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All Saints Day 2020: Lina Garcia

Earlier this year I had the privilege of coaching Lina Garcia (#33 in the photo below) in Upward basketball. Lina was 11 years old during our season. She was a sixth-grade student. She was the point guard for our team. She played hard. She practiced hard and always listened to the instruction that her coaches gave her. She was a good student. Most importantly, she was a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ. She and #21 on our team were our team leaders. At the end of the season, our team honored them with a special gift for leading well during our season. I asked Lina’s mom what types of things that she liked. I was told that she liked to journal and write down what she had learned in her daily Bible readings. Lina lived in such a manner that I had no trouble believing that she regularly read her Bible. Her church had a Disciple Now weekend during the season. She left it to play in a game and then returned to it after the game. She missed practice the night before the game because she was at the DN weekend. I would consider Lina a godly young lady who gives all of every commitment she makes.

Now when I say that she was a godly young lady, I am not saying that she was quoting scripture while bouncing the basketball. While she did answer many of the questions I asked during our team devotion times, she was also a normal 6th-grade girl in many ways. She is a ferocious, dedicated athlete. She set firm screens on the opponents to help our best scorer have an easy lane to get to the basket. When we practiced, I had the two coaches, Bentley, and some parents play against the girls. We practiced hard against them. Sometimes I would have to play defense against Lina. Even though I was a foot and a half tall than her, she was not intimidated by me. She would lower her shoulder and aggressively push against me and go by me. She was much faster than me. She was also not afraid to go all the way to the basket against taller girls.

In our championship game, she played with pain. She had undergone some minor surgery that was taking longer to heal than we thought it would. She played half the game and scored one of our last buckets. JennaBeth had played a phenomenal game in the first half but had expended a large amount of energy. Lina stepped up in the second half and was able to help us stop the opponents from overtaking us during a great comeback that they were mounting against us.

Lina made a profound impact on me. I want to live the way Lina lives. I want to be a godly person who does my best for Jesus in everything I do – playing basketball, being a good family member, being a dedicated follower of Jesus, and being a good church member. Lina might be young, but she is a saint of God.

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