Ministry Comes Full Circle


I (Karen) disciple and coach interns and part-time field staff by encouraging and helping them as they raise their support and prepare to serve with AIA on campuses and at our headquarters.

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I’d like you to meet one of them.Camille’s first introduction to AIA was through her father who had gone on baseball tours with AIA in his 20’s. Camille played soccer her freshman year at Appalachian State U. and wanted to go on a soccer mission trip with AIA that summer, but she tore her ACL and couldn’t go. Instead she attended an AIA Ultimate Training Camp (UTC). The next summer she went on a soccer tour to Swaziland and Malawi. She returned to school fired up to reach her campus for Christ, but because her school had no sports ministry, she decided to become a representative through our SportLinc program.

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As a SportLinc rep, Camille was discipled by an AIA staff member who provided training and help to reach her campus for Christ. Camille reached out to girls she had played soccer with her freshman year who had not been very nice to her. She started a Bible study for the soccer team and ended up discipling some of those very same girls. The ministry Camille started has sent 20 students on sport-centered mission trips in the past few years.

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After graduation, Camille served as a one-year intern with AIA Sports Performance. A highlight of her year was discipling Brenna, a freshman soccer player who had been ostracized on her team because she didn’t drink. Brenna didn’t let that stop her — she started a Bible study with her teammates which she led for the three years she attended Wright State.

While Camille attended Georgia State for her master’s, she helped start a softball Bible study in which almost half the team participated. After graduation, Camille and her new husband moved to NC where he is a pastor, and she works for a youth soccer club. Now she is preparing to serve part time with AIA as a SportLinc coach to disciple other students who want to start sports ministry on their campuses just like she did.

Your partnership is making a difference in mobilizing laborers like Camille. 

Thank you!

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

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Uncommon Opportunities


Spring and summer breaks have become doorways through which hundreds of athletes and coaches begin a relationship with Christ or help others to do so.

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Lucymar, an intern in Puerto Rico (“Running with Purpose”) is currently finishing up the training she started with Karen last year. In March, she helped with a spring break AIA mission trip in San Juan. “During the week, we shared the gospel with a lot of students and some of them accepted Christ! Others accepted the challenge of getting involved in a discipleship group. I feel so much joy seeing them come to know Jesus. God was saying to me, ‘I have a plan and purpose for the athletes of this university.’ I’m so amazed at what God showed me.”

Each year God writes new chapters about how He is bringing the gospel to the world. Lucymar’s journey to faith and her growing vision for making a difference through sports for the sake of the gospel is at the heart of AIA’s vision for ministry: to see Christ-followers on every team, in every sport, in every nation.

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Sports TEAM, the division of AIA Rick works with, has been sending mission teams around the world since the ‘70s. In 2019 Sports T.E.A.M. will send 19 teams to 17 countries along with 15 projects in the U.S. As you might imagine, launching over 30 mission teams requires a great deal of teamwork involving many people and departments.

Over the last few years Rick’s role at AIA has continued to change based on the needs of the ministry. Today his role involves both providing insights through analytics and coaching or advising other staff to help them to fulfill their individual roles. Here are some recent examples of how Rick is assisting:

• Helping AIA to pursue operational excellence so that every dollar invested in the Great Commission goes farther and is more effective
• Developing digital media for recruiting and fund development
• Helping leadership to develop more effective strategic planning
• Helping make God’s name great through social media to build awareness and communicate about how athletes can help change the world

All of these projects will impact how AIA’s ministry adapts to the changing landscape of the world we are trying to reach for Christ and those we equip to have a lifetime of ministry.

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: April 2019 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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


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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.

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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.”

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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.