October 31, 2014

The “Mini World Cup”

By Brother Brad Butts

Playing soccer with the Mt Grace CYC in TobagoJPGOne of the 2014 Truth Corps stops was at the ecclesia in Mt. Grace, Tobago. It was the final week of the four week tour and you might expect that the team would be getting a bit weary after spending three weeks on the road; two weeks in Guyana and one week in Norfolk, Virginia. To the contrary, the team was still going strong as they began their work in Trinidad and Tobago.

This year’s team was devoted and conscientious in all respects, but one of their efforts stood out in particular. Part of the Truth Corps mission is to encourage the young people in each ecclesia they visit in addition to supporting the preaching effort of each ecclesia. While the usual Sunday School/CYC support took place there was an additional group of young people that were engaged by this year’s Truth Corps.

Across the street from where we were staying for the week there was a group of young people residing day and night at a community center. The group of 20 or so ranged in age from 3–17 years old! It turns out that they were members of a youth club from San Juan, Trinidad that were having a retreat on the smaller island of Tobago for two weeks. And, as we regularly walked right past this group on the way to the hall they would be playing soccer (football) in front of the center. As a result some friendly exchanges between the team and the visitors took place.

While I am not sure who invited whom a soccer match was organized, a mini world cup match if you will, between the “Trinis” (with a few locals added in) and the Truth Corps. While I was a bit skeptical of how this would work out I was assured by the Truth Corps leader (Bro. Allen Laben) that it would be a friendly match kept to a half hour or so. I was recruited to be the time keeper so the game would not go on for too long or become too rambunctious.

One of the Truth Corps members told me that the challenge to the locals was that if they lost the match, they would have to check out one of the Bible School classes that was scheduled for the next day. If the locals won, there would be no such obligation though they would be welcome to attend.

Well, there was no real danger of the local team losing though the North Americans (both brothers and sisters) acquitted themselves quite well (final score T&T 4 and Truth Corps 2). All were cheerful and congratulatory after the match and there was a group photo to mark the occasion courtesy of Sis. Myra “Photo op” Lucke.

But here is the main story. The kids from Trinidad showed up for the Bible School Classes the next day anyway! All were looking sharp and ready to learn something new. Bro. Matt Sturgeon and the TC members quickly organized the young ones and the older ones into two groups and presented 2 hours worth of classes to both. The new students joined us for lunch and sat in on part of the adult class after lunch. Several of the older students were paying very close attention to the topic.

As the group was from the island of Trinidad the TC determined which ecclesia was the closest and gave the whole group www.thisisyourbible.com business cards with the address and contact number for the ecclesia at Arima. One of the young people from this ecclesia was at the Bible School and was introduced to the group. The club meets every Saturday back home and there was some talk of trying to connect with the Christadelphian young people on one Saturday per month! While we are not sure what may come of this some seeds have surely been planted, and if it be God’s will He will give the increase.

All in all the Truth Corps demonstrated that they were “always ready to give an answer for the hope that was in them with meekness and reverence” (I Peter 3:15). And, they truly followed Paul’s instruction to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season . . .” (II Timothy 4:2). Their confidence and willingness to seize whatever opportunity the Almighty gave them to spread the Word was exemplary and inspirational to those of us who have been in the faith for some time.

So, perhaps the “Football Challenge” in the U.S. and the “Rugby Challenge” in the U.K. have their place as long as we can encourage our young people to keep in mind that “bodily exercise profiteth little (or for a little while), but godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Timothy 4:8)

May the Almighty bless the contacts that were generated and/or renewed from all of the preaching efforts of the Truth Corps and others this summer. May we continue to spread the good news about the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ as we return to our home ecclesias and communities.

Bro. Brad Butts (Link Brother for T&T)

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