***This article is an entry submitted by Mr. Dennis Orajay, a 37-year-old International Bible Church Manila – Lead Pastor and International Bible Church Mandaluyong – Member of the pastoral staff who wrote an open letter for Gilas Pilipinas in support for the upcoming 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament set to happen this July 5-10 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Dennis Orajay, a proud father of two and a grateful husband to my wife, Joyce. I work as a web developer by day but am mostly known for being the lead pastor of our church, the International Bible Church in Manila.
I’ve been an avid fan of the sport since I was young. From UAAP-NCAA to PBA and NBA, name it! Hindi man ako yung tipong naglalaro or pang-star player, I‘ve been hooked with basketball not only with the sports itself but the values that it teaches – bonus point na yung bugso ng damdamin sa tuwing makakashoot si Jayson Castro (Naks!)
Speaking of ‘bugso ng damdamin’, I was one of the thousands of Filipinos who cried out loud during the Gilas’ emotional and intense game with China. Sobrang masakit. Puso kung puso. Overwhelming. But that game has also become an eye opener for many – especially for those youth who aspires to be like their favorite star players in the future.
Besides from being a basketball fan, I have also applied the good values of the sports for sharing God’s words. Last year, I challenge the youth of IBC – Manila to engage with their faith using basketball. It was a vision shared by Pastor Romy Capuli of CrossOver Ministry. The crossover ministry in our church was led by Youth Pastor Ben Pangilinan. Every Sunday at 6PM, young people, street kids and their friends gathered in the court to play basketball. Naisip kasi namin, kung ako nga na-pastor nakakakuha ng aral mula sa panonood lang ng basketball, ano pa kaya ang mga batang may passion sa paglalaro nito?
©Mr. Dennis Facebook
The heartbreak we all had from last year’s game motivated me to teach kids the value of dedication, success and sportsmanship; that every fall should be used as strength and motivation to continue with life. Basketball is not just a game but God’s way to teach us values and lessons in life. Kaya nga ngayon, malakas ang loob ko – lalaban at babangon muli ang Gilas Pilipinas. Just like how Jesus bravely stood after his fall while carrying the cross. Manalo man o matalo, tuloy ang laban.
How I wish I could watch you GILAS play live here in our own country and shout my support together with the crowd of Filipinos proudly cheering the team’s name that are intensely playing with all their hearts out for the country. Whatever happens, wherever we are, GO PILIPINAS, PUSO! We are all praying for your victory. You guys, individually and as a team, are already an inspiration to many. Bear in mind that you’ve already brought victory the time you represented our country. Laban, wag susuko.