The Provision and Promise of God: Your Labor Is Not In Vain

Story By Austin Mawby - An AT3 Apprentice

The Provision and Promise of God: Your Labor Is Not In Vain

By Austin Mawby

AT3 2 year Apprentice

March 2022

Genesis 12:1-9, 13:14-16, 15:1-21

(Other verses that speak to this situation: 1 John 5:14-15; Proverbs 3:1-8, 16:9, 19:21, 21:31)

When I had first committed to doing this apprenticeship, I could not have guessed that I would be coaching a university’s American football team. It was funny though because I did bring my whistle and referee jersey from the U.S. as a joke. I can only imagine God having a good laugh at that knowing what He had in store for me all along. The opportunity began with engaging students on campus and running into some students who were wearing uniforms and tossing up the “pigskin” as we say in the States. After some introductions and discussion these two guys asked if I would be willing to coach the team. This really threw me off as my idea of coaching was a full time job. It made me a bit hesitant considering I didn’t come to coach American football, but to minister to university students. After much prayer and discernment, I ended up accepting the opportunity and moving forward with the team. Being that I had played the sport in a state like Texas, the athletes grew fond of me and were wanting to get to know me. I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest as I don’t like being the center of attention, nor did I want to come into that place trying to act like I was some professional here to change everything that they were doing or had established. As time continued and relationships grew, I continued to reach out, connect, and follow up with these men on the team not sure what God was doing in the midst of it all.

We recently held an American football camp for these guys bringing over a division one American football team from the U.S. The way God provided for this was absolutely nuts! There were multiple ways in which God chose to establish these plans through His provision. One of them being that the team from the states was also looking to give their students an opportunity to have a cross-cultural experience somewhere, and they had already budgeted to make it happen. So when we had reached out to people we know that have ties to the team, and they took it to the coach, they were so excited and were immediately on-board! As we began to plan logistics and the camp itself, the weight of it all was exhausting.But, as we began to spread word of it to the team here, they were getting really excited as they were explaining how this was an opportunity of a lifetime for them! Once the team arrived and we began the five day camp, there was much anticipation of how God was going to move in these students' hearts. By day three, guys on the team here were starting to engage in conversations over faith and some even asked if we could start a bible study with some of the guys on the team. It was incredible! I was truly lost in the midst of all the excitement! Not only that, but as the days went on conversations continued and relationships deepened. God was truly moving through this event and through these athletes. So much so, that by the end we had guys getting emotional as they were expressing their deep gratitude and appreciation for what we had allowed them to experience through this event. One even said that this was the best moment of their entire time in university. It was hard for me to not get emotional myself as they were sharing these things with me. In that moment, I felt some of that inexpressible joy that the scriptures speak of. I mean, this was exactly the kind of impact I had been praying for God to give since I arrived here almost a year ago. Through all the toil and heartache, through all the failures and successes, God was at work. If there is one thing I have learned from this experience, it is that the path of faith is a rugged one, and almost always more demanding than we expect. It’s there, where the rugged path of faith, the hard way that leads to life (Matthew 7:14), ultimately leads to “fullness of joy and…pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). So press on and stand firm, brothers and sisters, and know that your labor is not in vain. Your God is faithful to His promises.