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Encouraging Letter from a Teacher

POSTED ON November 24th, 2014  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

IMG_2683I grew up in government subsidized housing in Jacksonville, AR. I was chosen as an elementary school student to be a part of a program for disadvantaged kids put on at a local elementary school by some former professional athletes from the area. I was 1 of probably 75 kids running around in an old gymnasium with a rippling wood floor, and dilapidated goals and bleachers, wondering what was going to be passed out for snacks, and if there would be a “recess time” where we could go play on the rusty playground equipment I saw in the fenced back lot. Instead we were gathered into smaller groups where we talked about our dreams for the future and what we thought it would take to achieve those dreams.  Future astronauts, NFL players and doctors all shared their own visions of the future. Mine was to be a fireman or a policeman where I could help little kids like me, who lived in scary places, to feel safe.

 

One of the athletes, whose name I don’t remember, began to talk about his dreams of playing in the NFL that eventually came true. He talked about a God, who he now realized had been watching over him from his earliest memories, and who he credited with giving him his ability to play and a path to attain his dreams. I was familiar with this God, as my maternal grandmother frequently spoke about Him to me, reminding me often, that there was someone watching my every move, even if she wasn’t there! He spoke about Eternity, and how the choices we make in this life will determine where we get to spend eternity. Will it be with our loving Father, with no more tears and no more pain? Or will it be an eternity with the evil one, the great destroyer, the devil himself forever in torment? Now this was big stuff to a little kid, but it was even bigger when he presented eternity to us in a way we could understand.

He gave us each rolls of toilet paper, and told us to go and hang the rolls of toilet paper end to end, covering the walls with the paper, as high as it would go wrapped around the court. It took some time, but with the assistance of some helpers with masking tape, we eventually got our toilet paper hung around the wall, reaching from the floor to about 3 feet high up the walls, across the bleachers and across the door ways, a continuous wall of toilet paper gently rolling with a breeze coming through the doors.

He walked slowly around the group of kids sitting in the center of the gymnasium floor, and began sharing how the toilet paper was a symbol of time…it represented eternity, and the time we would get to spend in heaven with God. He described wonderful mansions and gold streets, and jewel covered walls. Marvelous meals, and endless sunny days playing catch with friends. That single line of paper seemed to go on forever on those walls! He then took out a marker, and walked over to an area under one of the goals, and approached the wall. He swept his arm in a big arc, and said, “these white walls represent all of eternity, and this”…here he took the marker and put a single pin point mark on the huge white canvas. From where I was at, I couldn’t even see the mark, but I knew it was there… “This represents all the years you will live on earth. Your whole life, and in fact all of creation’s total existence, fits in that small pen mark. The brief moment we are here,” pointing at the mark, “decides where we will spend all of this time,” sweeping his arm around the gym. “So that’s why you need to choose carefully. Choose your friends carefully, and choose what you do with your time carefully, as those decisions will affect an even greater decision to come. ”

I think I was 8 or 9 years old, so I have had 35 years to think about what was shared with me that day. I’m sure I’ve left details out, and I know the speaker was much more eloquent than I have represented. But, the message is still as relevant to me now, as it was then. I have a greater understanding of the details in what was shared, but it is with a childlike innocence my Father calls me to Him, and that I continue to long for those days walking the golden streets, and breaking bread with my brothers and sisters.

Signed, Forgiven

A Message from the President & CEO

POSTED ON October 20th, 2014  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Devon_Headshot_UpdatedSticking to Our Vision

It is that time of year again, football is being played at every level, from Pee Wee to Professional and all the emotions are on displayed from delights to disappointments. One thing all these teams have in common is that they have a vision of what they want to accomplish this year. The delights come when they are moving in the direction of their vision and the disappointments come when they move away from it. In my playing days I have been on both sides of this emotional spectrum of going towards the vision and then going away from it.

God blessed Sports World ministries with a visionary founder like Doc Eshleman who gave God’s vision to Sports World Ministries. We have also been on both sides of this emotional spectrum in respect to our vision. Today our effort is to continuously move in the direction of the vision, which is having a presence on every available school campus, encouraging and challenging students through the message of Hope. We are a seed planting ministry who always seeks to pass the baton to local groups for discipleship and Christian mentorship.
This year our theme is taken from Proverbs 29:18, which says, “where there is no vision people perish.” This year our goal is to plant the seeds of Christ to over 300,000 students and then reach out in the community to pass the baton as much as possible to local groups. God has given us an awesome program, similar to the VIP program, called Adopt-A-School. Through these programs, we are able to have better access to the schools, more funding and people to connect us to these groups. God has made it easy. When we don’t do His vision, we will not receive the provision the way He intended but when we do, we will see great provision.

Praying God’s Best for You,

Devon McDonald

Get to Know Our Two New Pros

POSTED ON October 20th, 2014  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

adrian branch and michael morrisonAdrian Branch & Michael Morrison Rejoin the Team

Adrian Branch and Michael Morrison are the two newest Pro Speakers here at Sports World. They may sound familiar to you because they are in fact returning to Sports World. Both Adrian and Michael were Pro Speakers in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s.

Adrian Branch played guard/forward at the University of Maryland where he was the third all-time leading scorer. Adrian went on to be drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1985 before going on to play with the LA Lakers the following season. In 1987, Adrian played with the likes of Magic Johnson and Kareen Abdul Jabbar as they went on to win the NBA Championship. Adrian’s pro career also included time with the NY Nets, Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Along with speaking for Sports World, Adrian is an ESPNU College Analyst. He is married to his wife Kim and has three children: Adrian, Kylie and Kori.

Michael Morrison played shooting guard at Loyola University where he was the pre-season player of the year in 1988. Michael went on to have a career in the NBA with Phoenix Suns, Washington Bullets/Wizards and Dallas Mavericks.

In addition to speaking to students for Sports World, Michael is the Talent Development Director of Nike Pre Draft camp. He is married to his wife Harleda and has four children: Tylia, Johanna, Nicholas and Mikayla.

A Look Inside A Unique Outreach

POSTED ON October 20th, 2014  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

A Look Inside a Unique Outreach

Charity OutreachOver the past several years, I have had the privilege of meeting many Sports World teams and Team Captains all across the US. Each Outreach is unique, and the Father works in incredible ways through His people. I am so thankful to be a part of this powerhouse group who impact students and faithfully challenge them with the Message of Hope!

Although each trip is different, one recent outreach stands out. Dan Kessler of Langhorne, PA served as the Team Captain. Dan’s approach was different, and I was honestly a bit skeptical at first. All our programs were scheduled to take place in private schools. Personally, I relish the opportunity to take Good News to those who do not have much exposure to the Truth: prisons, inner city schools, athletic groups, and Boys and Girls Clubs are some of my favorite places to share.

Region 7 Outreaches

POSTED ON June 24th, 2014  - POSTED IN Gulf Coast Region

A high schooler writes:  “Most powerful speaker we’ve had. I’m inspired and determined to live a life of drug abstinence.” – High School Student

Our Pro Speakers are gifted in the ability to make students feel safe, inspired, and more focused on things that are important in their lives such as succeeding in school, caring about others and not giving up in this crazy world we live in today.

Won’t you join with me today to reach out and touch the life of students in your area?  Please call and find out how you, too, can make a positive difference in your community today.

Contact: Don Spann, dspann@sportsworld.org

Region 5 Outreaches

POSTED ON March 22nd, 2014  - POSTED IN Eastern Region

A 5th grader writes:  “You are now my hero!  J  You made me feel safe and that I can do anything.”

Followed by an 11th grader:  “My parents, divorce, custody agreement, drama. –Thank you for coming!”

Our Pro Speakers are gifted in the ability to make students feel safe, inspired and more focused on things that are important in their lives such as succeeding in school, caring about others and not giving up in this crazy world we live in today.  Even teachers respond:  “I hope that it would stick and that the kids would reach for the stars!  You were great!  Thanks!”

Won’t you join with me today to reach out and touch the life of students in your area?  Please call and find out how you, too, can make a positive difference in your community today.

Contact: Jean Sample jsample@sportsworld.org