Back Brentwood Baptist and Station Hill members share Christ through sports in Nepal
September 26th, 2013
By Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer
Three weeks ago, nine people stepped into the land of Nepal, carrying their sports equipment and the gospel—eight men and one woman, four from Station Hill and five from Brentwood Baptist.
In the predominantly Hindu country of 30 million people (plus their 33 million gods and goddesses), only 3% of the population is Christian and believes in the one true God. At first, Wade Barnes wasn't sure he wanted to go on the trip. But then he attended a couple of meetings and saw a documentary about the lostness of Nepal.
"Through that video…we got to see this pagan religion these people are so devout to and just how dark it is," he said. "It was described to me, by our mission partner, that it's like worshiping a black cat in a dark room—when there's no cat. That really hit home. I realized these people need to be reached and I felt called to go and plant seeds, to spread the gospel."
They went to partner with Transformation Nepal, a Hope for the World Mission Offering partner led by Bishwa and Ramila Karmacharya. Since 2005, this ministry has worked in the field of church planting, pastor and leader training, and other areas among the poor and oppressed—such as developing health, education, agriculture, and vocational skills.
While there, a couple of people on the mission journey team focused on training pastors—from ministry methods to good hygiene for those in their villages. But the majority of the team led two 2-hour baseball camps each day—one in the morning for young people (ages 12-24) and another in the afternoon for the Nepal Baseball Federation.
Clark Lambert, a Station Hill member who led the journey, has close ties to both baseball and Nepal. He played the sport all through college, into the minors, and finally professionally for the New York Mets. And in 2009, he and his wife adopted their daughter, Bella, from the country.
"I've always loved the game. I wanted to use my talents and passion as an avenue to share the gospel," he said. "The Nepalese don't play baseball very much. It's not popular there. But it's an American sport, so it created excitement and interest, and it brought people out that may not have normally come to play and watch."
It was a hit. They taught the basics—from catching grounders to hitting the ball. And they even drew an audience from passersby who wanted to see the groups compete in an end-of-the-week scrimmage.
The team took faith bracelets and passed them out to every player. Every day at practice, they reviewed what the colors meant—sin (black), Christ's death on the cross (red), baptism (blue), new life in Him (white), growth in Him (green), and eternity in heaven (yellow).
John David Duke, a Station Hill member on the team, said, "The first day, [the kids] were saying, 'Man, they're giving us a gift!' Then [we got] to tell them a little more about the Gift. Toward the end of the week, we were like, 'Do you remember what these are?' And they were able to spout back at us exactly what it meant."
Bret Dawkins, another team member, said, "Every day in every practice was different. Sometimes, not all the coaches were needed. A couple of us would stand off to the side, take pictures, and pray for the coaches and players. We had some sharing opportunities while the coaching was going on with some of the adults who were there."
The team came back home with a different worldview. John David said, "He's at work in places we really don't understand, in ways that to us would seem very trivial. But to people in another context and part of the world, it's a big deal."
The team got to see the Hope for the World Mission Offering dollars at work.
"It's a big deal that they're getting some of their needs met—their physical needs as well as spiritual needs. To know that some of the money going toward Hope for the World is going toward some of that stuff…makes us more passionate to continue to give. It's like we're still participating by giving even though we're not on the ground using it."
After the team finished, they visited nearby Mount Everest. That was the icing on the cake—especially Bret Dawkins, who said God taught him a lesson in that moment.
"In all the grandeur of Mount Everest—it's big and beautiful. After God created it, He said it was good. And after He created us, He said it was good. What I'm bringing away from this is that God loves people even more. We're the most important thing in the world to Him. We need to…realize who God has brought into our lives, ask why He's brought them into our lives, and ask what we can do to be a better influence for Christ to the people around us."
Clark says this is the beginning of what he hopes to be a regular partnership that sends teams every year. He said, "We laid a great foundation for future work with them—not just in sports, but for others to go and serve wherever we're needed."