Tom Randall traveled to the southern most island of the Philippines, Mindinao. He took a team of men from Australia that came for a couple of weeks to play basketball. The trip was full of contrasts for Tom.
Good news…24 games in 14 days were played in front of 30,000 people.
Bad news…Because of terrorist tensions in Mindanao, all games had to be played during the day and in the hot sun.
Good news…Tom was able to keep clear of the amoeba and Marco’s revenge problems by not drinking the unsafe drinking water.
Bad news…Tom was instead drinking nearly 20 Cokes a day. Whoever said, “Coke adds life” can have Tom’s kidneys.
Good news…The team slept on floors, church benches, in the jeep and the guys never complained!
Bad news…When the team got back to the Randall house in Manila everyone wanted the queen size bed in the guest room.
Good news…Tom was privileged to be one of the first white people to go into several of the villages.
Bad news…Since Tom was so sunburned and baked by the sun there hasn’t actually been a white person there!
Even though this trip was one of the roughest and most unusual of the 16 (to this point) Sports Ambassadors trips Tom had taken it was one of the most effective and fulfilling yet. The team were the first foreigners to visit several places, let alone play a basketball game. They played on wood (seldom), cement (happily) and dirt and clay (often).
In a village of about 1000 people called Pangi, they worked for three days to make the court out of a field. So many players wanted to play the visiting team they told Tom they wanted to play two games instead of just one. Tom told them to forget the clock and they ended up playing until dark!
In Magapo, on a dirt court with patches of grass, the other team came out with brand new uniforms and shoes and were as proud as can be. Only their tallest player had thongs on because you can’t find size 10.5 in the Philippines! Tom went over and offered him his Addidas to wear, and he gave Tom his thongs. Then they pulled out a uniform top and wanted Tom to put it on and play on their team. Tom was living in the Philippines and could speak Tagalog (the national language) but he still looked funny in thongs and a uniform top half his size! Tom played until his feet were too sore and his new team almost won. Every player on the team asked to be in a Bible study. The Filipino pastor in that town had built a small Nipa hut church and started working in the village was smiling from ear to ear!
During this tour the team saw 4000 people sign up for the Bible correspondence course which will be free because of the money Tom’s supporters sent to provide for literature and the Bibles used.
The last few days of the trip Tom had heat stroke and kidney problems and ended up in a Manila hospital for a week. The Lord helped him get over his physical problems and he was looking forward to getting back on the basketball court. But he said, “I still can’t look at a bottle of Coke!”