We had the privilege to take four of our young men to the Microsoft Store at Oak Park Mall for our fourth job shadow this summer. At the store our young men learned how Microsoft started and the different roles the workers performed at the store.
We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the store, giving us free headphones, bags, and offering their help and expertise in how to run an effective business.
Yes 6:30 AM was the time we needed our young men to show up so we could play our first game at 8 AM. Guess what? We had 12 young men headed to Independence that morning and little did we know what a special day and weekend it would turn out to be!
This is one of our core values. Many times, urban youth quit when things get difficult. We spell this core value out at practice. We emphasize it every practice, game, and time we meet. Why? This core value will help indicate the future success of any person.
This weekend our young men persevered through all of our games:
SECOND GAME: We were down 10 before half. Michael Brown hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to put us down 7. Then we adjusted our zone, and our young men dominated the game, winning by 10. You could see the belief and confidence in our young men's faces as we played slowly made the other team crumble.
THIRD GAME: We dominated the entire game and won by 20.
FOURTH GAME (CHAMPIONSHIP): We persevered through the entire game and didn't give up. It was fun to see them play so hard even though they lost. Our young men took 2nd place beating every team in the tournament except for the champions. We had nothing but praises for our young men as this was the best tournament in our two years. They played with heart, showed their character throughout the entire tournament, and lastly they played with perseverance.
Great job Ballin' Bears!
This summer we brought seven young men and three coaches down to Kids Across America camp, affiliated with Kanakuk Kamps. Kids Across America is led by all African-American leadership and by intentional and Spirit-filled college counselors who desperately want to see our urban young men come to know Christ. Our young men interacted with other campers from Dallas, Houston, Nashville, and other urban areas.
The entire week is hyped, loud, and crazy fun for our young men. As the young men ran around camp, the coaches had the opportunity to connect with other urban leaders, spend quiet moments with Christ, and even participate in a gospel choir!
The highlight of the week was seeing four of our young men profess faith in Christ. They walked away different men. You could see it in their faces. Now we have young men reading the Proverb of the day, Romans, and even Genesis.
We even have two young men who want to attend Higher Ground which is a three-year discipleship program: In Year 1 they learn how to study the Bible and do missions. In Year 2 they participate in a short-term missions project at an urban area, and in Year 3 they perform a short-term missions project overseas. Wouldn't it be great to have our kids do this?
Thank you for all of you supporting and praying for our ministry! Without you, this would not have been possible. It is fun to see God grip hearts for Christ after we have been praying for some of these young men for two and a half years.
Please pray for volunteers who would 1-on-1 disciple our young men, a hunger for Gods' Word, and continued fruit in their lives.