FRESNO, Calif.— “We never cease to be amazed at what surprises God allows us to experience here,” say Sam and Darlene Farlow of Westwood Baptist Church. One of those surprising things came during the church’s soccer camp.
Sam, a church planter with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, is pastor of Westwood Baptist. The church had never conducted a soccer camp before, so they weren’t sure what to expect.
Pastor Farlow says, “Our goal was to reach out to less spiritually minded families who wouldn’t be interested in a Vacation Bible School for their kids but would send them to a soccer camp. I originally had planned to shoot for 50 kids; but I must admit that my faith was too small when I went online to order the soccer balls. I ordered only 40 (fearing that I would be stuck with a lot of $10 balls with no one to pay for them).”
He attributes his lack of faith to the camp’s timing. “We had just done a VBS two weeks earlier, and Darlene and I had been back in the Midwest for ministry and vacation for four weeks prior to VBS, so we had not done sufficient door-to-door work to assure more participation.”
When the day of soccer camp arrived, 36 children showed up. However, due to unexpected circumstances in the lives of the seven coaches, the coaching staff varied between only three and five people for the sessions Monday through Friday.
“I reckon God knew all about those coaching needs and thus didn’t send us more kids than we could handle,” Pastor Farlow says.
“Here’s the surprising part,” he says. “Out of the 36 kids, 11 indicated their desire to have Jesus Christ become their Savior and Lord! . . . Several waited in line for six or seven minutes to tell me that good news. One mom stuck around after almost everyone else was gone to tell me how much their family needed to get back into honoring God with their worship and study of God’s Word (after years of doing nothing as a family!).”