STORIES from a missionary: Nathan Ball

2.03.2015 |

matthew 28:19 says " go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  Nathan Ball, a senior at Mississippi State University, goes to Missouri to love on inner city kids from across america and do exactly what jesus has required of each christ-follower.  read his story below:

All my life I have had a huge love and appreciation for athletics. I've played sports my whole life and as I began learning more about following Jesus I desired even more to combine my love for sports and the command to make disciples. When I heard about the Kids Across America camp (KAA) I knew it was something I needed to look into. At KAA they are all about bringing in inner city kids, coaching them in athletics, but most importantly teaching them about the bible. After applying for the position, I was hired as a counselor, boat driver, and the basketball specialty head. 

Upon arrival at the camp I started meeting the people I would be working with that summer. I quickly realized that most of the other counselors did not have all that I did growing up. Most of them were raised without a father figure and some were left alone to raise themselves. It broke my heart that this had become the norm. In my five weeks as a counselor, I had about 60 different kids in my cabin and a couple hundred in my basketball specialty class. Out of all these students I could probably count on my hands the number of kids who had both parents in the home with them. As I listened to their stories, I started to realize the devastating effects of an absent parent. Some had been in jail (16 yrs old), some had been molested, some fought thoughts of suicide, many dealt with the murder of family and friends, and several were trying to figure out how to be a parent. There was very little guidance in their lives and no one had ever invested much time or truth into them. 

At KAA we dedicated ourselves to loving these students unconditionally. We often reminded each other: "seek first to understand and then to be understood." We would be there for them when things were going great but also when they were angry. Sometimes it took everything in me not to get frustrated and give up but we remained focused on our goal of making Christ's name known in their life. It was amazing to see the impact of biblical love in their lives. While I was there I saw several kids accept the invitation to follow Jesus. Several kids came up to me at the end of the week and thanked me for teaching them about the bible and investing in them. As I thought about that, I realized that I was just simply doing what CHRIST commands: loving people and sharing the gospel. 

I wondered what would happen if I surrendered to loving people like that in my everyday life? Further, I wondered what would happen if the church as a whole left Sunday service, scattered across the community and loved people wherever God had placed them.  

I think the results would be a lot like in Acts when "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (acts 2:47). I still keep in touch with some of my campers. A few weeks ago I got a message from one of my campers who told me how he had accepted my challenge to read his bible and how the Lord was teaching him so much! The last part of his message said "p.s. Even as I am writing this God is revealing even more to me!" Another message came from a camper in Memphis. He texted me asking for advice because he was having thoughts of suicide. It broke my heart to hear that but after talking to him he was able to see more clearly. It reminded me that the devil is still at work too. It's hard sometimes knowing that all that these kids need is someone to love them and give them truth, but I trust that God is taking care of them. I was able to drive up to Memphis and see my friend after he texted me about that. I credit God with waking him up to the truth. He is doing much better. 

In closing, I would challenge each of you to look at your own life.  Look at the people in your work place or the people in school with you. You have an opportunity to be Christ's hands and feet in these people's lives. God wants to use you. I challenge you to accept that call. My prayer is that we would be a people who are constantly pointing people to Christ. As we do that, maybe God will add to our number just like he did for the church in Acts.

To find out more about Kids Across America, please click HERE

next up: Joel Mathews takes us behind the scenes of ministry and greek-life on a BIG-10 college campus.


  1. I'm so glad we "found" each other! I'm looking forward to reading through this series!!! :)

    It's especially encouraging to hear about men who are serving God with a passion for His glory and His people!

    Have you ever done KAA? I've heard about it and had a friend that worked there, but I've never actually been involved in any way.

    1. i know i am so glad too!! :)

      there are so many men that are going to be posting on this series! it's incredible what God is doing through his people <3

      I have never done KAA. I think it would be a neat experience though.

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