Monday, June 22, 2009

Justin Sullivan, Young Man of Faith

PLEASE read this:

Today, I ran into a friend in Talihina, whose name I don't know. Never heard it, never asked it.

I call him "Second Base", because he played that position for the champion Red Oak High School baseball team... 2-years running, and 4 of the past five years' State champs.

It's one thing to be a member of a good team, it's quite another to be an Ambassador... for both the pastoral, placid game of Baseball, and for our pastoral and placid Creator and Savior. "2B" is such an Ambassador.

"I Never Knew~!"
This very talented young man and I connected today at the 'E-Z Mart store on the hill', in Talihina.
I asked how his ankle injury was coming; he said it was fine, he was playing for the 'Ambassadors', that his team had just returned from both St. Louis and from Omaha, the site of the Collegiate World Series, as well as playing in Oklahoma City constantly, and planning to go to Nicaragua this summer.

Who are these "Ambassadors", I asked.
Did I get an earfull~!!

The Ambassadors are an all-Christian baseball team, who play ball and share their life stories, their Christian testimonies with the fans (along with the other team). Since 2003, they have played around the mid-west for the memory of Justin Sullivan.

Justin Sullivan was named The Oklahoma Baseball Player of the Year in 2002. A catcher for the Yukon High School team and Valedictorian for his graduating class, he was a deserving young man because of his Major League talent and skill.
Because of this very public honor, Justin was poised to launch into an incredible college and professional baseball career. Justin was in the middle of praying through all his opportunities which included baseball scholarships offers to Rice and Nebraska. In addition to this, Justin was also being seriously considered by Major League Baseball as a high draft pick right out of High School. So many opportunities were coming his way. In fact, at 11:30a.m. the following day, the head baseball coach at OU left a message on Justin's home answering machine offering him a full scholarship to OU to play baseball.

Unfortunately, Justin never had the opportunity to hear that message because approximately 1:30p.m. on June 3, 2002, Justin was driving home from work with his best friend and his girlfriend. About 2 minutes after pulling onto I-44 in the middle of Oklahoma City, the back wheels of a semi-tractor trailer broke off an east bound truck, crossed the median and struck the vehicle. Immediately before the tires struck the vehicle, Justin saw it coming and turned his vehicle so that the tires only hit the drivers side. This action killed Justin instantly but it saved the lives of two of the closest people in his life. Both Josh (his best friend) and Elizabeth, (his girlfriend) walked away from the accident with only scratches.

After Justin's death, I (the author here) had the responsibility of preaching his funeral. While preparing to preach that funeral message, I discovered Justin's Spiritual Journal that he was keeping in the last six months of his life. During his last six months on the earth, he spent every day writing his thoughts to the Lord. My life was so impacted, I wrote a book about Justin's connection with God and this book has enabled us to begin a brand new ministry that has amazingly made an impact not only across Oklahoma but across the nation and around the world.

Through two, commom-ground, joys: an adoration of God and of baseball.
"What can I do to be a light in a time of darkness? Seek my strength in Christ. No longer hanging on to things that keep me from God."- Justin Sullivan 1/21/02

'Second Base' also told me this: that Justin's father tore apart all of the cherished baseballs which his son had been given for his accomplishments during his H.S. career, and made them into horse-hide, baseball-seam-braclets. They are baseball white with 51 red stitches each.

2B gave his own to me to wear.
Here's Justin's, the Ambassadors' website: Won't you please visit it, and keep up with (and root, root, root) this fine baseball team?
A Life Worth Following.Org.


Jungle Mom said...

Do you think I might use this on my Sunday post? It is such an inspiration!

Most Rev. Gregori said...

May his memory remain eternal.

The Local Malcontent said...

You got that right, Abouna;
JMom, that would be a real tribute.
Those two links go to valuable websites, one of which has many of Justin Sullivan's journal entries to his Savior.

Kini said...

Great story.