The late George Carlin had a wonderful routine about the differences
between football and baseball.
“The objectives of the two games are totally different,” he explained. “In football,” Carlin said in a tough military voice, “the object is for the quarterback, otherwise known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz even if he has to use the shotgun.”
Carlin then switched to a much softer, kinder voice and said, “In baseball, the object is to go home and be safe. I hope I’ll be safe at home.”
At a recent University of Miami game, I was talking to a few other parents of athletes about what it’s like to watch our kids perform “on the public collegiate stage.” We sit in the stands amongst emotional fans and can’t help but overhear both praise and disparagement spewing from strangers’ lips. At any particular moment, your child is either great or terrible. “There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground” was an agreed upon statement. Sometimes, we wish we could just grab up our kids and like Carlin said, “go home and be safe.”
Of course, our young athletes would have nothing to do with that. They are competitors and something deep inside drives them. They are always their own biggest critics; demanding more of themselves than any unreasonable fan. No one is more disappointed with a poor performance than the competitor himself. And while we parents sometimes wish we could whisk our children home to safety, the truth is, we’ll stand in the fire with them. We fully understand that all too often, the only encouragement they hear is from mom and dad.
I couldn’t help but make a similar connection when talking with one of our national missionaries in Cuba.
Noel has a “normal” job as an accountant but his “real” job, he said with a huge smile, is starting a house church. Of course, the emotional “fans” think he’s nuts. “He doesn’t know the first thing about starting a church,” the critics say. “Besides,” they murmur, “Noel’s not even a pastor.”
But like our athletes, there is something deep inside that drives Noel. The naysayers, critics, and obstacles don’t seem to phase him much. He simply pushes forward having a clear sense of the ministry to which God has called him. Needless to say, it is a joy to help people like that.
Noel is very bright, motivated, and passionate about proclaiming the Good News in his community. We are thrilled to say he is one of our “Five Dollar National Missionaries.” So, we are investing $5 per month in him as well as some 500 others in Cuba right now. Those few dollars provide a steady stream of on-the-job Bible training, resources and encouragement and is exactly the type of help they need.
We do not take our national missionaries out of their culture, pay for any of their living expenses, or send them to seminary anxiously hoping that in a few years, they’ll be ready to “get on the field.” What we do is provide the ongoing Bible training and resources they need to be an integral part of “building up the church, the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12) right now, today.
You should know that 10 families are now coming every week to hear the Gospel in Noel’s house church. But wait, it gets even better. Right now, today, we are helping some 500 “Noel’s” in Cuba alone. But wait, it gets even better. That number could swell to over 2,000 over the next couple years!
Five dollars sure doesn’t seem like much. Can’t you hear the critics? What can you possibly accomplish with five little dollars? Well, they’re right…we can’t do much with $5. But in God’s hands, $5 is helping plant churches, reach prisoners, care for widows and orphans, and joyfully proclaim the Good News in a multitude of other ministries.
It’s amazing what God is doing with five little dollars. Thank you for partnering with us. And remember, your gift will only last…forever!