At this point in my sharing of what we saw during my first mission trip abroad I would like to tell you about a unique ministry that incorporates an activity that is common in many cultures. By employing this vehicle to remove barriers, the young men we met during our time in Belize are able to present Christ to others that might not take the time to listen. The common game they have with the youth in Belize is basketball and there are concrete courts all over the capital of Belize, Belmopan.
It was late Saturday just hours after we arrived that I first heard the term “basketball boys” used to describe this mission group. It was a term of endearment as we learned these five young men have established a friendship with the husband and wife team that is our full time missionary contacts in the country. The leader of the team Jonathan is also a full time resident of Belize with the other four on short term assignment to compose a five man squad, the required size for a basketball team.
The young men were all fairly recent additions to the family of god and eager to share their newfound passion for Christ with others on the basketball courts of Belize. Their organization, Youth With a Mission is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, some 1668 miles give or take from Belmopan, where we saw the young men in action. As it turned out one of our team members substituted for one of the YWAM boys who had an ankle injury.
Using sports as an icebreaker was a new approach to me, but one that should have been obvious. In all the classes I sat through over the years there was the point to establish some common bond to make the conversation flow easier. Then you find a way to move on to spiritual things and then share what you believe and ask what the other person thinks or knows about it. That is exactly how these young men serve their God.