From Brent and Dina
Wow, this last couple of months has been a whirlwind
of activity. It has been so busy in fact that we have been unable
to get a newsletter out till now so we are combining two issues
into one. In the last month and a half, I have been to 20 different
cities including Tallahassee and Bradenton, Fl, San Jose, CA, Fairbanks,
AK, Springfield, MO, Alexandria, LA and Hot Springs, AR just to
name a few.
I was doing mostly Upward Basketball Awardís Nights
(www.upward.com). For this last trip I left Denver airport on a
Saturday night and flew to Alaska and got to sleep at about 4:00am.
Then I did a show that night, went back to the airport for a 1:00am
flight to Chicago. I flew all night and got to my hotel in Chicago
at about 1:30pm and had a show that night and then flew home on
The week before, I squeezed in an eight-day mission
trip to Rome, Italy with 16 other folks. This was truly one of the
best mission trips I have ever been on. Kevin will share more about
the trip later in this newsletter.
God has been good but He has also had to be my Strength.
In my own strength I would never be able to do all that I have done
but 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, But He said to me, ĎMy grace
is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.í
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christís power may rest on me. That is why, for Christís
sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,
in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NIV)
Those two verses really say it all for me. So often
I pray, "Help me" and "I canít do this in my own strength, nor do
I want to so. You are going to have to do it." I think God honors
those simple yet honest prayers. God wants us to always be in a
position to lean on Him and not pursue things on our own. He is
waiting to help, if only we will ask.
Upward Basketball Shows
Upward Basketball has been such a blessing to me
and my ministry because it allows me to do what God has called me
to do: share the Gospel though my basketball shows especially
to young children. I want to share a few comments from some
of the Upward shows.
Thanks for doing a great job uplifting Christ
Monday. We had 15 salvations, 13 rededications, and two who want
more information about our church. Have a great year and I hope
you see a lot more people come to Christ from the other awards nights
and the camps you will be doing.
Here's some data on Awards Night. The numbers
may be higher, but these are the numbers we feel look reasonable:
23 kids asked Jesus to become Lord
7 adults asked Jesus to become Lord
8 adults interested in knowing how to become part of church.
Your show was great and I want to write a recommendation
letter for you.
This is just a sample of the 18 Upward shows I have
done recently. The shows were attended by an average of six to seven
hundred people with one having 1,300. The great thing about the
awardís shows is that you not only get the kids to come but also
the moms, dads, grandparents, etc.
The Fuqua's Prayer Requests
- The familyís health, Jaden and Dina are sick
- Trip to Ireland in late May
- Summer camps-Details and for high registrations
- Glenda Dellinger is a friend of mine from college
and a supporter of HOH. Her brother, Stan is dealing with heart
problems and her step-father, Jim has lung cancer and is going
- Deb Wadleís legal issues
- Joan Ferrier, my mother-in-lawís friend for whom
you have been praying, went home to be with the Lord
- To seek Godís Dream for the ministry and for
- Godís provision
- To schedule more basketball shows and camps
- Praise - Diane Winklerís health is much
- God continues to bring more opportunities
This issue focuses on the Prison Season and Team
Missionaries First, Players Second
Our prison season was a roller coaster ride this
year with the addition of new players and new ideas for the team.
Despite these changes the players made their motto, "Missionaryís
First, Players Second." This statement truly defined our season.
The raw numbers of the season only tell part of
the story, but they are a key building block for the future. This
year we were able to track all of our results through our follow
up partnerships with the Saints and Rocky Mountain Calvary. Hereís
what God did:
We played in 13 games with 7 being cancelled due
to lock ups or weather. That was frustrating. We had over 1700 inmates
attend our games. 84 indicated a first time decision for Christ,
221 already knew Christ and wanted a Bible Study, and 129 indicated
they wanted to know more about Christ. Thanks to our partners, each
of those responses received a letter if they filled it out honestly.
Praise the Lord for those results!
Basketball-wise our team went 7-5-1, which was one
of our best records in years. Playing prison ball is challenging
because our opponents are skilled, but unorthodox in their approach
to the game. Our team dedicated themselves to practice before the
season, which was an awesome step of commitment. Whether we played
terribly or we played awesome the main focus always went back to
showing Christís love to these inmates!
The big praise from this season is that for the
first time we able to really get organized because Hoops of Hope
now has enough staff to do so. The core group of men committed to
the ministry will set the tone for the future. Our partnerships
will enable us to go back and study how many inmates are still in
Bible Studyís over the next few years.
The highlight of the season was at a Federal Prison
where we had been playing for 5 years. After each game we left with
a discouraging feeling because the inmates would talk through halftime
and give little response. Well, this season we were asked to speak
earlier in the night. It was amazing because throughout the whole
presentation was silence! 11 men accepted Christ and our guys were
so pumped up. I truly believe that night was a result of the new
emphasis on prayer partners that each player had this season. Your
prayers for specific games are huge. Thank you all!!!
Please continue to pray for our team as we desire
to play better, become more unified, and learn how to more effectively
share our faith!
Team Italy 2004: "I'M ALL IN!"
The World Poker tour is the newest fad on American
TV. Despite the obvious fact that gambling is a sin many are intrigued
at the high stakes consequences of the game. The highest risk move
a player can make is to go "ALL IN" with their chips. This
is where you bet all your chips on a particular hand and if you
lose the hand, you lose all your money and go out of the game. They
say that ability to take the risk is what separates the great players
from the "dead money". This idea hit me in spiritual terms during
our trip to Italy. How many people are willing to go "ALL IN"
for Christ and what would happen if they did?
The answer to that question came on this trip when
we found out what a work God can do when we give it our all. Our
host, our players, our directors, and the Italians each went "ALL
IN". I Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink
or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."(NIV)
Our team had 10 players, 5 of which had never played with us before.
As I coached these ten men I began to realize that whatever I asked
of them they did and they did it to the fullest. On the court this
was the hardest working team I have ever coached. No matter what
the score or situation they worked hard and they worked as a unit.
For a team to gain such unity in a short 5-game span was amazing.
Each Italian team we played complimented their attitude and effort.
Our record ended up 2-3 with a buzzer beater keeping us from a winning
record. The hoops truly were only half the story.
Each night two of our players gave their testimony
and the Gospel in front of crowds of 200+. Each player took the
time to meet with fans and share their faith on the sidewalk or
even in the stands. Brent gave one or two ball shows each day as
well as sharing his testimony. One of the highlights was when our
team set up in a local park and just blasted out music as Brent
performed. We then had over 100 people watching and were able to
share the Gospel as well!
Tim Hall and I spent over 10 months praying, planning, and organizing
this trip. Once we left America a majority of my work had been done,
but Timís had only begun. Tim and Janet Hall went "ALL IN"
with excellent organization, planning and execution of our trip.
They arranged each game to partner with a local
church in order to give the small evangelical churches a presence
in their communities. The team was then able to do ministry in those
communities and fellowship with the Italian body of believers. Janet
prepared meals and breakfast every day. I can boldly speak for the
team when I offer a standing ovation! They took great care of us.
Tim also interpreted our testimonies and found opportunities to
share the Gospel to fans in the stands as well. Without a doubt
these were the best hosts I have had on any missions trip.
The first group of Italians I will mention is the Italian brothers
and sisters in Christ. Our team got to experience true hospitality
when we visited the local churches. The Italian women of the churches
prepared meals for the team. We are talking 8 course meals! They
wanted to express their appreciation and love through this gift
and they went "ALL IN". The meals were combined with a time
of great fellowship, which included many testimonies of how these
wonderful people came to Christ.
In Italy the Catholic Church has been the controlling
presence in the society, the families, and politics for centuries.
The evangelical church does not get to experience the mass conversions
we have become accustomed to here in the U.S. In Italy, people come
to Christ through relationships which last for years. The local
churches we visited were small in number, but large in hope, faith,
and spirit. God is at work in Italy and has given the church a much-needed
boost from the exposure they received on our trip.
The other Italians we met were those in the crowds
and on the streets of Rome with whom we shared the Good News. Response
cards were collected at each game and will be followed up by local
churches. One especially neat encounter was with a group of high
school girls on Wednesday night. Tim, Jay, and Noelle reached out
to these girls and shared the gospel. One of the girls then came
back to our game Friday and brought her mom! Praise the Lord!
The team also took in the great history of Rome
and enjoyed the sites. Rachel and I were blessed to have our parents
join us and give their all for the team as well. Other missionaries
teamed up with Tim to give time and resources that made the trip
go even smoother.
So when you get the chance to take a step of faith
and serve the Lord, what will you do? I hope your answer is "Iím
All In, Lord!"
Boaz's Praises/Prayer Requests
- Pray for the Halls, Simmons, and Cilanoís in
- Pray for the Ostia and Aprila Churches.
- Rachel and I are having a baby Girl, due Aug.
- Praise-I added a new camp for this summer
- Pray for my trip to Atlanta Conference I am trying
to make contacts for ministry.
- Pray for our support to increase, we have $1300/
month, we need over $3000 by August when Rachel stops working.