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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve had a week of moving: Elizabeth to her dorm at OU, Annie from one apartment to another at EMU, and beds from our house to OSU campus for some international students. Some things were too big or too heavy to carry alone, but with help, I could do it.
This describes my role all summer as a coach for eight young women who have been raising support for one-year internships with AIA. I have been discipling, equipping and encouraging them as they have taken greater steps of faith than ever. One intern said, “Having you as my coach enabled me to stay on track and be encouraged and motivated while growing in my relationship with the Lord.
You provided accountability, encouragement and wisdom as you shared your own experiences and prayed with me. I would have been completely lost without your help.” For them to do this alone would have been overwhelming, but with help, it was doable.
Through your partnership with us, you have enabled us to mobilize Christ-centered laborers who are eager to be sent into the harvest field. Another highlight of our summer was Cru17, our national staff conference celebrating the theme “With.” Our focus was on partnerships so that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations…” (Matthew 24:14). It was a treat to see four interns I have coached in the past going overseas or joining our staff long term.
A major focus of Cru17 was Oneness. Several speakers talked about our need to facilitate ethnic and cultural diversity in our ministry so that the gospel can go to all people. The gospel is the solution to the causes of racial and ethnic division that rock our nation. Please pray for us and for our new laborers to facilitate healing and change.
You can also experience many of the sessions, seminars, and workshops at Cru17. Click here.
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.
Click the following: August 2017 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.
Would you like to be a part of the 2,500-member prayer team who intercedes for Olympians by name?
Prayer team members will be sent the names of five Olympians along with information about their sports and their countries. Click here to join.
There are many ways AIA will be impacting Olympic athletes in Rio this summer: we will have chaplains available to minister to and pray with athletes, we will hold chapel services, and we will distribute our new Struggle and Triumph sports Bible and our new Struggle and Triumph film which is available in 25 languages. You can see and share the 34-minute film for free by downloading The Jesus Film app on your mobile device. This high-quality film features the stories of four Olympic heroes from four different countries who have grown in their faith in Christ through the struggles they have faced.
Another free resource we have produced is the Struggle and Triumph devotional series available on YouVersion Bible app for mobile devices and pc’s. You can share this 33-day devotional series with young athletes and anyone interested in the faith stories of Olympic athletes. Karen edited these devotions and wrote some of them, too. Because of your partnership with us, we are able to serve the body of Christ. We appreciate you!
This is a very exciting summer for us. In addition to our regular work of managing AIA Team Blogs (Rick) and writing and editing (Karen), Rick is also blogging with our Ultimate Training Camps for high school students and Karen is discipling and coaching interns who are preparing to serve with AIA for the next year.
In family news, we rejoiced to watch Elizabeth graduate from high school, which is a miracle we continually thank God for; we are preparing for Ellie’s wedding to Austin Church; and we recently learned we will be grandparents to Erica and Parrish’s first child.
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: AIA Newsletter July 2016 to print a hard copy newsletter.
Mobilizing His People to Engage in the Great Commission
AIA’s vision is to see Christ-followers on every team, in every sport, in every nation by using the platform of sports so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus; in other words, the Great Commission found in Matt 28:18-20.
“I am forever grateful”
Ashley was the athletic trainer for the Thailand volleyball tour last summer. She not only cared for the team’s physical needs, but was a great example of someone mobilized to fulfill the Great Commission. It’s hard to tell who benefited more- those she ministered to or Ashley herself. God is doing this across ten other AIA sport teams as well. (Ashley on right)
Ashley in her own words: “God completely rocked my world through this whole experience….God wanted to grow me in ways I could have never imagined. He wanted me to take a step of faith, trusting only in Him. I am so glad that I decided to take that step of faith… I am completely in awe. God returned me to Himself through this trip….. This experience is something that came at the right time for me, right after graduating. It has shaped my thoughts going forward with my life and career. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.”
Do you remember how Will ended his story? (See October Newsletter)
“I’m so thankful for all the amazing things God did in us and through us. Say “yes” to any sort of mission … But I also want to encourage you that you don’t have to travel across the world to make a difference. Wherever you are, you can bring glory to the Lord.”
Making a difference together!
You can make a difference from your computer, tablet or phone. Start by liking our Facebook page Rick and Karen Rogers and share our posts with your friends. Why is this so critical? (Get the big picture)
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: Nov 2015 to print a hard copy newsletter.
“Let me tell you about my journey (really God’s) halfway across the world. He brought together a group of basketball players from around the country and took us to the Philippines. We knew we would be playing against university and professional teams and doing mission work, but we all discovered our plans pale in comparison to the plans God has for us.
“From the start, we discovered a brotherhood no one could have anticipated, clicking as if we had known each other for years. We were able to go so much further than surface level conversation and shared life together as men. We discovered what it means to be a man of God’s kingdom through His Word and the experiences He took us on. God grew each of us closer to Him and to the life He has for us.
“Sharing the love of Jesus in Manila in a prison, an orphanage, a school and a hospital opened our eyes to what life is really about. Many of us discovered our “why”-our foundational rock on which we will build for the rest of our lives. We discovered we can use our gifts and passions to bring glory to God. Using our play as our worship and our worship as our play, we can use basketball or whatever we do to be a spotlight for Jesus.
“Although our team found success in our games, we were playing for something bigger than the scoreboard. It was so cool to fellowship with the teams after our games and share laughs, God’s love and the gospel story. It was counter-cultural in the realm of sport. It’s amazing that each one of us went on the same trip, did the same activities, and yet God worked in different ways in everyone. He marked us in ways that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
“Personally, I came back with a renewed sense of purpose. God spoke to me and opened up my eyes to see where He is leading. I’m sure all my brothers have stories and experiences that would never have happened if they hadn’t taken this flight of faith to the Philippines.
“I’m so thankful for all the amazing things God did in us and through us on this trip. I encourage you to say “yes” to any sort of mission journey that God presents you with-there is truly nothing like it! But I also want to encourage you that you don’t have to travel across the world to make a difference. Wherever you are and whatever you do, you can bring honor and glory to the Lord and together, He will use us to change the world!” ~Will
Your support enables students like Will to experience God in new ways.
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: Oct 2015 to print a hard copy newsletter.
Yes, your portfolio is extensive. AIA’s Global US team fielded 40 projects around the world in 2011. These projects are not only changing the lives of people in these countries, but also the lives of college athletes and the adult volunteers who staff them. Through this strategy, AIA has developed a ministry presence in 96 countries! The philospohy of win, build, and send has resulted in 57 countries being led by nationals.
We recently spoke with Ben T., AIA’s International/Global Director. He is extremely excited about the opportunities AIA has globally. By 2020, AIA’s goal is to see a Christ follower on every team, in every sport, in every nation. We don’t know how the world itself will change, but sports has the power to change the world, as Nelson Mandela said (see About AIA). When it’s coupled with the life changing message of Jesus, the world will be transformed. “It’s a privilege to serve the Global Family of AIA as we trust God for what only He can do. We are so thankful to have Rick and Karen join us. They will be a tremendous blessing to the ministry around the world!”
Can you imagine the eternal return on our investment?