Thanks for praying for Spring Training!

Dear Christ Church,

Thank you so much for your many prayers as I was away at Spring Training these past 9 days.  It was an amazing trip, but it is definitely good to be home. 

I want to share some highlights with you, because while I was the one down there, I know that you all were participating through your prayers on my behalf.  So here are a few highlights:

I got meet almost all the support staff and they were enthusiastically welcoming.  This is incredibly rare. Usually these people are standoffish and avoid chaplains.  But God broke down those walls and gave me some great opportunities with them. Similar to the players, the staff are also not able to get out to church very often since they are always working at the games.  God gave me several opportunities to share the gospel, talk about what it means to be a disciple of Christ and start building relationships. Angie also was able to make some great connections and was given a wide open door to pursue ministry with the women.  I’ve been asked to do a staff chapel as well before the players chapel and might also start leading a bible study for them. God is moving!  Please be praying for 4 individuals (3 guys and 1 lady) whom the Lord has really put on our hearts and seems to be drawing.

I got to meet several of the key decision makers in the organization.  This is even more rare! But again, God showed tremendous favor. They expressed gratitude for me stepping into this role and offered their support.  When I told my boss who I was meeting and what they were saying, he couldn’t believe it.

From day 1, the players were very friendly, gracious and welcoming.  By the end of the week they were asking great questions about what the year will look like spiritually.  There is a solid core of believers, as well as, some guys that are definitely seeking. I as blown away to see so much spiritual hunger and it made me really excited to start working with them.

We really connected with one couple in particular.  They said they’ve been praying for people like Angie and I to come.  They are starving for fellowship and discipleship. They are both leaders and want to be helped to bring the influence of Christ more and more into their teammates lives.  It was incredibly refreshing to hear of their hunger for the Lord and desire to be used. We are looking forward to getting to know them well and going deep in discipleship.

By far though, the most exciting thing was that I was able to work with a player and help him share the gospel with another teammate.  We had a 3 hour dinner on Thursday night pouring into this young man who was exploring the faith. We met again early Friday morning and after some more conversation this guy surrendered his life to Christ right there in the dugout.  There is just nothing like watching someone be born again right before your eyes! God really blew my mind when, as we opened our eyes after praying, we saw that the sun had come up. What a picture of what had just happened in this young man’s life.  And let me tell you, this guy is on fire for Jesus! He kept texting me the next few days about how he was sharing with his teammates about what God had done in his life. On Monday night 14 players gathered together on the Sand Key beach to witness his baptism. I got to share the gospel, this young man shared his testimony and then I baptized him in the ocean right at sunset.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

The night before I left, the President of Baseball Chapel pulled me aside and said that he had rarely seen anything like this during Spring training.  He said, “I know it was a long and hard process for you come to a decision to take this role, but please communicate to your church that God has clearly brought you here for such a time as this.”

Christ Church, thank you for praying.  I was on the front lines, but what happened down at Spring Training was a team effort.  Angie and I felt your prayer coverage and we are profoundly grateful for you

My experiences this past week have made me all the more committed to our mission here and increased my faith even more for what I believe God is going to continue to do through us.  This is a full week for us as we have our packing night on Thursday, Good Friday Service, Easter Outreach and Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday and then celebrate Easter Sunday. As we participate in these things, let’s keep believing that God can take ordinary steps of faithfulness to do extraordinary things!  Christ Church, the Savior lives and He is still saving!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff