As we began the journey to go into ministry full time 3 years ago...God placed a burden on our hearts for athletes and coaches in our own country. We were able to take athletes and expose them to short term missions with SCORE International in the Dominican Republic 7 years ago. We were able to watch these athletes gain a new perspective on life through these trips and felt like a difference could be made in their lives spiritually if they had someone pouring Christ into them daily where they were. We felt as though God had given us a burden & a vision to, Lord willing make a lasting impression on their lives. As we all know, not much can happen on any team if the head coach is not on board. So out of our burden for these athletes we want to have an impact on the coaches because their sphere of influence is far reaching. Tommy took over Nations of Coaches which was an pre-existing ministry created by the Executive Director of the NABC. He is a solid believer and created a ministry to minister to coaches & athletes. God had a plan we couldn't have dreamed up if we tried. All coaches in this country are a part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Jim Haney the Executive Director is their spokesman to the NCAA. Wow! The man whom every coach in this country knows created the ministry we would come to run with a vision that duplicated ours. God truly is AMAZING in His Plan, and I thank Him daily for giving us the courage to step out when we had no idea what was coming next.
I see where God was preparing me over 4 years of taking us to the Dominican every year, preparing me to not worry about money because month after month He supplied our needs even when on paper it didn't add up. Just situation after situation of Him proving His soverignty in our life. We absolutely loved being at Decatur Heritage and I still miss Tommy coaching to this day but KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt we are where God has called us to be right now. He says "I'm still coaching but I'm coaching the game of life now". As a result of the trips each summer with athletes Tommy was asked to do bible study for Mississippi State University Men's Basketball Team. He just ended his 3rd season doing bi-weekly bible study with the team & coaches and doing prayers and devotions before as many games as possible. We have seen a tremendous spiritual growth in this program as a whole and are excited to see what all God has planned in the future.
As you can see...it is a lot of information and I haven't even covered all of the miracles God has done as we have been a part of this ministry for 3 years now. He has seen us through every month financially using so many wonderful people to support us sacrificially!! He has given me faith like I have never had before that He will Provide for our needs!! If you have never taken a step of faith trusting God to meet a need that seems overwhelming to you...then I encourage you to ask Him where He would like for you to become more bold. He is FAITHFUL...all He requires of us is our surrender of control so that He may be exalted in our lives! This isn't always easy but trust me the blessings that come when you completely rely on Him is more than I can put into words! I do not have this mastered by any stretch of the imagination but as we are all a work in progress so am I! If we believe He is who He says He is...than we can KNOW every situation in our life is sifted through His Hands and He is ever present in our time of need! Hallelujah!!
As a result of our first trip to the Dominican Republic we bonded with a little girl, in the orphange we were ministering to, named "Yadilka". She was 3 years old and I have the most precious picture of her with my dad this year. As we returned year after year we became attached to her and she to us. We discovered she had an older sister named "Esmeralda" about 4 years ago and bonded with her as well. God broke our hearts for these precious little orphan girls and as Tommy & I have always had a heart to adopt we couldn't stop praying about trying to adopt these 2 precious souls. I can't explain how you connect with a couple of girls out of 130 in an orphanage, all I can say is God did it. As we prayed, we decided to take all three of our children to the Dominican on our last player trip, 2 years ago this August. We wanted our children to see where the girls lived and hope they could grasp them not having parents or a home to live in. We wanted the decision to adopt to be a family decision. As God would have it over the last 2 years it has become a family decision that we pursue adoption if "Jada" & "Izzy". My kids pray for them and have all consented their approval for us to adopt them if God would allow. Tommy's quote," I have thought of all the reasons why we shouldn't do this but God will not release me of it." We feel as though God has asked to step out and try to get these girls, even though it is very difficult to adopt from the Dominican Republic. As we looked at the statistics only 16 children have been adopted from the DR in the last 2 years. There are many risky hoops to jump through for this to take place but we are willing to try. We believe our God is bigger than any circumstance we could face and we are ok with whatever He allows or doesn't allow in this situation. I can't explain all of what is going on now but will report as soon as it takes place. We covet your prayers that God's will be done in the best interest of these 2 precious girls and that we trust His Plan no matter the outcome. I hope I will have lots more good news to report over the next few months and will keep you updated on any changes that occur:) Out of the book "Radical" by David Platt...here are thoughts about adoption that is proven to be our story.....
"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes." I can't explain it any better than this!!!!!!!!!