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The Answer

By the Rev. Heather Miner, North Long Beach Christian Church

Heather MinorFor Lent I gave up the apple fritter I used to buy every Thursday on my way to church.  I would stop for that sweet crunchy goodness from Grandma’s Donuts on the corner of Cherry and Market because on Thursdays I’m here until 9:30pm with our Basketball Outreach.  It takes a lot of energy to keep going!

Part of me felt empty inside because the outreach didn’t seem to be doing what I first intended.  I conceived of this Thursday night group as being for women who have aged out of formal basketball programs and need space to play.  Afterwards, we would sit around and share the stuff of our lives.  That’s how it was for the first 6 months.  But then men started to come and the gym filled up.  I couldn’t tell them to go away because the men are so kind.  They filled out the teams so we could have a full court game (much preferable to a game of 2 on 2).  Still, there’s no time for me to sit around and talk about life as I try to keep the games going, one after the other, so all get a chance to play.   

A donut seemed necessary. 

These past two months I tried to find someone who would take the men to another night asking two of our male partners in ministry.  I figured a woman pastor would do better relating to women.  But neither have acted on my request and, I think, this is God’s plan. basketball2

As we left last Thursday, one woman wasn’t sure how to get to her car.  So I turned to one of the young men and said, “Why don’t you walk her to her car?”  He smiled and did just that. 

That’s when I understood.  I was looking for solutions outside of the community God sent to me on Thursdays, even outside of myself.   But the answer is with those who come, those who are willing to work with me to expand the outreach, and those who understand that we do this so others might feel God’s love.   They have been here all the time.  They call me pastor.  I have been given the opportunity to guide the young men and young women so that they can be like Christ to one another.  Suddenly, I don’t need a donut to taste the sweetness of the life I’ve been given. 

Sometimes what we need most comes from the inside!  Thank you God!

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