I like basketball! I played it through my teenage years as well as three years during college. Over this past summer (2020), I sensed a growing desire to put my experience, skills, and enjoyment of basketball to use here in Quebec. However, with no opportunity in front of me, and not knowing exactly how this could happen, I started to ask God to open a door for me to use basketball as a ministry platform for His glory! Furthermore, I have recently realized that I need to find more ways to have regular connections with non-believers in our community.
A few weeks ago, while on a prayer walk at our local college in our city, I asked someone in the athletic office if there was still a basketball season in light of COVID-19. To my surprise, the answer was, "Yes"! I knocked on some more doors, presenting my experience in basketball and desire to volunteer as an assistant coach if possible. In preparation for my interview with the head coach, I asked five friends to pray that I would have favour with him and have an opportunity to help with the team. Praise God, the interview went well! He asked why I moved to Quebec. I believe God gave me boldness to be clear and upfront: "Because of Jesus". Needless to say he was a bit surprised but he was open to hearing more. Since that interview, I have been given the opportunity to observe and participate in practices as an assistant coach!
This coaching opportunity is a breakthrough on a number of fronts. It gives me an open door to work with college students which is the age group we want to work primarily with in the future. It also helps push me deeper into French learning (how to coach basketball in French!?!?) and regular connections with non-believers while using gifts God has given me with basketball.
One practice at a time, I have been slowly getting to know the players and build trust with them. This takes time, especially cross-culturally. At the beginning of October the government of Quebec announced new COVID-19 restrictions that suspended team sports. As such, our team took a two week break, then the head coach reconvened practices but with a different format that is within the government regulations. With the new format, three players are at three different baskets in the gym for individual trainings. The other coaches and I assist them. It's interesting because this new format actually works BETTER for getting to know these young guys and have time with them since I am working with guys one at a time and there is less noise in the gym for me to better hear and understand in French. Praise God for that!
I am very thankful to God for this opportunity and encouraged in seeing His power at work in this specific answer to the prayers of many people. I don't know how much longer I will be able to serve with the team in light of the unpredictable COVID-19 situation. But even if the season is cancelled tomorrow, seeing what God did in opening this door through prayer has boosted my faith in His ability to answer big. If this door closes, surely He can open another one. "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us," (Ephesians 3:20).