Time for Tip-off
What do you enjoy? Reading, watching movies, cooking, baseball... obviously, the list is endless. As you think about that, wouldn't it be great to use your "hobby" for the glory of God? The answer is a resounding YES! I love sports. I always have and I guess I always will. Sports has a way of bringing people together in a way which few things do. While playing, you are just a ballplayer... everyone is equal and that's always a good thing.
Basketball is my first love. While my skills are fading fast with age, the desire to play is still there. I've played basketball with David Trickett for years and I was extremely excited when he mentioned that he was adding basketball to C.H.A.R.M.'s sports program. I had participated in volleyball outreach events and knew that the men and women were very competitive.
I was expecting the same to be true with basketball. Fortunately, we have a great group of guys at Houston's First Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church that are also good basketball players. Not only do they "walk the walk.
Malcolm Marshall (Mista Excelsius) and the Men of IFI
Our first adventure took place in May at the Carol Vance unit in Sugarland. Of course, there was some good natured trash talking as we began but our incarcerated brothers didn't realize how good we were and we stole the day. But that wasn't what was important; we played good clean games, we bonded, ate chow together and worshipped together.
Basketball was the vehicle God used to bring men on the outside together with men on the inside to share life. Malcolm Marshall AKA "Mista Excelsius" led the men in a time of worship and then challenged them not to just wear the title of Christian but live it out and to be real men of God. It was great.d
Shedrick and Melvin Adams, Old Rivals-Good Friends
Our second adventure took place in June at the Darrington Unit near Rosharon. Again we had a group of guys that play or had played at Houston's First and Second Baptist Church.
It was definitely a talented group and we needed every ounce of talent because the men we played at the Darrington unit were very good. We fielded a team made up of guys like me, past our prime, guys that were in their prime and guys that were still in college. Our ability to compete with our brothers immediately opened the lines of communication and any anticipated barriers between us were non-existent. Another barrier breaker was the presence of Melvin Adams, the former Globetrotter.
Malcolm Pierre and His New Friend
Not only did Melvin wow everyone with his amazing tricks with the basketball, his ability to play the game but also with his ability to communicate God's love in a funny and challenging way. Along with Melvin we all bonded and worshipped the Lord. It was another great day.
Our mutual love for a game allowed us to interact in a way that ministered to all of us. God is truly good and has provided us with the opportunity to minister while doing something we love. I can't wait for the next opportunity to play, even if it's just for a few minutes.
- Malcolm Pierre, Advisory Board Member & Volunteer