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A Little Birdie

At 27 years of age, sitting on a bus a month after he came to Australia from South Korea to study English, David had a dream, or some might say, a vision. A future came to his mind that he had never considered before. It was a picture of himself as a Pro-golfer. He liked the idea but there was one big problem … he had never played a single game of golf before. He bought a set of clubs online for $100 the next day.

While studying IT by day, and working in a restaurant at night, David used what little time was left to start to learn golf. He didn’t have much to work with, the family did not yet even own a car.  He would bus down to the local library to borrow books on how to play golf. He also caught the bus to the closest driving range to practice. At first, he was as bad a player as you would expect, but he got better. During the next 7 years, he made ‘club champion’ and played in amateur tournaments around Queensland and considered himself a ‘good amateur’, good enough to try and go pro.

David applied for a Pro-golf position, was interviewed and in his own words, he “failed”. Looking back, David can now see how arrogant he was at that time, and perhaps it was his attitude as much as anything that let him down in that interview. His reaction to the rejection was to give up golf and start his own business. But things took a bad turn, the business failed, there were debts, and it was a dark time. God used this time in David’s life to humble him and teach him how to live a different way. Instead of trusting himself, and living life his own way, David learned to trust the Lord and follow his lead. It was life changing for David.

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After 2 and a half years the business became steady and there came a day when David saw an advertisement for Pro-golf in his office. He knew he was a better man, but he was not as good a golfer as he had been. It had been years since he last played golf. Having nothing to lose, he decided to give it a try. David had to play several games of golf to make the minimum handicap requirement, and he had to achieve a certain score in the final game. It all came down to the 18th hole. The ball was on the green, and David needed a birdie to qualify. It was a difficult putt, the ball a good distance from the hole, with maybe only a 5% chance of getting it in. David couldn’t read the slope, and in the end just had to hit the ball and hope for the best. The ball curved one way and then the other, and dropped into the hole! He qualified on exactly the minimum score.

Although not initially offered a place, he was eventually accepted as a trainee member of the Pro Golf Association. Each year trainees must achieve a certain playing average and David’s playing average was around that number during the first year of traineeship. After the final round, David’s playing average was exactly on the number just like the year before. God was moving him forward in his calling, without letting him get too confident in his own strength in the process. He passed by getting the minimum score for two years. It could not be a coincidence. David knew that God had a plan to use his golf skill for His purpose.

David’s wife Karis had been interested for some time in going to Bible College. Now that David’s career was literally ‘on course’, they went together to look at a bible college in their city. Although David was not even that keen for Karis to go, somehow that afternoon they left the bible college having both signed up to attend! David wanted to know the reason why God made him a pro golfer in such a miraculous way. During their time of study over the next 18 months, David wondered whether God might want to them to be involved in missions, and whether David could use his golf skills in ministry. Would that be possible?

God has brought the various experiences of David’s life together in an exciting new direction. David, Karis and their three children will soon be heading to the Philippines with Pioneers, and David will be the sports co-ordinator at Faith Academy. This is an international school primarily set up for missionary families, and interestingly the school community is about 40% Korean. When David looked at some pictures of Faith Academy, imagine what he saw right next door to the school property? A large golf course. There are no prizes for guessing what activities the new sports co-ordinator will be encouraging the kids to do!

How does God want to use your unique story, and the gifts and skills he has placed in you, to bless the nations?

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