• December 11, 2019

Basketball a teaching tool - Odessa American: Columns

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Basketball a teaching tool

Minister uses game to impart values, improve lives

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Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2019 5:00 am

Many people don’t know what their purpose is in life, but they all have one and discovering it is essential to their happiness and success, the Rev. Sam Smith says.

“You may not understand what it is you are here for, but once you have a purpose you will be more dedicated and focused,” said the Rev. Smith, pastor of New Beginnings Church at 802 E. University Blvd. “I also preach about destiny and the value of people in our community.”

Smith is a 46-year-old Hobbs, N.M., native who served 4 1/2 years in the Navy as an operations specialist in San Diego, Calif., and on the destroyer U.S.S. Sterett and the frigate U.S.S. Copeland. He has been a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for 23 years. He and his wife Rosemarie have three children.

Smith joined New Beginnings Church in 2000 and inspired by the example of Rev. J.W. Brookins, he served as a Sunday school teacher and deacon till becoming pastor himself in ‘05. “I stopped drinking because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another,” he said.

Smith was a volunteer basketball coach for a number of years at the Boys & Girls Club and still coaches at New Way Christian Academy, which is affiliated with his church.

As part of the Amarillo-based International Pentecostal Holiness Conference, New Beginnings averages 35 people at its 11 a.m. Sunday services.

“Young kids may follow rap music and what they see on TV, but life is not about the bling and cars, your money, the size of your house, the shoes you wear or how good you are in basketball,” Smith said. “It’s about your relationship with God.”

Jamie Miller of Dallas, who coached with Smith at the Boys & Girls Club, said he “is a wonderful guy, very giving.

“With the love Sam has for people and his love for God, he has always been willing to help anybody,” Miller said. “He puts others before himself and dedicates his life to helping people, especially children.”

Pam Alexander, who coaches at New Way Christian Academy and for the West Texas Basketball Association, said Smith mentors for the purpose of teaching good values. “Sam is a great guy who is committed to what he does,” Alexander said.

“He’s a soldier for the Lord. He wants to save these young African-American, Hispanic and lower income kids by using the game of basketball to minister to them. When God changes your life, you want to pay it forward.”

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