3 minute read

Play Ball!

Leaving the country and sharing the Gospel with strangers can be challenging, but members of FBC Midlothian are taking on that challenge. For three years now a group of 20 members have traveled to Bramsche, Germany to do mission work with the Evangelisch-Freikirchliche Gemeinde (Evangelical Free Church Community Baptist).

At the urging of Lance and Kim Spross, long time members of FBC Midlothian, the church partnered with Synergy Missions to help the congregation in Bramsche. The main goal of this mission endeavor was to reach the children of that town through a baseball camp. The love of the game draws kids to hear about the love of Jesus. The mission team share that love of Christ daily during team time Bible studies as well as through evening services and spending time in host homes.

Maria Borgmann, a participant in the camp for the past 9 years, shares,

“I started my journey with God because of this baseball camp. I have to admit I have had, and still have, my ups and downs, but I am extremely thankful that I am continuing on this journey.”

The baseball camp allows the 100+ kids from ages 8-22 to learn the basics of baseball through rotating skill stations, spending time learning about God’s love for them, and finishing each day with a game

of baseball. On the last day of camp, a tournament decides the champion team and medals are awarded.

“It still amazes me how quickly strong, lasting relationships are built between Germans and Americans over a week of baseball and sharing Christ,” says Lance.

The language barrier is crossed with the help of 20 local volunteers who give their time and skill to translate for the younger kids who attend camp. Maria admits the challenge of constantly switching between the two languages, but claims it makes the camp even more special to her to be able to have such a vital role.

“I think for us Germans, being a translator is the greatest experience we can make during baseball camp,” Borgmann said.

The evenings are a special time for campers and their families to come to the church and experience worship services. For some, it is their first exposure to the Gospel, as it is presented by members from FBC Midlothian or Olaf Petzel, the pastor of the host church. Mission Trip Team members know that worshiping with believers from a different culture allows for deeper connections to be made with the Holy Spirit.

And being immersed in a community that is so far away, yet similar in many ways also creates a special bond. Strong relationships are formed between FBC members and their German host families.

Staying in a stranger’s house for a week can seem daunting at first, but by the end of the week, everyone becomes “family” as the experience creates beautiful friendships that can last a lifetime.

“The way they opened their hearts to us and connected with us so quickly is something that only Christ could have ordained,” Jillian Stevens said.

Though coaching baseball takes up a substantial portion of the trip, the ultimate goal, of course, is to share the Gospel. Keeping that goal in focus takes mental and spiritual preparation, and that preparation pays off when the mission team members see the Lord work through them in incredible ways.

“I know baseball and spiritual principles, but on my own, I am useless,” Will Oliver said. “I returned home thinking that there is so much more that is accomplished when I allow God to work through me more versus doing it in my own strength and abilities.”

God calls us to “make disciples of all nations,” and this is not an exclusive to a few church members. It is a call to everyone who follows Jesus. Expanding our

sphere of influence and spreading His word is possible for anyone. A mission trip to Bramsche is just one way followers of Christ can leave their comfort levels to spread good news.

“One of the biggest takeaways from being in Bramsche and working with our partner church for 3 years is that God is writing His story in hearts all over the world and He allows us to be a part of that story,” Kevin Phillips, Discipleship Pastor of FBC, said. “The life-change in the students, the immediate connection with brothers and sisters in Christ, and the joy that overflows during the preparation and the trip itself are obvious ‘God moments’ that I will cherish.”

If you would like information on upcoming mission endeavors, both abroad or closer to home, contact Kevin at kevin.phillips@fbcmidlo.com