God is very relational, so one of the ways He speaks to me is through friends. My friend Mike King runs a youth ministry in Kansas City called Youthfront. He also runs Feed the Hunger. We send food to Africa, and we’ve been sending food to Haiti. The meals that we send cost 15 or 20 cents, and young people raise the money and package the meals for shipment. So the ministry is youth-oriented, helping young people to be aware of global poverty issues.
That has been my heart’s pride, that young people, especially this new generation of people 14 or 15 years old to 26 years old and even older, are really coming to understand more about global poverty and slavery.
One day I was sitting with Mike in my house just talking, and I told him I’d read an article about human trafficking. I didn’t really realize it was that big of an issue. I knew a bit about the prostitution stuff, but probably a lot of people think prostitution is a voluntary act, you know? I realized I’d been kind of oblivious to the scope of the problem. Mike said I should get together with a guy named David Batstone and learn about his group Not For Sale. And so I googled it that night.
Now, I’d just signed with the Giants about two weeks prior, and I’m googling Not For Sale and all of a sudden my wife said, “David Batstone is in Half Moon Bay!” It turns out he’s a professor at the University of San Francisco. I was like, man! That is crazy.
I found an email for him online, his University of San Francisco email, and I thought, there’s no way this is going to get to him, but I’ll just take a flying leap here. I told him who I was and told him I was very interested in his organization and in seeing what he’s doing. And he got back to me not too long after. I don’t even know if it was a full day! He’s a baseball fan, and he thought someone was playing a joke on him.
When my wife and I went to San Francisco for FanFest, we were able to have dinner with Dave and his wife. We sat down that night in San Francisco and just talked. I fell in love with his passion, and I fell in love with what he was doing. It’s amazing how fast he got me involved. It’s really a phenomenal group. I started doing Free2Play with him which is the athletes’ area of his organization.
I pledged $100.00 for every strikeout for the rest of the 2009 season. I struck out 56, maybe even 60 last season, which let us help build a hospital in Thailand for some girls we rescued. We’re going to do more this year. The more I do with them, the more I just love it.
God has a lot of different ways of speaking to us. How does He speak to you?