It was midnight when North America church-planter Dan Nichols first ran into Nasir bouncing a basketball outside of Dan’s home in Wilkes Barre, Pa. Dan started talking with 16-year-old Nasir as he dribbled in the street, and after a bit of small talk, an idea hit Dan.
“Would you like a basketball hoop?” he asked.
Nasir’s eyes lit up.
Dan reached out to his church and a church member donated his old basketball hoop. From that moment on, Dan’s relationship with Nasir quickly grew. Dan discovered that Nasir had attended his church’s youth group with his best friend before Dan and Nasir met that night. He also discovered that Nasir’s parents weren't in his life anymore and had very few people to fill that role.
“He invited me to come check out his tux for prom to make sure he looked ‘fresh,’” said Dan. “I taught him how to tie a tie and told him not to do anything stupid.”
Dan got to know Nasir better by playing ball, watching sports, and inviting Nasir to his house church. One day as they were shooting hoops, Nasir told Dan that he was 17 that day.
“It's your birthday today?” Dan said.
“Yeah,” he said with a shrug.
“Do you have any plans?” Dan asked.
That night, Dan and his wife had Nasir over for dinner and then took him out to get frozen yogurt, where his friends from youth group were waiting to surprise him. Later, they all watched the Stanley Cup — because Nasir’s favorite sport is hockey.
Through spending time together, Dan and Nasir’s friendship deepened and Dan was able to walk Nasir through the gospel several times. This summer, Dan had the blessing of praying with Nasir as he put his faith in Jesus, and then a few weeks later, he was blessed to baptize Nasir.
“From the basketball court to the grocery store, the opportunity to share the gospel is all around us,” said Dan.
“Please pray for Nasir as he continues his spiritual walk.”