Update: West Africa Baseball Initiative

The 2020 West Africa Baseball Initiative for Ashanti region of Ghana

This project is in commemoratory of the late W.L. White (native of Lindale, GA), who was a longtime partner with Breakaway Outreach (20+ years) and passed on to his heavenly home last October. Our missional focus with this partnership is threefold:

1) To empower vulnerable children with the gospel while building resilience skills through baseball clinics and sports training

2) To train indigenous coaches in West Africa, equipping and resourcing them to be disciplers and mentoring shapers of future generations

3) To strengthen communities by fostering cross-cultural partnerships, creating sustainable youth sports programs, and providing tangible resources for development

baseball africa mission

🇬🇭 ⚾ West Africa Baseball Initiative

• 207 kids attended our gospel-centered baseball camp
• 11 schools partnered together for this outreach project
• 24 new coaches trained and equipped for sports ministry

We established the foundation for the very first baseball league in Ashanti region of Ghana, commissioning a head baseball coach and a staff of assistants. Coaches will continue to meet monthly for training together and developing multiple youth teams. We believe that God is going to use baseball to empower kids with hope, bring about gospel transformation, raise up next generation leaders, and further His kingdom through this sports ministry for years to come.

The Imitation Game

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Text: I Corinthians 11:1

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” I Corinthians 11:1 ESV

I had an imitation game that I played as a child growing up in Glen Burnie, Maryland. I would often take a wiffle ball bat into the backyard of my grandmother’s house at 817 Geis Circle, and emulate the batting stance of every player on the Baltimore Orioles major league baseball team: from Al Bumbry, to Ken Singleton, to Cal Ripken, to Eddie Murray. These were my childhood heroes and I became a better baseball player by imitating their game.

Paul’s pragmatic approach to discipleship can be found in a simple and uncomplicated statement: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” One translation reads, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Paul knew that discipleship involved imitating Jesus. He also knew that believers needed living examples, and he was willing to be such an example. In his letter to a young pastor named Timothy, Paul wrote:

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12

Many people today are quick to say, “Don’t look at me, look at Jesus.” While it is true we must all look to Jesus as the ultimate Author and Finisher of our faith, every follower of Jesus should also strive to become a living example of what it looks like to imitate Jesus. His readers would’ve understood that it was not “Paul” who was a worthy example, but “Paul the imitator of Jesus” who was to be the example.

In other words, Paul is saying, “Imitate me as you see me imitating Jesus.”

The idea of being imitators of godly examples is consistent with Paul’s letters to other believers in Philippi and Thessalonica (Philippians 3:17, Philippians 4:9, II Thessalonians 3:7-9). Paul seemed confident that there was something in his pursuit of Jesus that was worth modeling and imitating. This doesn’t mean that he was perfect by any means.

The man who led me to Christ also became a longtime spiritual father in my life before going home to be with the Lord a few years back. Like all of us, Brother Woody had his share of flaws, but there were a great many aspects of his life that I have been able to imitate in fleshing out my faith because of the powerful living example that he modeled for others and me.

The million-dollar question we must all ask is: If someone follows you will they end up at Jesus? Despite his human weaknesses, Brother Woody was such an effective disciple-maker because as people followed him they always ended up at Jesus.

Think about that, Christ-follower, as you seek to abide in Him this week.

Prayer

Father, we can’t be perfect. But we should all strive to imitate Jesus. We should also not be afraid to invite others to follow us as we seek to follow Him. Help us Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live out our faith with such devotion that it truly is worth imitating by others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

twitter-64Paul believed that his life in Christ was worth imitating. If someone follows you, will they end up at Jesus? Tweet this

Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:

  1. Who have you grown up imitating, intentionally or unintentionally?
  2. When have you ended up at Jesus by following the example of one of His followers?
  3. What in your life is worth imitating?
  4. Where have you been a poor example of imitating Jesus? Be honest, and consider a time of confession and repentance.
  5. Is there someone in your daily path God may want you to be more intentional about sharing Christ with?

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Global Missions: God Using Baseball and Beach Balls to Reach Youth, Refugees

Our mission team just returned from Germany, where God is on the move through sports camps and baseball outreach. We helped lead a baseball camp alongside of a new church plant and facilitated a sports outreach in a refugee camp.

Baseball Camp Testimony

germany baseball camp testimonyNiklas lost his father just before baseball camp in 2013. It was a tragedy that shook the whole community. During the darkest season of his life, Niklas came to know the saving power of Jesus at baseball camp that summer. Our leaders helped him connect with a local church, and I’ve (Jimmy) also spent time doing some long-distance mentoring with him over the last few years. Niklas has been growing deeply in his faith. Currently he is writing devotions to encourage other young people in their faith. He’s also an aspiring film producer who has hopes of making faith-based movies in the future. Similarly, his younger sister has had her faith shaped through baseball camps. She is getting baptized in two weeks. Praise God!

Outreach to Refugee Children

germany missions outreach refugee childrenOur team organized a “Sport Week” for refugee children at a transitional living shelter that is currently housing around 700 migrants. We held an instructional baseball demo, played soccer and field hockey, offered age-appropriate activities for younger children, and ministered to many of the parents congregating during the activities. On the last camp evening, we held an international worship service where the gospel was clearly proclaimed in multiple languages and many prayed to Jesus for the first time. These internationals come from all different backgrounds and religious influences, so this was a BIG moment in sharing the Good News and making Christ known among the unreached. There is much follow-up work to be fleshed out by our Germany team over the next few weeks, and we covet your prayers as our international partners come alongside of these folks and continue to nurture them in the faith.

Beach Ball Makes Way For Muslim To Hear The Gospel

reaching muslims gospel christMadir (name changed for privacy) is one of the Muslim refugees I (Jimmy) had the opportunity to connect with more intimately. Our relationship began in an unseemly and unorthodox way—through a beach ball. After I gave his little boy a beach ball to take back to their makeshift living quarters, Madir was touched enough to come and talk with us. As he shared his story with me, I learned that just two months ago, his wife abandoned him and their two small children for another man during their journey to seek refuge in Germany. His heartbreak runs deep. During the week Madir and I had multiple conversations about suffering and brokenness, which ultimately led to Jesus, the Son of God who was “broken” for us and is a High Priest who knows our pain (Hebrews 4:15). This resonated affectionately with Madir and we prayed together. Please continue to intercede for Madir, as this man of Muslim background is now connected with our international community and has opportunities to receive counsel, learn more about Jesus, and respond to the gospel. Isn’t it amazing how our God can use something as simple as a beach ball to bring a person far from the faith into a more intimate knowledge of Christ?! To Him be the glory!

New Missions Partnerships Forming in Germany

germany mission trips church partnershipWe were blessed to spend time with a group of international missionaries and a pastoral team in Frankfurt to pray over a potential new sports camp among migrant and refugee children in their community. In addition, there is a new partnership for baseball camps emerging in the Ostalbkreis district of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. There is no greater poverty in the world than gospel deprivation, and God is opening doors for life-changing impact among gospel-destitute young people. The harvest is ripe! Contact us for more info about missions opportunities in Germany.