My last post was about whether gamers are anti-social. I wanted to continue to talk about the community because some people have such a negative view they cannot see anything but “bad” that comes from gaming. They truly feel that gamers are “faceless”, and since you can not meet in real life than you are not truly socializing or “knowing” them for who they are. Basically gamers are lying about who they are. Some cases that could be true, but the reality people show who they really are when no one can see them. Then there are those that see gaming as addictive, others see gamers as fat and lazy, and while others see gamers as wasting life. These people never really played games with their eyes open. They felt they were addicted to gaming, and so they mark gaming with a Scarlet Letter and call it a waste of time. For some it is, just like any hobby could be. Many of these same people only focused on their issue of allowing themselves to waste their time because this is not a hobby for them. Others it can be that they use it the wrong way. They want to escape their world and hide in their own pride and hold to control.
Just like any hobby you get into there needs to be a point to where you need to hold your responsibilities over your hobby. It starts with you whether you are wasting time or not. As a Christian, we should invite God to be apart of your life, and I feel you could invite Him into your hobbies. I specifically have made gaming my own ministry. I want God to open opportunities for me to meet people, impact them for Christ, and connect. There has been hundreds of conversations that I have had with believers and non-believers that I would have never had just walking down the street. I have seen people discover Christ, people return to Christ, and I have counseled many who were looking for someone to listen. There has been great conversations that were saddening to hear.
Back when I was 21 I played World of Warcraft for 2.5 years when it came back to why I was playing. I was using the game to escape the reality that I lived so I could control in my virtual reality. God confronted me, and I quit playing even though I loved how you could be a character in a story. I remember when Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) came around. As much as I wanted to play it I was afraid that I would get “addicted” to gaming and neglect God. After prayer, study, and considering who I had become by this time God showed me a different side of gaming that many do not see. The people we play with in MMORPG’s must feel as I did, but who is reaching out to them? So I played LOTRO, and I committed my game play to Him so I could find that opportunity to serve Him by reaching out to someone I meet as I enjoyed my hobby. There has been times where I stopped playing to just talk on Teamspeak or chat in game on serious talks, fun talks, sharing recipes, talking about prayer requests, talk about God and His Word, and much more.
One example that impacted me was a man whose character name was Cyranio. We did not know of his condition at the time we met him, but I do remember one day as I was playing in LOTRO where I entered the Auction House in Bree and heard music. The music was Christian, one specifically was the Skillet song Comatose. You see in LOTRO you could make music that can be played by the instruments in game, and you could sync the music to be played like a band. I approached Cyrano on whether he was a Christian, and he turned out to be one. He joined our community and impacted everyone he met in there. He shared about God on a daily basis, and I even found out that he would visit different servers so he could play music for God in hopes to reach someone. Any time he would play in the towns there would be people sitting and listening to him, and he mentioned that he would have different conversations with people. He was someone who I was proud to say was a friend, one who loved God above gaming and above life. 4 months passed (it was January), and he left the guild. He told me it was about his health, but I barely saw him on. So we exchanged emails, and I wrote to him several times in the next couple months. He finally told me why he left and why he was scarce on playing. You see this man of God was dying from a Brain Tumor… He was hardly able to do anything anymore, and so he used gaming as his ministry. When ever he could feel well enough to do something he would get online to play music to the players who could hear him. He wanted to impact someone until he died in June. One of the last things he did for me and several members in the guild was he made us a song that we requested. Mine was Homesick by MercyMe. His best friend told us of his death, and he did not realize how much Cyrano had impacted people in gaming. My guild did a memorial ingame playing the music he converted, and thanked God for bringing this man into our lives. Cyrano reminded us why we need to play, that day 45-50 people showed up to the memorial (they were not apart of our guild). Cyrano best friend gave me the song as I listened to him on the over voice in game. He thanked us for doing such a honor for a dear friend of his, and I cried. Even though I never met the man in real life, I knew he loved Jesus in a way that I wanted to love Him. He reminded me that when I am given a chance to talk with someone in game, do it because you may be the only Light they will see.
You see, I have never forgotten that. Every new game I play, I take a moment and dedicate my hobby to God. I ask Him to work in me, and then I ask Him to bring someone I could impact. Though in my current life’s situation, God has been using others to help me. In hind sense, He still has been able to use me to help them. In my Salt guild, there has been many different stories that I could share that would open your eyes to the reality. One gentleman in my RED guild was in a paralyzing motorcycle accident. My former guild community saved up money and sent it to him and his wife to help with medical bills. After over a year, her is paralyzed from the waist down, but now he has become a tutor. Another young man lives in the US where he does not have a way to make it to a church much, and he loves having a Christian guild to count on. One man lost his wife to cancer 2 months ago, and now has a muscle disease. He can barely be to active outside his home. He helps his church when he can, but out Salt guild is one source he has for Christian fellowship, edifying, prayer, and solid godly conversation. These are a few stories that I have been apart of, not including those who wanted to know what a Christian is. I know people from all over the world: Turkey, Japan, Philippines, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Each one with their own story.
Can you impact people in a “faceless” media as an MMORPG? Are people who see the mission field wasting their time? Are all people fake in MMORPG’s because I cannot give them a hug or buy them a meal? I guess the only way to find out is to open your eyes to what is possible with God, and ask yourself why you do the hobbies you do. Does that mean you cannot have fun? Of course not, it just means you should be ready to impact someone if the opportunity comes. I mean if you like to do a pick-up game of basketball, go fishing, make pottery, go hiking, workout, volunteer, help your neighbor, join clubs, dance, or any hobby you can still have fun doing all of that, but there could be that one person you meet that God will use you to plant the seed. You just need to be willing to be used. It is a mission field filled with hurt lost people, plant the seed!