Two weeks ago we shared about AIA’s 4th Annual International Coaching Academy and asked you to “pray for openness to the truth of Jesus, for those who do not know Him to personally surrender their lives to Him.” Thank you–your prayers have been answered! At the start of the academy everyone was challenged to love one another. Each day, through activities that included team times, devotionals, practices, and training, the Holy Spirit was at work. Coach Kelly, (AIA) was amazed how quickly this group bonded and learned to communicate, even when no translators were present. On Tuesday of week two, the real story of Christ was shared and through this story and a gospel message nine coaches accepted Christ as their Savior! Most of the attendees said they never heard the real story of Christ nor did they know it was possible to combine their faith and love of sports to honor the Lord and share His love with others around them.
Will you now join us in praying again over the coming weeks and months “for the impact they will have on universities around the world?” The enemy will be working diligently to take away what God has accomplished through this academy. These men literally will be in a position to impact generations to come in their homelands.
After writing about the humanly impossible reconciliation that God orchestrated between Coach Evelyn and another Rwandan basketball coach two weeks ago (“He was one of them!”) I set out to share about the ministry of reconciliation, but after a few hours I realized I could not do any better than Paul, as shared in 2 Corinthians.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2nd Cor 5:17-20)
Out of the Mouths of our Babies
Karen: “Rick, why do I have to keep telling you you can’t wear those clashing colors together?”
Rick: “It’s proof that purgatory exists.”
Use the links below to get the November hard copy newsletter and to see our latest prayer needs:
Nov11 prayer letter Lift Us up in Prayer
Four years ago a Muslim basketball player became a Christian during an AIA tournament held in Africa. In 2009, by God’s grace, he attended AIA’s first International Basketball Coaches’ Academy held at our WTRC in Xenia, OH. This month he will attend his third academy! Today, he is the national coach for his West African country, which is predominately Muslim. Through this academy and other AIA training, he has developed his skills as a basketball coach and life coach. As a part of his national program, he leads a Bible study attended by several players. Praise God for all He is accomplishing through young men just like him all over the world.
As of this posting, approximately 40 coaches are attending this year’s academy which will focus on developing their coaching skills and their spiritual life for two weeks. Some are Muslim, and they are fully aware of what the academy is about; however, they have seen coaches who have attended the academy realize a certain level of success when they return to their respective homelands.
Please pray for openness to the truth of Jesus, for those who do not know Him to personally surrender their lives to Him, and for the impact they will have on universities around the world.
Learn more at the Annual International Coaches Academy
An important area of focus for projects like the one in East Africa is to assemble a team who can continue building the ministry after the project. To that end, AIA put on a basketball coaches’ clinic in Rwanda.
As the clinic began, two coaches were asked to demonstrate passing techniques. Coach Evelyn had a funny expression on her face during the demonstration. Later our staff asked her why. Evelyn shared that her family was killed by Hutus during the genocide of 1994, leaving her and her baby for dead. When coach Evelyn walked into the gym, she saw one of men who killed her family 18 years before. Incredibly, through God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, Evelyn was able to forgive him. Then, God allowed the impossible to be done. She was asked to demonstrate passing drills with this man who had killed her family! At that moment, God completed a reconciliation between Coach Evelyn and this man. Coach Evelyn later said, “In that moment I realized God had removed my bitterness and I had completely forgiven this man and the others.”
God is reconciling Rwandans one relationship at a time through sports. What a privilege it is to be a part of reconciling people around the world to one another and our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the greatest parts of AIA’s global projects is how many ways God’s love can be shown. During our East Africa 2011 project, His love was demonstrated in both words and actions. You might say God’s love materialized in a “concrete” form with the construction of a basketball court.
Now community, ministry, and sports activities that emphasize Christ will be available year round at this facility. Everyone in the area sees this as a gift that will greatly help in the development of their youth.
AIA also shared God’s love by sharing His word using the I’ve Got the Whole Bible in My Heart curriculum at the Soweto Academy. A week-long Bible overview was given to over 400 children. Each student was given his or her own copy of an NIV Bible. It was exciting that some of the children prayed to receive Christ as their Savior in the middle of a class period.
We give God the credit for all this project accomplished. It was a very challenging project, but became a huge answer to prayer for all those involved with the Global Team and Soweto Academy.
Please continue to pray for everyone involved in this ministry in Kenya and Rwanda. Karen and I are looking forward to being involved in helping put together projects like this one in 2012.
We are finding what sustains us today is God’s grace. We are realizing how ungracious we are, but the love of Christ is the key to seeing the truth. Jesus gave us life because He loved us. (1 John 3:1) He was kind and gave to us freely. (Eph 2:1-7) As we live life, we also pick up burdens, but Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give your rest. “ From the fullness of His grace Jesus gives us one blessing after another. (John 1:16) Grace, then, brings dignity to life and removes the shame that paralyzes us. (Romans 5)
Out of the Mouths of our Babies
As Karen hands Aaron the educational back of a cereal box at breakfast, Aaron: “Oh no you don’t, I see how it is, I see what you’re up to. I’m going to LEARN something.”
Use the links below to get the October hard copy newsletter and to see our latest prayer needs:
Oct11 Prayer Letter Lift Us up in Prayer
On September 28th and 29th the AIA US Global Team met to come before the Lord and trust Him to reveal our role in fulfilling His Great Commission next year. These two days were the genesis of what the Lord will accomplish in 2012 through our ministry. Our team’s major goals in fielding projects around the world are to:
- pioneer in countries where little or no ministry exists
- aid international staff with established ministries
One example from last year’s planning was the East Africa project in Kenya and Rwanda. By God’s grace, 1,200 people were exposed to the Gospel, 80 people committed their lives to Christ and 33 AIA volunteers committed to disciple others with help from AIA staff.
As AIA staff, we will help with project planning, development, and fulfillment; however, God works primarily through our volunteers, who become the face of Jesus Christ in this life-changing ministry. Your partnership with us will help to provide these volunteers with unprecedented opportunities to be ambassadors for Christ. We, together with you, will help facilitate this ministry. Thank you for being partners with us in sharing the gospel around the world!
Please pray for:
- the Lord’s lead in developing our 2012 projects
- our volunteers as the Lord prepares them
- project resources
- AIA staff as they develop each project
- Rick and Karen to complete our support team (our status)