How would you like playing your favorite sport when the temperature is 118°F?
Blistering heat is just one of the challenges that coaches like Mary face in the remote villages of southern Malawi. Other Sports Friends netball coaches might get 15-20 girls at every practice, but in the extreme climate of Mary’s village she usually gets only half that number. However, Mary knows how dangerous it can be to compare the apparent “success” of your ministry with what others are doing. Instead she simply chooses to focus on whoever God brings to her each day.
One day in mid-October, temperatures were soaring to a sweltering 118 degrees, but Mary faithfully went down to the field as usual to coach. She waited, and then saw three girls coming her way. After a simple training session in the blazing sun, Mary sat down with the girls under the shade of a nearby tree and began to share the message that she had prepared for the day.
Because of the high temperatures, God led Mary to share from the Scriptures about the reality of hell and how even these temperatures are NOTHING compared to what is to come for those not found covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. Coach Mary finished by talking about the magnificent and saving love of God. She told the girls how He does not rejoice in the death of the wicked but rejoices when even one sinner comes out of the darkness and into the light. She also shared how this amazing gospel radically transforms our lives and enables us to have “Life and life to the full!” (John 10:10).Sweating profusely, Mary finished her time of teaching and looked up to see all three girls weeping.
Coach Mary listened as the three girls explained how they were sex workers, and how they had been earning their living by prostitution. The girls told Mary how empty they felt and how they were tired of living this way.
Today, they are born again Christians and are plugged in to the local church – the same church that Coach Mary is a part of. Please pray for these three young ladies, that the darkness of their pasts would have no hold over them. Praise God that He does not give up on anyone.
And what an example Mary sets us! What a great reminder not to focus on numbers for the sake of numbers, but to be faithful in the daily grind of being a light for Him, wherever He has put us.
Jesus said: “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7)