The Joy of Evangelisation
(by Costandi Bastoli)
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you’,” (Luke 10:8-9)
During my last mission to PNG (before lockdowns), on the last day of the Catholic Charismatic Conference at Pogla, Mount Hagen, Elizabeth came to me full of joy and said that she was on her way with others to the river that morning. She saw a road leading to a house where she met Peter, a man well-known in the village. He offered her breakfast. He asked her where she was from and what brought her to this area. She told him she was from a neighbouring village and was there because she was attending a conference. She shared with him that on the previous night, the Lord renewed many in the Holy Spirit, they received His gifts, and Jesus healed many. He was surprised that no one mentioned it to him although everyone knew that he was not well. Elizabeth invited him to the church.
After she prayed with him, Peter was able to walk with her about one and a half kilometres to the church.
Elizabeth asked me if I would pray with Peter for his back, breathing, and hearing. I invited Paul Miamel to join us. When I saw Peter, he was bent over and leaning heavily on a stick.
After Paul, Elizabeth and I prayed with him, I asked him to stand up straight, which he instantly did. Then I asked him to breathe deeply, and he did so effortlessly. I asked him to repeat it, and he did so. He seemed relieved and happy.
I said to him, “Now you don’t need your stick”. He took his stick, laid it on the floor, and ran down the steps in front of the hall. He ran down the dirt pathway, to the street and back again. When he started to run, we stood there with our mouths wide open. I was afraid he was going to slip and fall as it had been raining and it was very muddy.
After the Mass, I invited Elizabeth and Peter to share their story. Elizabeth shared first. She was delighted. Oh, the joy of evangelisation!
In his sharing, Peter said that he had had back and leg problems since 1982. He also had hearing problems and asthma and had not left his home for many years. Peter stood tall. He said he felt that there was nothing wrong with him anymore. Then he ran backward and forward, the full length of the hall while the onlookers cheered.
During the Conference, we spoke about evangelisation, and here we saw the fruits of evangelisation in action. Elizabeth reached out to Peter, shared with him, prayed with him, and invited him to the Mass. We prayed with him, and the Lord did the rest. He healed Peter.
People talked about the miracle, comparing this story with the man who, after being healed by John and Peter at the Beautiful Gate in the time of Jesus, went “walking and leaping and praising God,” (Acts 3:8). Others exclaimed, “God truly is with us!”
It was back in the 1960s and all the way back in Jerusalem where I was brought up that I was inspired by this gospel message.
“You are the light of the World … You are the salt of the earth, … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14a,13a,16)
I was a member of the Young Christian Student society. This passage inspired in me the desire to share the Good News with others and be a good witness. It gave me a sense of mission. As students then we reached out to other students both Christians and Muslims. Not preaching to them but genuinely befriending them, showing them acts of kindness and waiting for the opportunity to share with them our faith. This we can do anywhere and anytime.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses,” (Acts 1:8a)
When I migrated to Australia with my parents and seven siblings, I came across the Catholic charismatic renewal which was in its beginnings in Sydney.
It was there that I learned more about our Catholic heritage which includes the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. I felt empowered as I saw the graces, I received in the Sacraments of Initiation coming alive in my life. I began to see people’s life changing, people getting healed, people being set free as we prayed with them. This opened doors before me for missions not only in Australia but in the Philippines and PNG.
People encouraged me to document my experience in a book which I called Jesus Heals Today. This is another way to be on mission!
Jesus Heals Today
by Costandi G Bastoli
Prayer for Sport and Recreation During the Month of December
(prepared by Lilian Schmid)
A Testimony from a Football Player
I always prepared my game with prayer from the major games to the minor games. The content of my prayer to God is to help me do my best in practice time. I committed all things to God, without worry. . . . These prayers make me calmer and more secure and I forget the fear of losing. It resulted in good play.
“But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free.” (1 Corinthians 1:30 GNT)
History of Sports in Australia
(from the Australian Government Department of Health)
Sport is an important part of the culture in Australia, with a long history in the country dating back to the pre-colonial period. Early sports that were played included cricket, Australian rules football, rugby union, horse racing and netball. Sport evolved with Australian national identity through events like Phar Lap, the Bodyline series and the America’s Cup races.
There are a number of professional sport leagues in Australia, including the Australian Football League (Australian rules football), National Rugby League (Rugby league), Super Rugby (Rugby union), the A-League and W-League (Soccer), ANZ Championship (Netball), the National Basketball League, the Women’s National Basketball League and the Australian Baseball League Cricket Sheffield Shield. Attendance for some of these leagues over the course of a single season tops six million spectators in leagues such as the AFL, A-League and NRL.
The media plays an important part in Australia’s sporting landscape. Many sporting events are televised or are covered by the radio. The government has anti-siphoning laws to protect free-to-air stations. Beyond televising live events, there are many sport television shows, sport talk shows on the radio, magazines dedicated to sport and extensive newspaper coverage. Australian sport has also been the subject of Australian made films such as The Club, Australian Rules, The Final Winter and Footy Legends.
As a nation, Australia has competed in many international events including the Olympics and Paralympics, and the Commonwealth Games. The country has a large number of national teams in sports such as cricket, rugby union, rugby league, basketball, hockey, netball, soccer, softball, water polo and wheelchair rugby. Sport is played by different populations in Australia including women, people with disabilities and Australia’s indigenous people.
Read more here: health.gov.au/health-topics/sport/about-sport-in-australia
Prayer Strategies for Sport and Recreation
Let’s pray for the following domain of Sport and Recreation
- Pray that God will raise Christian athletes, coaches, sportspeople.
- Pray that God will bless all nations during the World Masters Games around the world.
- Pray that God will touch the heart of all national and international athletes and coaches.
- Pray for all people attending this event that God will bless each one of them and infill them with the Holy Spirit.
- Pray that God will touch all sports ministers and open their eyes to His glory.
- Pray that God will bless all finances invested in sport and recreation, and that it will only be used to glorify Him in good and healthy activities.
Consider these specific strategies and objectives in your prayers:
- Advancement of ministries that integrate the adopted core values while introducing people to the person of Jesus Christ and; therefore, “Winning Souls, Not Just Games” – Philippians 2:3-4.
- Promotion of, in Christ, fun, fellowship, acceptance of everyone regardless of athletic abilities, and mutual care through the various teams in each respective sport – Psalm 28:7
- Direction of the passion for sports into the same passion for following Christ daily – Matthew 4:19
- Incorporation of a devotion time focused on biblical truth into all sports activities – Luke 18:1
- Provision of opportunities for the sharing of life transforming testimonies – Luke 18:9-14
- Communication of the needed discipline of daily prayer – Matthew 6:5-15
Pray for Sport Chaplaincy Australia
Encourage any persons leading sporting activities/teams to see themselves as chaplains and encourage them to do chaplaincy training to maximise their role. See sportschaplaincy.com.au