Patrick Alyea (USA) served in sports ministry with OM Hungary from 2016 to 2018. Here he shares how the experience changed him forever.
Faith. Perseverance. Discipline.
When I look back at my two years serving in Hungary, these lessons stand most prominent in what God has taught me during this time.
Having the opportunity to serve with OM Hungary’s sports ministry as a softball/baseball coach and player was a life-changing opportunity, and although it sometimes felt like an emotional roller coaster ride, God used it to help me grow in ways that I will never be able to look back from.
Moving to a new culture, learning a new language and living on support are just a few of the ways in which God has helped grow my faith as I continue to learn to fully rely on Him in all that I do. It can be scary. It is definitely humbling. But more than anything else, it is freeing.
Whether it be because of players not being happy with you that week (or month at times), not seeing eye-to-eye with coworkers, or just the absolute stress you feel from total culture shock, there were multiple times where it was tough to escape the thought of “this would be so much easier if we just moved back home.” Thankfully, God helped me see that easier doesn’t always equate to better. My wife and I would have missed out on so many relationships, memories and the ability to grow in our faith had God not convicted us to just keep fighting on; to persevere. Though we often had our fair share of struggles, God teaching me how to persevere through challenging times will be one of the biggest takeaways I have from our experience here.
As for the third lesson, discipline, never have I been so aware of the image I give off to other people than during our time serving here. While we never want to put on an 'act' for people, having the label 'missions worker' associated with us brings a whole new level of self-awareness and a need to be disciplined. Whether it was our reaction to our apartment being broken into, my interactions with umpires and difficult coaches during the season, or other life events, I found myself constantly remembering I needed to conduct myself in a way that honours Christ, in part because of how the outside world views me. Yes, this needs to be the case for every Christ-loving believer, but being in this role took it to a new level for me.
I am taking away a great deal from my two years in sports ministry, and I hope I was able to give back plenty as well. I constantly strove to build confidence in my players, to walk with others through life’s struggles and to demonstrate unconditional love.
From a quantitative perspective, two years might not be much in the timeline of life for most people. From a qualitative point of view, these two years have impacted me perhaps more than any other two at any point in my life.
Choose to love Jesus. Choose to be used by Jesus. Be blessed.