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.
It was a warm, sunny October afternoon when our guests arrived to pray for Elizabeth. We were enjoying the hint of color appearing in the trees in the front yard and the gentle breeze. By 5:20 PM, we had gathered around Elizabeth as she sat comfortably in the middle of our family room. We felt grateful for all the prayer that had already been offered on her behalf, and hopeful about how God might use the prayer and anointing to heal her. (Why? See “She needs your prayers“)
Our family is so thankful for the many people who have prayed, fasted, and invited others to pray for healing! We tangibly felt God’s love through the texts, emails, phone calls and cards telling us of even whole families fasting and praying on her behalf.
So, how did God work?
Elizabeth has experienced a marked improvement in her balance, vision and noise tolerance. Both her doctors have said she is doing better than they have ever seen her do. Elizabeth’s capacity to do more around the house and spend time with others also significantly improved through October and into November. Praise God for all of these developments!
The doctors in Columbus and Dayton both agreed that another round of intensive sensory integration therapy would be the best course of action. She started it on November 17. It will run at least through December 15th. Please continue to pray:
for the therapy to help her brain to completely heal
for her to feel God’s presence and love
for her ability to read and think again without intense pain
for her ability to resume some kind of schooling
We have felt overwhelmed by your love and support for Elizabeth and for us as you offered a sacrifice of prayer.
“May [their] prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of [their] hands as the evening offering. Psalm 141:2
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are grateful for the improvement Elizabeth has experienced, and also for you, our dear friends and family who are supporting us in this journey.
Imagine walking when your brain’s ability to process sensory input lags behind, like when audio and video are out of sync on your TV. Imagine an unstable world where focusing the words on a page is nearly impossible and you have no down dial for volume or brightness; where there are unrelenting headaches, dizziness and nausea, and your heart constantly races 50% faster than normal because your nervous system is just trying to keep up.This is the life our 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth has lived for the past two years since suffering a concussion playing field hockey.
Since then she has endured testing and treatment from many doctors and therapists and has tried meds, therapies and treatments we had never even heard of. The past several months have been filled with appointments and exercises we are to do with her. At this point, school is nearly impossible for her since she can’t read, use the computer or concentrate for more than a short time without worsening her headache. She needs your prayers.
On Monday, October 13th at 5:00 p.m. we are inviting a couple of pastors from our church to anoint Elizabeth with oil and pray with us for her. Would you join us on that day through prayer and fasting for her? You can fast from a meal, all your meals or anything else you are willing to fast from. Jesus said that some things are only accomplished through fasting and prayer. We are not trying to persuade an unwilling God, nor are we attempting to obligate Him by the number of people praying or because of our fasting; we are crying out to a loving Father who created and knows Elizabeth and has good plans for her.
Please pray for:
complete healing of Elizabeth’s brain
Elizabeth to allow God to use this trial for good in her life
wisdom for the doctors and therapists treating her now
the provision and direction to seek further treatment for her
Your prayers and support allow us to serve! Thanks!
Do you remember the summer you were 20? Patrick’s and Aaron’s will be unforgettable! They have never met, but together they are about to take the biggest step of faith in their lives!
“I want to learn more about ministry and experience it. It’s new to me compared to how I grew up. I want to bring this experience back home and use it in youth ministry…. I can’t wait for it.” (Aaron)
“I am looking forward to being the Sports Information Director for our team. I want to connect with the other players and with basketball players around the country (of Mexico). It’s a trip of faith. I can’t wait to spread the word of God and faith in Mexico!” (Patrick)
They will be joining eight other basketball players and AIA staff for two weeks later in May. Listen yourself at Basketball – Mexico or click on that link on our team blog.
Patrick and Aaron are not alone. They are just two of about 500 athletes, coaches, trainers and volunteers who will be traveling this summer to experience God using their lives to impact thousands with His love and message of salvation through their love of sports.
How can you make a difference?
The same way Karen and I are! Pray for them and give them a voice to share what God is doing through their lives and the bold step of faith their team is taking.
You can place the following URL http://teamblogs.athletesinaction.org/ into your web browser favorites and read a blog posting each day. If it encourages you, you can share it with your friends and family on Facebook or Twitter.
Your prayers and support allow us to serve with them! Thanks!
On February 1, 2014, the Barna [Research] Group reported that Americans believe professional athletes influence society more than pastors “by more than a three-to-one margin.” Because athletes have so much influence in our culture, Athletes in Action strives to reach these men and women with the gospel, help them to grow in their faith, and then help them share their faith with others. I (Karen) recently had the privilege of interviewing four-time-Olympian Lauryn Williams about her relationship with Jesus. After writing her story, I posted it online so that anyone looking for information about Lauryn or her sport can find it, and you can read about it here. It was announced yesterday (2/8) that Lauryn will be pushing the #1 bobsled at Sochi driver and fellow believer Elana Meyers! Read about it here.
Free App for Winter Olympians’ Stories
AIA and The JESUS Film Project are partnering to bring the faith stories of Winter Olympians directly into the hands of smartphone users. Through the FREE Jesus Film Media app, videos of the Olympic athletes will join a library of more than 66,000 video clips in some 1,100 languages.
Download the Jesus Film Media app now by going to app.jesusfilmmedia.org on your smartphone or search “Jesus Film Media” in the app store. For more information, go here. You can also use this app to share the JESUS Film itself with people in over 1,900 languages which comprise 91% of the world’s languages.
We value staying in touch with you. In the next few weeks, like many families we will be dropping our home phone number. Please make a note of this change and use our cell numbers. You can find them by using the link Feb 2014 below. If YOU have changed numbers, would you let us know by calling or sending an email soon?
For the Rogers family, May has already been both exciting and perplexing and it’s only half over. Our family eagerly anticipated its arrival because Andrew was graduating from The King’s College and we all joined him to celebrate in New York City. We had the chance to meet Andrew’s professors and fellow students and see some of his world. It was a great weekend! There were 60 graduating seniors and their families, all sharing their journey to this milestone. Can you imagine all these stories coming together to make up the class of 2012 story?
However, that week, Hannah, a long-time friend of the family, passed away. Even though Hannah was a few years older, she and Erica were great friends because they walked a similar path in life. Within 36 hours of returning from NY, Karen, Erica, and I found ourselves traveling so Erica could speak at Hannah’s life celebration. (Our friends, Blaine & Judy, Hannah’s parents)
Erica & Hannah’s sister, Heather
It’s interesting and perplexing how God allows such different stories to be lived out simultaneously. However, God has blessed it, and we are storytellers living part of God’s story of redemption and reconciliation. Regardless of how great or broken our stories are, God delights in each one. They are unique views into His Story that we will hear in eternity. Are you ready to tell your story to others? It may be the story that opens the door to the very heart of God for someone.