Sunday, March 11, 2012

IF we only all believed in each other...

I was folding some laundry tonight (yes, I know I shouldn't do this on the Sabbath...) and turned on a BYU Hawaii devotional given by Douglass Brinley from May 2011. In it, he told the following story...

"A few years ago there was an unusual high school football game played in Grapevine, Texas (close to our mission).The game was between Grapevine Faith Academy, a Christian school and Gainesville State School which was located within a maximum security correction facility—a prison. (You have to understand that high school football in Texas is a religion. They put a football in the crib of each boy so he can get the feel of leather.)

The Gainesville State School of Correction had 14 players who played every game -- on the road (obviously).Their record was 0-8.They had only scored twice.Their 14 players were teenagers who had been convicted of crimes ranging from drugs to assault to robbery.Most had families who had disowned them.They wore outdated, used shoulder pads and helmets.On the other side, Faith Academy’s record was 7-2.They had 70 players, 11 coaches, and the latest equipment.

Chris Hogan, the head coach at Faith Academy, knew the Gainesville team would have no fans, and it would be no contest.He thought, “What if half of our fans and half of our cheerleaders, for one night only, cheered for the other team?”He sent out an email to faithful fans asking them to do just that.“Here’s the message I want you to send to these young men,” Hogan wrote.“You’re just as valuable as any other person on the planet.”

Some folks were confused about the coach's efforts.One player said, “Coach, why are we doing this?” The coach said, “Imagine you don’t have a home life, no one to love you, no one pulling for you.Imagine that everyone pretty much had given up on you.Now, imagine what it would feel like and mean to you for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you.”

The idea took root.On the night of the game, imagine the surprise of those 14 players from the prison when they took the field and there was a banner the cheerleaders made for them to crash through.The visitors’ stands had people sitting in them.The cheerleaders were leading cheers for them.The fans were calling them by their names.Isaiah, the quarterback—also played middle linebacker said, “I never in my life thought I would hear parents cheering me to tackle and hit their kid.Most of the time, when we come out, people are afraid of us. You can see it in their eyes, but these people were yelling for us.They knew our names." (Read the whole article on ESPN

This story brought tears to my eyes, because what is said here is so TRUE. What would (and will) the world be like if/when we were/are to all truly LOVE and BELIEVE in one another. This is what it really means to be Christlike - and it changes lives. Charity for our fellow brothers and sisters is an amazing thing. I have a LONG way to go, but what a good reminder and motivation to start... how many people can you "believe in" today? I bet it's more than you think.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thoughts on life...

Suppose that today were your last day on earth,
the last mile of your journey you've trod.
When you've counted it up, how much are you worth?
How much can you take home to God?
Don't count as possessions your silver and gold,
for tomorrow you leave them behind.
But all that is yours to have and to hold,
Are the blessings you've given mankind.

Found this poem in my email from a fellow service missionary, when I worked at the conference center a few years back. I really enjoyed my time there, and every so often wonder what happened to those wonderful people I got to serve with. LOVED my once a week mission, even though it seemed like it took a lot of time out of my already busy life, I know I was extremely blessed for my service. That's the way life is. We think we're giving, when really we are the ones getting blessed. :) Gotta love it.