It´s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us! Although we will never experience our traditional fall weather here in Mérida, we have felt a little drop in temperature which has made it seem more like fall. The mornings are becoming a little cooler, helping us to enjoy our coffee a little more. We have lived in Mérida for 10 months now and we´ve been able to visit many of the beautiful places in the Yucatan. The last couple of months have been a prayer and planning period as well as a time to try to see more of what our beautiful city has to offer. In addition to the natural beauty, there is such a rich history with beautiful architecture as well as modern elements that make Mérida so special.

During the last few months, we have really been focusing on what our vision for this ministry is here in Mérida. What are our goals? What is our plan? How will we accomplish all this? Our last couple of months have been filled with planning, speaking and visiting in addition to working with some mission teams here in Mérida. We have developed a plan moving forward that will help to bring our Mexico ministry back into the local churches—which is the true vision of Sports Crusaders. We have visited with pastors, churches and missions to help them to see the vision that the Lord has laid on our hearts. We have had the opportunity to partner with a  local mission to begin a ministry on Thursday afternoons with a group of teenagers that want to learn sports. We are teaching soccer, basketball and volleyball and they are hearing the gospel each week and we are able to break it down piece by piece in a way for them to understand using real world scenarios and really digging into the temptations that they are faced with every day. We are grateful for this partnership and are looking for other possible partnerships to duplicate this system. We are really excited to see where this plan takes us and what opportunities it creates for growth in our family, but also for the mission teams that come to Mérida.For even more photos, click HERE:

 

The longer we are here, the easier it is for us to see the ¨Christian¨ United States that is portrayed to other parts of the world. There is a belief that 75% of Americans are Christian and that every day we dedicate our lives to further the kingdom. But what does this Christianity look like to people? When people from other countries see our media and entertainment, our politics, and hear our music, they think of this as Christian. This wrong thinking is something that God has burdened us with. It isn´t a life of ¨do whatever you want throughout the week as long as you are in church on Sunday morning¨. We must share our life and testimony with them so that they can see the truth of what Christianity really is. Messiness and all.

Sports Crusaders ministries has always used testimonies as a tool to help share the gospel both in the United States as well as other countries that we have been able to minister in. As we have been here we have discovered that so many of the testimonies that are shared begin the same way…

¨I was raised in a Christian home…¨

Don´t get me wrong, it is a tremendous blessing to have parents or grandparents who raised us this way. This is how my testimony has always began. But sometimes I feel like my story isn´t good enough or that it´s boring. And that everyone wants to hear a good story–the kind that give them goosebumps. One where someone has lived in a life bound by sin and as they are on the verge of losing everything they find Jesus and completely turn their life around. It´s exciting and fascinating and although personally we haven´t been in their situation, we still are amazed and in awe of how awesome God is. We are touched and somehow through these stories we believe that there is hope for all people, regardless of where they currently are. But sometimes it causes us to wish our testimony might be a little more exciting, more captivating. While testimonies are designed to be our story I think that sometimes we forget who the story is really about. We tend to just talk about ourselves, our past, and our lives.

But what if we moved the focus away from ourselves and completely onto the vision of Jesus Christ. Yes, my testimony is my story, but when I tell it, do I really capture the vision of Christ? It is the vision of the gospel—what Jesus Christ did for all—that compels others to change their hearts. Not something I did, or a decision I made. It should be about the one who sacrificed everything for me. I think sometimes that I forget about the miracle that my testimony truly is. Regardless of how my life began and what the sin in my life looks like, it doesn´t change the fact that I am a sinner who has been saved by grace. And that friends, IS the miracle.

I´m very thankful that I grew up in a family that impressed in me the importance of going to church and that I grew up knowing that Jesus is my Savior. But unfortunately sometimes when we grow up this way, we tend to focus more on a set of rules—do´s and don´ts—rather than the wonderful grace that has been offered to us freely. And I challenge you to be bold in telling others about that grace. So I pray that no matter what path your story took you on and what your testimony is, that your message will be about Jesus. About the grace and freedom that He offers.

So I ask for your prayers for us as we are sharing with others a little about us, and a lot about Jesus. I ask that you pray for the teenagers that we are seeing each week and ministering to that are hearing the gospel, many for the very first time.

We also ask that you continue to pray for our upcoming trips for this winter, spring and summer. We still have room for teams in sports ministry, vacation bible school, construction and other service projects. Please pray about bringing a group to serve here in Mérida.


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