Competition and the Gospel


In 2016 Rob, an AIA staffer, took a group of students on a mission trip to Central Asia. At one place they wrestled, the host country coach asked Rob if he could bring a team to wrestle in the U.S. Plans were made to bring 14 wrestlers and coaches to the U.S., but only two could get visas, including K., a skilled wrestler who really wanted to compete here.

Wrestling Newsletter edited

So K. came and lived with Rob’s family for two months. Rob took K. to several schools to attend practices and work with many wrestlers. Because K. was such a good wrestler, he was invited by a major Division I university to stay and compete with their athletes because “iron sharpens iron,” and the coaches knew K. would be able to give their wrestlers serious competition. The head coach, assistant coach and numerous wrestlers on that team are believers who understood the opportunity to influence this young man’s life with Christ’s love.

DSC_2738 edited

His six-month visa expired, so K. went home country, but Rob made a connection at another school where K. is now training with two AIA alumni. K. recently competed at the Dave Schultz Memorial International tournament at the Olympic Training Center. Rob asked BJ, a great wrestler he knew who is a Christian, for the loan of a couple singlets since K. hadn’t brought any. BJ didn’t loan, but gave K. two! Later Rob connected with BJ’s coach, an Olympic champion and a strong believer, to thank him. They hadn’t met before, but this coach had heard about Rob’s trip to Central Asia and wanted to send the guys he coaches on their next trip.

IMG_0123 edited

Through all of these relationships, God is opening doors for the gospel. Staff members like Rob are taking every opportunity to connect with others to widely sow the seeds of the gospel. Competitive trips like the Central Asia one serve several purposes: they give American athletes a chance to compete worldwide while giving them extraordinary opportunities for discipleship, fellowship and evangelism; they enable students to see and participate as God draws people to Himself; they serve as a catalyst to ministry in other countries; and they give American students a vision for reaching their own campuses once they return home.  Each year the Sports T.E.A.M. division of AIA sends out 30 – 40 mission projects like this one.  Rick’s role is to help make these trips more effective. 

We are deeply grateful for your partnership!
Thank you for helping us mobilize labors for the harvest.

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following: March 2019 newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.

Advertisements

Running with Purpose


On a hot, sunny day in March 2016, Lucymar, a student athlete at the U. of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras was approached by students from Ohio U. on a spring break trip. They hadn’t come to soak up the sun, but to share about the Son and help start sports ministry there. They talked with Lucymar about knowing God, shared the gospel with her, and told her about Athletes in Action.

PHOTO-2019-02-14-21-38-05.jpg

The next spring break, students returned and invited Lucymar to Extreme Challenge, AIA’s sports training camp that summer. “I didn’t understand God’s grace and my need to surrender all I am to Jesus,” she remembers, but after a week of camp, Lucymar went to church, “and ran to the front when an invitation was given to receive Jesus.”

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 5.18.51 PM.png

Her senior year, Lucymar’s faith grew through a discipleship group. She shared her faith with two of her teammates. At their track meets, Lucymar prayed for them and encouraged them to glorify and worship God through their competition. Next, she asked all her teammates to come to anAIA weekly meeting; then she invited all the athletes from her whole school! Soon Lucymar became the leader of evangelism for two ministries, and then the president of AIA on her campus. After graduation, she joined the staff of AIA so she can introduce many more athletes to Christ. Though Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, many are thirsty to know Jesus. Karen is currently coaching Lucymar as she finds a team of partners who will invest in her ministry through prayer and financial support.

PHOTO-2019-02-14-21-40-14 (1)

Please pray God will provide the support she needs to report to her assignment and for her training for the P.R. Olympic track team where she will use her influence for Christ. If you would like to help, visit Lucymar Garcia Famania.

Kathy Gohmann.jpg

Please pray for our family as we grieve the loss of Karen’s mom on Jan 25th. Kathy’s obituary can be found at Kathy Gohmann

Our new address is 6300 Sedge LN, Hilliard, OH 43026-2111. Update our contact info.

We are deeply grateful for your partnership!
Thank you for helping us mobilize labors for the harvest.

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: February 2019 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.

Creating Hope


As I write to you, AIA is holding our annual International Basketball Coaches’ Academy in Xenia, Ohio. This year we have 23 coaches from 16 countries. Every year we see God creating hope through the changed lives of those who attend. However, this is only the beginning. Each coach will impact the lives of players and staff back home every year going forward.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 4.52.30 PM

Please pray for responsive hearts to God’s word!

At last year’s academy, Eggy, (Below in white t-shirt) a Mongolian coach found himself at the academy last year after decades of alcoholism and rejecting a life with Christ. He responded to an invitation from Ebi, an AIA staff member, with hopes of developing himself as a basketball coach. Halfway through the academy, Eggy shared that he was beginning to understand and desire a relationship with God. Ebi explained the gospel to Eggy and shared how he could know and have a personal relationship with God through placing his faith in Jesus. That night Eggy prayed and gave his life to Christ! We have since learned Eggy passed away suddenly this past summer. We celebrate God’s grace in giving Eggy life in Christ.

Eggy

Speaking of creating hope, another AIA staff member recently attended an entrepreneur conference. Two statements stuck out to him; “Everything you create is rescuing someone” and “Take an interest in others.” In many ways that is what we do at AIA. We create hope in the lives of those we directly work with either by helping them know Christ or through assisting them in becoming the best athlete or coach and leader possible. This allows them to impact the lives of everyone in their circles in the future. Together we are creating hope in countless lives every year.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 5.13.01 PM

We are deeply grateful for your partnership! Thank you for letting us serve as your representatives.

Our new address is 6300 Sedge LN, Hilliard, OH 43026-2111. Update our contact info.

Your support impacts countless lives with the gospel every day!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: November 2018 to print a hard copy newsletter.

You’re Sending Laborers


At Cru headquarters in Orlando stands a sign that reads: “Boldly proclaim Jesus Christ and His life-changing love and truth to every person, and urgently mobilize co-laborers for the global harvest.”

IMG_0807

A few weeks ago, I (Karen) had the privilege of traveling to Cru’s headquarters to meet a group of about two dozen men and women from their 20’s to their 60’s who have responded to God’s call on their lives to proclaim the gospel all over the world. This newest group of staff met in Orlando to receive training to assemble a team of prayer and financial partners so that they can report to their assignments. They will be serving with Athletes in Action and eight other Cru ministries which all share the vision of building spiritual movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.

IMG_0830

The AIA staff who participated are assigned to campuses in Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Florida, Minnesota, Texas and Rhode Island. Because of their presence on these campuses, athletes will hear the gospel, be discipled and begin reaching their friends, their teams, their campuses and the world with the gospel.

IMG_0832

I am working with a group of these new AIA staff to encourage, disciple and help them prepare to win, build and send multiplying disciples into the harvest. I love working with them, helping them to be accountable, cheering them on and encouraging them take leaps of faith and obedience to Jesus. They are taking initiative to reach out to everyone they know in the power of the Holy Spirit to invite them to be part of changing the world for the glory of God. This week I have heard comments from my interns like, “I really needed to hear that,” “Our conversation was a game changer,” and “I thank God for your help.” Thank you for helping us mobilize laborers for the harvest!

IMG_0821

Interns in the midst of their training weekend.

Our new address is 6300 Sedge LN, Hilliard, OH 43026-2111. Update our contact info.

Your support impacts countless lives with the gospel every day!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: October 2018 to print a hard copy newsletter.

This camp is SPECIAL


Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 6.09.55 PM

This summer Rick assisted with an Ultimate Training Camp in Xenia, OH. At five U.S. locations, 385 high school and college students participated in this high-intensity sports camp created by AIA to help them learn to blend faith and sport on the field of competition. At each UTC we teach athletes five biblical principles regarding winning and losing, attitude, motivation, perseverance and how to worship God through their sports.

The athletes hear speakers, spend time in God’s Word, try out the principles in practical labs and finish out the week with a 20-hour sports competition (the SPECIAL) designed to help them meditate on what Jesus suffered to purchase their salvation.

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 6.08.06 PM

Caroline, a high school camper said, “God helped me battle negative thoughts and things I had put ahead of God in my life. He gave me strength for the SPECIAL.” Anita, her mom, enjoyed following along during the week through the blog (which Rick produced, you walk through the UTC by going to https://www.instagram.com/aia_sports_complex.) and said, “I am so proud of the girls for doing this. What a great experience for them!”

The intense SPECIAL helped Brooke at the Southern California UTC understand that “no matter how talented or motivated we are as athletes, we cannot carry our own burdens, and we must surrender and fully trust God.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 6.09.25 PM

This summer, 64 athletes made a first-time decision to surrender their lives to Jesus. Zin, from Rice University said, “the Holy Spirit has been tugging at my heart. I finally made the decision to listen and respond because of all the amazing people I met at UTC.” Zin had attended a weekly track Bible study, a small group and AIA events and felt she was almost “perfect” enough to have a relationship with Jesus. Ashley, an AIA staff member Karen had coached as an intern, told Zin, “You don’t have to be perfect, good enough or ready to have a relationship with Jesus; truth is, you never will be any of those things!” Zin was so relieved that Jesus already paid it all, and she left the UTC a new creation in Christ.

Our new address is 6300 Sedge LN, Hilliard, OH 43026-2111. Update our contact info.

Your support impacts countless lives with the gospel every day!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: September 2018 to print a hard copy newsletter.

Christ-Followers on EVERY Team


The vision of Athletes in Action is a Christ-follower on every team, in every sport in every nation. This is happening through people like Lauren, an intern I coached last year who was a runner at DePaul U. in Chicago. She was involved with Cru, but there was nothing for athletes. A friend invited her to AIA at Northwestern U. After graduation, God called her to serve a year internship with AIA. As a DePaul alum, she could help open ministry on her campus. Over the past year, Lauren has seen the ministry grow from a few students to a thriving community including athletes from almost every team oncampus.

Lauren - Chim July 2018 Newsletter.jpg

Seeking biblical unity and oneness is a core value of AIA. During her internship Lauren has lived out this value through her relationship with Chim, a runner from Zimbabwe. Chim says everyone in Zimbabwe has heard of God, but she had no understanding of the gospel. She told Lauren, “I don’t know what I would have done if you had not helped me understand that the gospel was personal — that I could know God personally.” Through their friendship, Lauren has experienced huge personal growth as she strove to understand Chim’s struggles as a black athlete in America. Chim was able to teach Lauren about oneness even as Lauren has discipled her.

Fresh Swim Team UIC July Newsletter

A major reason she decided to intern for a second year has been Lauren’s opportunity to help open ministry on a new campus — the U. of Illinois Chicago. She initially approached the swim team to share about AIA. Afterward, Lauren shared the gospel with Nikki, an interested freshman whose life dramatically changed when Lauren discipled her and taught her how she could walk with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nikki and some other freshmen invited 12 of their teammates to join them in a Bible study which Nikki co-led. Four key freshman leaders now have a vision for reaching their campus for Christ.

As of August 1st our new address will be 6300 Sedge Lane, Hilliard, OH 43026. A correction from last month.

Your support impacts countless lives with the gospel every day!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: July 2018 to print a hard copy newsletter.

74 Days this summer


This summer Athletes in Action will have at least one missions project in the field from May 15th to August 27th. . There will be 40 teams serving in 30 countries from New Zealand to South Africa to Poland. Right now, Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 9.20.12 AM.pngthe Poland Basketball and Ivory Coast Volleyball teams are conducting their training camps in Xenia. In addition, our men’s soccer project to Portugal and East Asia basketball teams are in country. Get a glimpse into their mission by going to Goaia.org’s Opportunity Blog. My role continues to be providing financial/operational insights to help each team complete their mission.

Our basketball ministry just put on a Men’s Captain’s Academy where 21 athletes spent five intense days learning how to integrate their faith and love of basketball to help them Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 9.22.10 AM.pngbecome not only leaders on their teams, but to become all God wants them to be for life.

In June and July there will be Ultimate Training Camps and leadership projects on our Xenia campus. I (Rick) am blogging for the high school Ultimate Training Camp (UTC), June 24th-30th.  Last year 28 of 75 athletes accepted Christ! Follow this year’s project now at Goaia.org’s High School UTC and ask the Lord to change the lives of those attending the 2018 camp.

On the homefront, we celebrated Annie’s graduation from Eastern Michigan U., and Aaron is finished with high school. Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 9.59.42 AM.pngWe have also been working the last few months to sell our home and downsize. We plan to list May 31st and then live in an apartment for at least a year. As of August 1st our new address will be 4300 Sedge Lane, Hilliard, OH 43026.

Your support impacts countless lives with the gospel every day!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: May 2018 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.