Very cool and a bit lengthy God story we want to share on this post today. We think it will be worth your time.
Today God has answered a prayer that has been prayed for almost 10 years.
Our family moved to Brasil in 2002. About a year later Garrett decided he wanted to be a professional soccer player. In Brasil almost every single boy wants to be a professional soccer player and Garrett was 6-7 years old so, at the time, we didn't think much about it. It's what Brasilian boys want to be when they grow up.
What we were beginning to realize was that Garrett is a prayer warrior. Ask him to pray for something and he will pray, without stopping, until God gives His answer.
An example, at the beginning of 2008 we had a bomb of a car. Maybe the worst car we have ever owned and we've had some bad ones. We bought it towards the end of 2006 when we found out we were pregnant. We didn't pray about it. Big mistake. A deal was offered to us and this was, we thought at the time, the only car big enough to hold our soon to be family of 8.
We lost our baby at the beginning of December in 2006 and were stuck with this lemon (Brasilians call bad cars pineapples).
Back to the beginning of 2008, a brother asked us what we needed for our ministry car wise. He was visiting from the states and rode in our lemon and knew that it wasn't safe for our family. We told him two good used cars but we had no money to do that. He reminded us that our God is big so we need to ask big and let God show His goodness.
I mentioned this to Garrett and every time he prayed he asked God for two good, used cars. He was more consistent, persistent in his prayers than I was. He's always been like that. He prayed almost every day, if not every day, for two good, used cars.
In January of 2009 God blessed us with our second good, used car. We still have both of them (one is 11 years old and the other is 8 years old) and neither has given us hardly any problems.
Back to today.
Today Garrett begins playing with a new soccer team in our city. It's a professional team and Garrett is going to play on the junior pro team. He's never done that before and I wanted to share how this happened.
I'm sharing to encourage you to pray, like Garrett, without stopping and watch what God will do. I also share to show how cool God is and how He likes to do things sometimes.
About six years ago we were at our neighborhood gas station. As the guy pumped our gas (everything is full service here) we began a conversation. It usually takes one word out of my or my girlfriends mouth for people to know we aren't Brasilian. He asked where we were from. He was from Bolivia. So here was an English speaker and Spanish speaker having a conversation at the gas station in Portuguese.
I found out this guy, Mário, was a Christian. I invited him to come to our mid-week Bible study. He and his wife came. Pretty soon his entire family was coming during the week and to our house church worship on the weekends.
The gas station was less than 1km from our house. One night I was driving home and saw this brother's daughter walking home from her job at Blockbuster, which was next door to the gas station. I stopped and asked if she needed a ride home. She accepted and I took her home.
I dropped her off, Mário came out to say hi and I started to leave. Except the car wouldn't start. It died right in the middle of the street. It was so big and heavy (it was basically a school bus) and the road was in such a weird shape that we couldn't move it. We got more people and finally got it straight on the street so a tow truck could pick it up.
I asked my brother if he knew of a good mechanic. Our guy was good but we were finding out that he was more of a body man than a under the hood guy.
Mário referred me to a guy named Junior. So we called a tow truck and around 11:30 that night he picked up our lemon and took it to Junior.
The next day we went to Junior's and Mario introduced us.
We've been with Junior ever since. He fixes things right the first time. We've never had to go back and have him do something he's already done.
Junior has become a good friend. He is very funny and fun to be around. He doesn't call me Kevin. He calls me the American. He's generous. He gave us free tickets to every soccer game last year to see our favorite team play. Every one. He's also fixed our cars for free before. Don't know why, he just did. Junior is a people person. I think he knows everyone. Seriously.
Last year he was talking to me about Garrett and asked where he practiced soccer. I told him and he said the place wasn't good. He told me if he ever wanted to try out for a pro team to let him know and he would call the president of this other soccer club in town.
We got back from the states in January. A couple of weeks later Machado, Garrett's coach/trainer, and I went to see Junior.
We asked about this other soccer school and he called the president while we stood right there.
Because of Junior, Garrett is getting to walk right on the junior pro team. You normally have to show up for a test to see if you are good enough. If you are, then you get invited to play. If not, then they tell you to try again later or you can join a soccer school (anybody can play if you pay money). Because of the word of Junior our son gets to go right on the team today. Of course he has to earn the right to stay but getting to bypass all the red tape is an amazing blessing and it takes a lot of the pressure off.
Since Junior introduced, by phone, I've spoken with the president a few times. He's a very nice guy and told me, the last time we spoke, that everything is set up for Garrett's first practice today. If for some reason there is any kind of problem I'm supposed to tell the coach that Garrett is referred by the president. How cool is that?
Okay, so why do I share all of this?
Because Mário and his family only stayed as part of our group for a very short time. Our family went on furlough one year and when we came back we found out that he and his family went back to their old church family. We had no problem with that. They were saved before we met them. They decided to be a part of our group and then decided to go back to their old church family. That's okay. God didn't send us here to save the saved. Or try to grow this church family by bringing in other Christians from other church families. God asked us to come to Brasil to share the Good News with people who don't know Jesus. Mario and his family were going to heaven before we ever knew them.
So why share? Because of how God used Mário to lead us to Junior. If I had never met Mario, I never would have met his family. If I didn't know his family, I would never have given his daughter a ride home. No ride home, no broken down car at their house. No broken lemon, no call to Junior. No call to Junior, no new friendship. No new friendship, no walking on to the junior pro team today.
You see how God answered that prayer? To us it's obvious how God used our brief relationship with Mário (and even our lemon of a car) to bring about His answer to Garrett's (and our) prayers.
The world would call it coincidence. We know better.
We don't share to brag about our son. We are super proud of him, in all aspects of his life, and believe he is a really good soccer player - but how could we brag about what is happening today? God did everything through prayer. Everything.
We have no idea where this will go. We would love to see Garrett's mission field be the soccer field as an adult, just like it is now as a teenager but only God knows where this will go.
And we, Garrett included, are okay with the not knowing. Like Garrett said yesterday, "I've been praying for this my whole life.....I shouldn't be nervous." He will give his absolute best, play his brains out, give 100% and see where God takes it.
Garrett knows that God's hand has been in this. We've talked about it many times.
God answers prayers. Sometimes it's in an instant. Sometimes He answers but it takes a long time. Sometimes his answer is no but He will give an answer.
And, just so you'll know, He takes 6 year old prayer requests very seriously.
Please pray for Garrett today to have God's peace and joy as he starts down this new road.
And feel free to drop him a note of encouragement as well.