Like most junior high boys forced to sit through a school assembly, I usually did not pay much attention. Instead, I was usually busy thinking about that girl I was too scared to talk to or the homework assignment I should have done the night before. However, for some reason, there is one assembly I remember.
A group had come to demonstrate a sport they were hoping to make big in the United States. It involved kicking a ball woven out of bamboo over a net. It was like volleyball using the feet. It was called Buka Ball.
Although I was never coordinated enough to actually play the game, I remember thinking how cool the ball was.
Two days ago I was walking through a staging market in Bagan. In the midst of feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of vendors, something caught my eye. It was a ball woven out of bamboo. It was a Buka Ball!
I had to buy it. And, after a little bartering, I became the proud owner of the ball I had first seen sixteen years ago.
I hurried back to the bus, put away my bag, and set out to take revenge of my formerly uncoordinated self. It was time to show eighth-grade Chris how it’s done.
Unfortunately, I am still clumsy. My Buka Ball skills have not improved. In fact, might even be worse. But something far more exciting happened. Something far more inspiring…
As I began kicking the ball around, one of my classmates joined me. Then two guys from the market joined in. Then two cute children joined in. Within minutes we were playing…
We smiled. We laughed. We played.
It was beautiful. All the barriers fell down. We don’t speak the same language. We don’t follow the same customs. We live on opposites sides of the globe. But we knew exactly what to do. We knew how to play.
I have seen a lot of amazing things this week. I have stood at the foot of a fifty-foot gold statue. I have climbed up the side of a mountain to a 900-year old temple. I have seen some of the world’s wonders. Maybe it is the new father in me, but this was the most beautiful of them all.
God used a Buka Ball to connect his children.
Who knew a junior high school assembly in Illinois could create such a moment in Myanmar?
From early on in life my desire has been to follow God and serve Him in any capacity that was available to me. My grandparents, who actively involved me in the spiritual life of our family, raised me in a Christian household.
I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was nine years old. As a teenager I felt a strong, consuming desire to do more with my life, especially as it related to life within the staging church. After much prayer and spiritual counseling, I answered the call to preach when I was 16 and delivered my first sermon when I was 17, becoming the fourth generation of pastors/ministers in my family. Eventually, my responsibilities within the staging church increased. I have served as Youth Minister, Associate Minister, Assistant Pastor, Interim Pastor, and Senior Pastor in churches in Missouri and Texas.