HITTING ONE OUTTA THE PARKThey call him the home run
hitter because, when this 6-foot-7, 280pound softball player steps up to the
plate, its almost a sure bet that hell send it over the fence. God has given me
a gift for hitting the ball really far, he says. Steve Butler, a flight
simulator technician, uses his unique athletic gift to share Christ with
Steve works with an organization called Messengers Prison
Ministry. In the spring and summer he and his teammates travel to prisons
throughout Texas and surrounding states, playing slow-pitch softball with teams
composed of prison inmates.
They also set up basketball and arm wrestling tournaments the rest of the
year. On most weekends Steve and his teammates can be found on the softball
diamond playing against imprisoned drug dealers, car thieves and other
The inmates cant wait until the Christian sissy new guys come so they can
whup up on us, says Steve. The inmates quickly learn that these sissies know
how to play ball and rarely lose a game.
After every game, the ministry players huddle up to read scriptures, share
testimonies and pray with the inmates. By playing ball with them we earn their
respect and they want to listen to what we have to say, Steve says. Ive seen
tough, hardened criminals break down and cry when they realize that Christ is
the way to real freedom.
Steve started playing softball in the air force when a friend introduced him
to the sport. I eventually got addicted to the game, admits Steve. Everything I
did was consumed with hitting home runs and hitting the ball farther.
When he got out of the service and began working for an airline company, all
his free time was spent playing softball. He played in tournaments all over the
country from January to November.
He also did demonstrations for a popular softball equipment company. All I
could see was endorsements and money, he admits.
In the fall of 1997 the Lord started dealing with me to use softball to be a
In 1998 a friend invited him to play ball at a prison in Fort Walton Beach,
Florida. I was so scared I didnt hit a single home run in our first double
header, recalls Steve. The inmates were heckling me the whole time.
I didnt share my testimony that day, but I saw the other guys sharing
theirs. Inmates were committing their lives to Christ, and that made a huge
impact on me, says Steve. Before I went home I yielded my life to this
ministry. Five weeks later Steve had put together a team in Texas and was
setting up tournaments.
I used to play softball for menow I play for Christ.
ONE HOME AT A TIMEIts the American Dream. A young man
climbs his way up the corporate ladder from the mailroom to the vice presidents
Hes got a nice job and a great familyits everything a man could want.
After 27 years of living that dream as a banker, Walter Mickels is doing his
most fulfilling work ever and helping others in the process.
As a national missionary for the North American
Mission Board (NAMB), Walter is responsible for planning and coordinating the
logistics for World Changers youth mission projects.
He travels to cities throughout the country, arranging for meals and
lodging, plus building materials needed, for a national project.
His responsibilities include educating African-American churches about youth
mission opportunities available through World Changers and NAMB.
World Changers gives students a hands-on missions experience while helping
to eliminate sub-standard housing.
Ive seen how God works in the lives of students and adults when theyre doing
these service projects for a week, says Walter. They reach beyond themselves
and minister to strangers.
Walter got his first taste of missions at the age of 41 at a World Changers
project in Weslaco, Texas.
A friend invited him to go with a group of youth from their church during
the summer of 1991.
Things have never been the same for Walter since.
The Lord did something in my life that week, he shares.
That was my first year to do a mission trip, and I havent missed a year yet.
It was the beginning of a total change in my life.
In 1998 he felt God calling him to work as a national missionary. This was
not on my list of things to do, he admits. I was content where I was, but the
barriers I threw up kept coming down. Walter realized that God was leading him
to be a part of World Changers full time.
Ive learned to be sensitive to opportunities presented to me that are
outside the norm, Gods way of exposing me to something new and different, says
You just never know when it might change your life.
More freedom at New Freedom than rock n rollAs a
studio musician, Steve Carroll played with some of the hottest rock bands of
the early seventies, including Three Dog Night. Now Steve seeks to glorify God
as worship leader and pastor of New Freedom Fellowship in Rockmart,
It was music that eventually led Steve to a revival where the preacher was a
longhaired hippie with a rock n roll praise band. Steve went night after night,
and on Friday he made a decision to follow Christ. After that, I
tried to live as a Christian in a secular business for three years but finally
had to make a break from it, says Steve. It was hard for me to remain
consistent with church, because I was on the road all the time. So I quit and
moved home to Denver, Colorado.
When he got home his father volunteered him to play music at a local church.
Eventually the church asked Steve to come on staff as the music leader and
I prayed that God would settle in my heart the issue of whether I was called
to serve Him in this way, and He answered by giving me the verse John 15:16. I
believe that we are all called to serve. Steve has been serving the Lord ever
Two years ago he and his family helped start a church in Rockmart, Georgia.
I felt the need for a new type of church with a new style of worship, explains
Steve. We wanted to reach people with a come-as-you-are type of church. Steves
family and about 60 people from the area began meeting in a small community
center in June 1999. They quickly started running out of room. A year later
they moved into an empty building in town.
God just really provided our needs for the church, says Steve. We
received 250 chairs, a pulpit and some other used furniture from First Baptist
Church, Atlanta, and First Baptist Church, Roswell, gave us their old communion
ware and Lords Supper table.
Steve says that the focus of New Freedom Fellowship is to reach people and
make disciples. Our people have a real heart for ministering to the needs of
The church is seeking to systematically go to every neighborhood and knock
on every door.
We really want to reach the unchurched with the life-changing gospel.
More than Bonjour!Bonjour! That was the extent of
Danny Moores knowledge of the French language when he moved to Montreal in
August 2000. I couldnt even read a menu at McDonalds, he admits.
But Danny doesnt let the language barrier keep him from
sharing Christ with students in Montreal. I know more French than I did when I
first got here, and Im learning a little bit all the time.
As a Mission Service Corps volunteer, Danny works with students at two new
churches in the Montreal area. At Impact Church, located in downtown Montreal,
his ministry focuses on reaching students who attend local universities. Danny
works with a team of missionaries whose goal is to gain a presence on all four
of the major universities in Montreal. The city recently passed Boston as the
city in North America with the most college students. The need is very great
here, says Danny. There is such a small amount of Christian influence on these
campuses. Danny leads weekly Bible studies at Concordia University, its
satellite campus, and John Abbot College.
He also works with the youth at Renaissance Church, a new English-speaking
congregation situated on the West Island of Montreal. Traveling between
downtown Montreal and the West Island is a daily occurrence for Danny. Its
almost like being in two different countries, he says, adding that Montreal is
very international and the West Island is predominantly English.
There are so many different directions, places and things that I could get
involved in doing, says Danny. I guess thats what happens when you are in an
extremely un-evangelized location.
So what would make a young man from Kansas pack up his belongings and move
away from his family and friends to a place where he can barely order a Big
Mac? I realized awhile ago that God had given me a desire to be in full-time
ministry, but I didnt know exactly what form this would take, says Danny. I
spent a lot of time praying and reading, and before I really knew it, God
placed in my heart a desire to reach Canada.
There is tremendous need here. Thats why its so important to follow the way
that God leads. He knows which way is best for His glory.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC