Basketball Camp Demonstrates Christ’s Love to Tsunami Survivors

Kids enjoyed shooting hoops and practicing their English.
More than 30 students from three elementary schools encountered the love of Jesus at a basketball camp sponsored by the Alliance team at the New Life Center (NLC) in Ishinomaki, Japan, August 6–8. The NLC is an outreach to those affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Volunteers from the United States and Japan assisted with the camp, which was held at Inai Elementary School. The event gave students the opportunity to practice basketball fundamentals as well as conversational English.

Campers experienced an outpouring of Christ’s love from believers who coached, served drinks and snow cones, registered participants, and taught English. In addition to interacting with Christ followers, students learned biblical truths creatively presented through puppet shows.

“While the event was sponsored by the NLC, it was staffed by Christian volunteers, including Japanese pastors, a Korean team, Harvard University students, and members of our sending church, North-Mar, in Warren, Ohio,” reported Alan Kropp, Ishinomaki team lead. “Truly, the group reflected the Church’s beautiful diversity.”

An Ishinomaki newspaper highlighted the camp’s positive impact. Also, the school principal asked if the NLC would consider hosting it again next year.

Upon the camp’s conclusion, each student received a certificate of completion. “Participants left not only with new friendships and skills but also with seeds of truth tucked away in their hearts,” Alan observed. “The NLC deepened its roots in the community it is here to serve.”

The outreach gave volunteers a renewed passion for sharing the good news as well as fresh insight about the power of a unified “Body of Christ to advance the gospel in a dark world,” Alan added.

—based on a report by Alan and Jill Kropp


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