Dr Christe Boen Mirikitani recalls a time when her mom, Judy Boen, when sitting by baseball great Albert Pujols in Sunday morning church worship. Judy – founder of Christian Family Day in Busch Stadium in St. Louis – with a desire to show love and encouragement to Albert and his family, had an idea: she asked him if a group were to travel to see him play in another city … would he acknowledge them? (Albert, with the Los Angeles, rarely plays in St. Louis.)
Albert assured her that he definitely would do so.
Thus was to be the beginning of an early tradition for some West (St. Louis) County Community Church members … and their guests.
The first weekend, in 2012, they traveled to Chicago to see Friday night and Saturday games.
In 2013 it was to Kansas City (and included Joan Hendrick and me).
In 2014, it was Atlanta.
On the Saturdays of those two Friday and Saturday games, Albert met his church friends for lunch and spent time with them.
The 2014 trip included a number of Down Syndrome families: some from St. Louis, some from Nashville, and some joining them in Atlanta. (Albert and Diedre are also Down Syndrome parents.)
Chiropractor Dr. Christe, serving as host of this Atlanta bus trip, brought a great report. A personable evangelist friend of the Pujols living in Atlanta, Tony Nolan, joined the lunch. In the past this same man had shared from the Scripture God’s plan of salvation following Saturday St. Louis’ Christian Family Day games in Busch Stadium. He was invited to also do the same on this particular trip.
Christe “emceed.” Albert Pujols summarized his story about his coming to saving faith in Jesus. Then Tony Nolan told the wonderful story of how Jesus died for our sins … and arose from the dead … to make provision for all of us to be forgiven of all sins and have the gift of eternal life.
With all bowing heads after the presentation … about 90 were present … Christe glanced to see that about 30 raising hands indicating that they had prayed to receive Christ into their lives!
So … it was a wonderful experience. Once again God used the attraction of sports as an occasion of individuals coming to faith in Jesus … and for others to grow in their faith! It was indeed ministry … powered by love and the desire to encourage … through the attraction of sports.