“I realized how dramatically sport can facilitate growth and change. It’s a tool God provided me that had the capacity to help me uniquely make a difference in the world.” (Jessica)
Right now, a team of collegiate women basketball players is spreading fire seeds in the spiritual darkness of Europe, specifically in the Czech Republic. They are participating in pre-season conditioning, on-the-court drills, and scrimmages with professional women players from the Czech Republic. They will have Bible studies and a great deal of hang out time together. You can join this team over the week by lifting them, and all those they interact with, in prayer. You can follow the team’s blog here.
Your prayers will have a vital role, not just in the lives of the Czech players and coaches attending the project, but also in the lives of girls who comprise the AIA mission team. Don’t take my word for it; take a minute to hear from Jessica and others who shared from the 2010 project there.
God has a unique plan for each of those attending the 2012 project, just as you saw in this short snippet from two years ago. God is truly working in the most difficult parts of the world to reconcile this world to Himself again. See the bigger picture at Breaking through the Spiritual Darkness.
Thanks for your partnership in our ministry with AIA’s Global Sports Teams. My role includes facilitating communications and logistical support for projects just like this one around the world.
Armenia has historically been at the forefront of God’s work to reconcile the world to Himself not once, but twice. Mt. Ararat(now a part of Turkey) was the site where God directed the Ark to land after the Great Flood and He commanded Noah to reclaim the world. Then around 45 AD the apostles, Thaddeus and Bartholomew brought the gospel where it grew until
Source: Google Images
St. Gregory the Illuminator (after emerging from a 13-year imprisonment in a pit) converted King Tiridates III in 301 AD to Christianity. Armenia remains largely Christian and is strategically located between Turkey and the Middle East.
Today, Armenia is again poised to play a prominent role in God’s plan of reconciliation. Armenians love sports and take pride in competing around the world. Cru and AIA have been developing ministries here for several years. In 2009, AIA fielded our first project, where over 500 people were exposed to the gospel at a 3-day Sports Performance Clinic combined with a series of club events. As a result, a ministry team was formed from those who attended and volunteered during the ’09 project.
Our 2012 Armenia Sports Performance project ran from May 14-22. Our goals were to help organize the first sports medicine organization in Armenia and toconduct another conference and several clinics. This organization will touch countless lives sharing the love of Christ and will help build a nation of Christ-centered laborers through Armenia’s love of sports! We will share updates on the Armenia project 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.
Rick and I recently had a fun conversation with a couple centered around “Perspective” cards, a tool developed by Cru. What looks like a card game is actually a fantastic springboard for understanding someone’s take on spiritual concepts. The five sets of color-coded cards correspond to spiritual topics like one’s view of God, human nature, the person of Jesus, the meaning and purpose of life, and the source of spiritual truth. Several possible cards are presented on each topic and the person selects the one matching his viewpoint. Perspective cards allow for a casual conversation leading to real understanding of another person’s beliefs, while enabling him to clarify his own views.
Our friends said: “I’ve never talked about religion before without feeling judged or like someone was shoving a Bible down my throat,” and “That’s the first time I’ve heard my husband open up about his beliefs.” Both were able to articulate that they did not have a relationship with God, but they were very interested in talking more. Taking the time to really listen for understanding of another person’s perspective can earn us a chance to share our own, thus paving the way for the gospel. We’re so excited about how God will use this easy tool to facilitate spiritual understanding and conversations. As a ministry, we are committed to giving every person the opportunity the hear about the hope of reconciliation with the Savior who loves them.
Because of you, because of Him, we celebrate together all God has accomplished this year.
Karen and I want to thank you for allowing us to be one of your partners in ministry in 2011. Sometimes it’s hard to remember we are not alone in our service and worship to our Lord. It’s incredible to consider how much God has accomplished through the collective ministries of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), let alone the entire body of Christ.
Athletes in Action’sGlobal Sports group conducted ministry operations in 50 of those 191 countries mentioned in the video. As a result, your partnership with us and AIA helped to change many of the lives touched by Campus Crusade ministries in 2011.
Karen and I are looking forward to partnering with you again in 2012. If you are not partnering with us and would like to make a difference in 2012 by contributing to this ministry, go to our Eternal Investments page and ask the Lord how you could be involved.
We would love to hear about how you have joined the Lord in serving Him in 2011. It would be an encouragement to all, please leave a comment.
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.”
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