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Because my time in Swazi is wrapping up, I’ve just been praying and thinking about what more can happen with my soccer guys. It’s a tough situation because things have come a long way with them since I first got here, but really not much tangible fruit has come from it. I mean I intently share the gospel with them every Wednesday, and because they are always hanging out here, random conversations happen where I have opportunities to disciple them and speak truth to them. Like one time I was talking with Sanele (Sah-neh-lay) as we were fetching water so he could wash his school uniform. Sanele always orders the girls around to do things for him, he’s not a bad guy it’s just the culture here, but because he is lazy sometimes he’s even asked the girls on my time do his laundry and cook for him many times haha, so as were fetching water I talked to him about being humble. It was a totally new concept for him. I told him how hard it is and how I even suck really bad at it, and then told him about Jesus’ humility of coming to earth and serving humanity and being homeless and sacrificing himself for us. He understood it but not fully so over the next few days there were random times where he would ask me more about it or I would tell him or I would show him examples of humility. So I then I told him that we’re are gonna keep each other accountable with being humble so every day at training were gonna ask each other what we did that was humble that day and we have to be honest and answer. And every day, we do it and he has seriously done some really really humble things.  

I don’t prepare anything for when I speak to the guys on Wednesdays, it just very casual and informal (which is great because everything having to do with God here is the exact opposite), I just ask God’s Spirit to speak through me. During practice when I’m praying for what these guys need to hear He always gives me a story about Jesus’ life and I just have faith that He will elaborate on it as needed. Like last Wednesday, “tell them about the rich young man,” God told me. “But dude, I already told them about that story,” I said back to God. “Bryan, just tell them that story again, that’s what they need to hear.” So then, like every week, I’m not really sure exactly what to say, I just stay confident and begin to speak off of what first comes to mind. “So Jesus is walking around, I guess, probably traveling from town to town, and this young man walks up Jesus. Now this young man is really rich, he has everything that he thinks he can ever have or want in this life, he is even a Rabbi, like he has gone to school and knows everything that there is to know about God. So the man asks Jesus, ‘What do I have to do to get into Heaven?’ And Jesus asks, ‘Do you obey the laws? What is the most important law?”….. I tell that story as God gives it to me to tell it, and then God elaborates for me, “So the man had everything he ever wanted, he obeyed and followed the rules to God, he was a good person, but he wasn’t going to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus told him to sell everything and give it to the poor, and the man rejected the Son of God right to his face so he could keep his possessions and walked away, and as he walked away Jesus loved him. So Jesus meant two things when he told the man to sell his stuff and give it to the poor, he really did mean to sell his possessions, but he also meant to sell himself. Not to sell himself for money, but to give everything of himself to God, to abandon yourself for Jesus. Getting to Heaven is not about being a good person or doing the right things, Jesus asks us to surrender ourselves and follow him. He says if you lose your life, for his sake, than you will find it but if you try to keep your life than you will definitely lose it.” So I went on with that for a while and got a lot deeper, and I mean they were listening, I even heard some, “mmm’s” and “ohhh’s” like it was new for them to hear and Macoya even yells out, “Hallelujah!” haha. It’s just really awesome how faithful God is when you are willing to put your neck out there. Like how I just ask God to give me the words that you want them to hear and He tells me to re-tell something I’ve already told them, just because they need to hear it.

The next day, I’m cooling down, lying in my bed half naked, after playing some pick-up games of soccer with some of the teenage boys that hang around here. In my undies, reading my Bible, Bhekumusa comes in and he too does the boogie woogie down to his boxers and we sit in front of the fan and just talk, about life and stuff, its’ kind of normal for us to do these things, it’s nothing creepy, just good ole’ bro-time. So I asked Bhekumusa, “Hey dude, what more do you think I can do with the soccer guys, like I tell them about Jesus every Wednesday and I tried to start this discipleship group but that fell apart, is there anything that you can see that I can do for them?” So he tells me, “No, not really man, it’s on them now. You’ve done everything you can; you’ve told them about Jesus, you’ve told them everything you can. It’s all on them now, if they want to accept it. It’s like you said, they have to decide if they want to keep their lives and eventually lose them or if they want to lose their lives to find them. You’ve already done a lot for us, it’s on them now if they want more.” I’ve never heard him speak so much wisdom before, I was expecting an answer of something to do; it was what I needed to hear.

I know the next step is discipleship, some are chosen and some aren’t, so for the ones who get it, for the ones who are willing to lose their lives, they need discipleship. I knew coming to Swazi wasn’t about evangelism and counting converts but the need here is discipleship. Everyone has heard the Jesus message, and everyone has been saved 27 times. One of our leaders in Mexico, Blair, told me, “Everyone, especially the believers, constantly need to be reminded of the gospel, man.” That’s stuck with me here, all I’ve done is preached the gospel and edging in discipleship into lives and living the gospel to the best that I can. Everyone from AIM has been encouraging us to “Finish trong and leave it all there.” But I just don’t know what that looks like more than what God’s doing through me. I don’t want to waste my time playing soccer just to be doing something you know, just to feel like I did something today so I will be ending strong. I have one idea though, I’m gonna get Mapile, Majabane, and Bhekumusa, and we are going to meet up and I am going to disciple these guys hard. I am going to give it to them thick. These guys have what it takes, they get it it, they understand, especially Maplie, but they just need to know it, they need to understand more of the arsenal that they have in their souls. They need to realize the potential that they have and that they need to use it. I see them now as Jesus’ twelve disciples before they received the Holy Spirit, when they were timid and foolish. But I have hope that God will turn them into bold and fierce apostolic men full of love to change the world.

All in all, what more that needs to happen is prayer. I need to pray more for these guys, and for this place, and you need to too, please. Now we all know that when someone asks you to pray for them, we usually always say to ourselves that we will but we forget. I do it, we all do it, and it sucks. So I don’t know what to do to remind us all to pray, but I am going to pray that we remember to pray. This is seriously business ladies and gentlemen. Believe in the power of prayer.

2 responses to “Short Novels Make Good Emails”

  1. Excellent blog, Bryan. You’re doing good things with those guys. And honestly, I hope that in some ways you don’t “leave it all there.” Not that I want you to feel regrets, but I hope that the changes that this trip has brought about in you are permanent, and when I talk to you ten, twenty years from now I will still find a man saying, “Believe in the power of prayer,” and loving deeply whomever God puts in his path.

  2. Remember: you’re making a difference. They’re always going to remember this hairy, bearded, half-naked dude reading his Bible willing to let them crash at his place, giving 110% in every game because it’s the example and lifestyle that’s important. Your example has been set brother. Let God meet you there!