Cardinals proclaim Jesus through CFD event
ST. LOUIS—A total of 9,000 fans who bought special tickets, part of a group that blessed 3,200 at-risk children and their leaders, participated in the 17th annual Christian Family Day (CFD) June 23 at Busch Stadium with the popular Christian music group MercyMe performing a concert at the very end.
The St. Louis Cardinals continued their winning CFD tradition, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3 for their 15th victory in 17 tries.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, a member of West County Community Church in Wildwood, was on base three times and figured in the scoring of the team’s first six runs. He also was one of four Cardinals to give a word of testimony after the game about the saving power of Christ.
“That was the best moment in my life, best decision that I made in my life,” Pujols said, referring to the time in 1998 when he passed from death to life in the spiritual process of conversion
His wife, Deidre, served as honorary chairman for this year’s event. Judy Boen, CFD founder and chairman, worships with the couple at West County, a Missouri Baptist church led by Pastor Phil Hunter.
In the first inning, Pujols singled in the middle of a sequence that led to the Cardinals tying the game at 1. He walked in the fourth and scored along with Scott Rolen on a three-run home run by Juan Encarnacion, and he was hit by a pitch in the sixth and scored on a two-run home run by Chris Duncan.
“All those home runs, all those base hits, World Series ring last year, all that, I give all the credit to the Lord,” Pujols said. “He’s the one that gives me the power and the strength to perform for you guys.”
Hunter said he is blessed to see so many of his church members actively sharing their faith year after year at CFD.
“Anytime any of our membership has a vision to exalt the Lord, equip the saints or evangelize the world, we do everything as a church family to come alongside that person and assist them in making that happen most effectively and most powerfully,” he said.
Winning pitcher Adam Wainwright was the first to testify. He scattered seven hits and allowed only two runs over six innings, then came out after the game to say he got saved about five years ago at a Pro Athletes Outreach conference. He said he came to realize that he had grown up in church but somehow missed the message of being born again in Jesus.
“I was kind of one of those people who go and don’t really listen,” Wainwright said. “I wasn’t paying attention, I wasn’t there to learn and I definitely did not have God in my heart.”
Centerfielder So Taguchi and pitcher Braden Looper also gave their testimonies before the large CFD crowd.
It was the second CFD in the new Cardinals stadium. Paid attendance for the day game was 45,336, which was slightly lower than the 46,068 total in 2006. A pre-game party at a nearby park featured free sandwiches, ice cream, games, entertainment and a Gospel presentation for underprivileged youth.
“Every year this thing is just bigger and bigger, and it’s so exciting to look out and to see a sea of people here still and so interested in what’s happening,” said Deidre Pujols.