May 21, 2004
We had played exhibition basketball in combined teams of men and women with Brasilians and Americans on each side for much of the morning. It was time for lunch and all of us were beginning to feel a little hungry and were ready to get a bite to eat. Our Brasilian host asked if we would play a little longer and the team agreed, inspite of the twinges of hunger. It was during this time that Brandon Owen, speaking through an interpreter, encountered 15 year old Yasmine and a small group of her friends. Yasmine began asking questions about why the team was here and was trying to understand the message the she had heard from the team's personal testimonies from earlier in the morning. Brandon sensed that Yasmine wanted more, but was not sure that perhaps she had just become intrigued by an energetic group of American boys, so, Brandon sent Yasmine to speak with me. On the bleachers in a noisy gymanasium, with the assistance of my translator, Ednan ('the edge'), I shared the simple message and invitation with Yasmine to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Saviour. Yasmine understood the message and was ready to make her decision right there in the gym.
The smile that came to her face when I asked her if she knew what she just did and the resounding 'yes' that she replied made me know that this was real. I asked her about her parents. Jasmine explained that her father is Catholic and that her mother professes no particular faith. I asked, 'How will your parents respond to what you have done today?" She said, "I don't know, but I don't think they will be angry with me." I encouraged her to tell them that something wonderful had happened in her life today...if you have the same smile on your face and the joy that I see in you right now when you tell them, God will take care of the rest. I took my Bible and opened it to John's gospel and recommended that Yasmine begin reading there (she has her own Bible). I am confident that this was the real thing. This was not about me. This was about an entire team who had demonstrated through their actions, their play, and their words that this was about the love of Christ. This was about Andrew Preston giving his testimony in front of 400 students.. about Brandon being sensitive to this girl's spiritual journey and his response to the leadership of the Holy Spirit... about Brandon's setting the stage and passing the ball to me for the perfect score.
Pray for Yasmine.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at May 21, 2004 08:37 AM