This year Boy With A Ball (BWAB) celebrates ten years as an organization established to build young leaders and train others to help their young people grow to full potential. My husband, Thomas, and I became friends through our involvement with this movement and the church BWAB started from. The founder, Jamie Johnson, performed our marriage ceremony eight and a half years ago. We are grateful for all the ways the Lord worked through Jamie and our experiences with BWAB to bring us from glory to glory. Below is a slightly light-hearted top ten list of favorite memories from our time spent in BWAB. Since many of you won't know the context of these memories, I'll extend each one with parenthetical comments! And please check out their web-site when you finish reading!


The Hernandez top 10 favorite Boy With a Ball memories
10. Watching helplessly as James wrestled with some guys in our living room, which resulted in a hole in the wall! (They later patched up and painted!) [These were a few guys who stayed after a BWAB meeting and were just goofing off.]
9. The night Thomas had to ask Colleen, a teenager in the youth group, to stop playing “footsie” with him under the table…she says she thought it was the table leg! [Thomas had just taken a job as youth pastor at our church, and this could have been an uncomfortable moment--fortunately Colleen can laugh at the memory too!]
8. The day Thomas asked Beth if he could help her grade papers, upon which Thomas discovered an error in her answer key, and to this day will not let the fact that she struggles with her 7’s times tables go! [This was just before a BWAB meeting. I had a stack of papers I was trying to get through. I made an error because I was nervous about a nice, good looking guy offering to do something so tedious; no one had ever asked to help me grade papers before--I had to beg a great many people--Thomas and I were just becoming friends.]
7. Turning off the television during the half time show of the super-bowl to pray for Anna with a large group of young people and a few of their parents, fortuitously missing Paula-Abdul’s wardrobe malfunction. [Unfortunately Anna, a good friend and BWAB colleague, had gotten ill while on the road. She called us to pray for her during the half-time, so Thomas figured we'd better all pray for her right then. We didn't find out what we missed until the next day. We were so grateful, the Lord had rescued us from a very awkward moment with about 40 young people!]
6. The day Thomas went with Beth to hang out with the “skater-kids” from her class. We went to talk to the youth pastor at a local church, and Thomas, had to help Beth explain Boy With a Ball, because she got nervous. [Thomas was new to BWAB, so it was funny that I got nervous...but again, I was with a good looking guy who I was beginning to like a lot...notice a trend?!]
5. Taking Emiliano to El Campo, TX to see Chris graduate from Bible school. [Emiliano was a teenager who has been a great friend to our family. He is now a worship pastor in Mississippi. He and Chris are some of the founding members of BWAB.]
4. Jamie taking Thomas aside to ask him what he thought about Beth. [This is where Thomas started to realize there might be something more to our relationship than just friendship! THANK YOU, Jamie!!]
3. The after camp party we hosted in 2004, when Michelle came and shared her story with Beth and Thomas. [Michelle was a young person who was severely at risk for not making it on any success list. Today, thanks mainly to the prayers and devoted efforts of Jamie and his wife Kathy and our friend Anna, Michelle is a beautiful wife and mother. She would make anyone's successful people list.]
2. Watching the “tribes” Thomas set up for the CCSA youth group, “Epic,” make a real difference in young people realizing their part in the body of Christ. [Thomas decided to take a different approach to youth ministry based on the ideas and beliefs about relationship and young people promoted in BWAB. He built smaller groups within the larger group that allowed for every young person to have weekly and sometimes daily contact with one adult leader and one teen leader. Every teen leader in those groups has grown into a mighty person of faith, successful in their job fields and community. It was definitely a God-idea.]
1. Sitting with Shelbee as an adult, one of Beth’s first students--the first student Beth ever shared the gospel with, late at night listening to her heart and her prayers to ask Jesus to rescue her and help her to follow Him. [This vulnerable moment that Thomas and I were able to share together with a student who I love as one of my own children was more moving than almost any other story I could ever tell. It was a moment of grace and filled with God's profound goodness. I went to a conference recently where the theme was "God's Disruptive Goodness." Getting this call in the middle of the night counts as that.]