The biblical book of Nehemiah begins with Nehemiah (cupbearer to the king of Babylon) receiving a visit from his brother and other men from Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s homeland. Upon asking the men about Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant there, they told him that those who survived the exile were back in the province, but were in great trouble. They were disgraced because the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and its gates had been burned with fire. When Nehemiah heard these things he states, “I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” The news made Nehemiah so sad that even the king noticed and asked Nehemiah what was wrong and how he could help.
Nehemiah sent up a prayer before answering the king with a plan and some items that the king could help him with. His plan was practical – a letter for safe passage and timber for rebuilding the wall; sustainable – once finished, the wall could be maintained through regular upkeep; and burden lifting – the people of Jerusalem would no longer be in constant fear of attack.
This vision of Nehemiah also reflects three of Sports Outreach’s core values, that as we serve others we strive to be practical, sustainable and burden lifting. These values are emphasized in various project areas at each of our ministry sites, and collectively they can be viewed much like building a wall, brick by brick, layer by layer.
- Many of you are aware of our annual Christmas Outreach and the special joy that it brings both our international mission field and recipients. This is a practical plan that has also been burden lifting for the desperately poor people that are invited to be part of the outreaches. These Christmas Outreaches have proven to be a successful way to meet basic physical needs while also opening hearts and minds to the love of Christ and hope of the Gospel. We have included it in the boxes below as a consideration for a special one-time gift.
- In addition to the Christmas Outreach we are also listing several projects that we wish to complete in 2016. The plans for these projects were given to us through prayer and though we may not be physically weeping like Nehemiah, we are eager to see them finished. These plans take resources and manpower, just like finishing Jerusalem’s wall did in Nehemiah’s day. These plans also face much opposition at times—Satan does not like it when people are brought to health and wholeness through faith in Jesus.
Please look over the ideas below and pray about the possibility of helping us finish these practical projects, each of which is also sustainable and burden lifting. Through your prayers and support we can see these projects through to completion, bringing joy to many and giving the glory to God.