and their response to God was faith.
|Fostance and Luke sharing the Word|
Then came the second half and I was utterly positive that the cats and dogs were coming from the sky. But still no rain. To our complete amazement, it did not rain the whole time we were there. Praise God! He is sovereign over the rains and enabled this outreach today to be a great success for His fame! All glory be to Jesus. Many kids heard more about what it means to walk in the ways of Jesus and had a breath of fresh air in the midst of difficult lives. Many smiles. God’s love won today in Bangwe. Thank you for your continued prayer for this ministry and our Sports Friends leaders who are now running with this vision and shaking their communities with the Gospel of Christ. He is worth it!
By the way, it rained as we drove home. Yesu ndi wabwino (Jesus is good.)
Jeremiah 5:24 “Let us fear the Lord our God who gives the rain in its season…and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.”
Today, the Lord our God brought the rain after the harvest.
|Netball in action|