The opportunities believers have to share God’s love and message of salvation through their lives seem almost unlimited. Here are two recent examples through two different parts of AIA’s ministry.
Every winter, AIA helps college athletes grow in their walks with God through retreats. One retreat took place in late January in Indianapolis. Over 320 student-athletes from 39 different campuses attended. Kate, the retreat director, said that 42 athletes indicated decisions to follow Jesus and many more were energized to return to campus ready to live out their lives for Christ. Some commented: “I’ve learned to trust God through grief and surrender it all to Him … God is always faithful,” “Because of how God worked in my heart, I texted my mom, who I have a broken relationship with,” and “Everyone … is capable of joining God’s call to reach the world because God is with them.”
Ten years ago, a Michigan State football player attended an AIA winter retreat to help him grow in his walk with God. Now the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins shared the gospel at AIA’s 34th annual Super Bowl Breakfast in Miami, Florida. The program featured many well-known and influential voices in the NFL. People who heard the testimonies will be encouraged to share their stories, too, so that more people will be drawn to Christ. Search “Super Bowl Breakfast 2020” on YouTube to get a recap and hear Kirk Cousins’ inspiring message.
One woman’s comment card at the breakfast asked for prayer for her husband to come to Christ. The very next card was her husband’s, indicating that he had placed his faith in Jesus for salvation. This man was one of 34 of the 1,400 in attendance who indicated first-time decisions to follow Jesus. Amen, and praise the Lord! Sports are a very effective way to share the love of Christ.
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: February 2020 newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.
Praise God for new life in Christ from these events! Your partnership makes a difference. We are grateful for you!
In addition to leading AIA’s Team Blogs, I had the privilege of serving with the Xenia High School Ultimate Training Camp (UTC) this summer. Erin, our director, captured our team experience:
“My team would arrive around 7 and I’d lead them in a staff meeting and prayer time, work on all of the logistics for the day and watch the Lord do His thing in these athletes’ lives until very late into the evening. My whole staff team operated on very little sleep and poured themselves into these athletes all week. I was reminded that all of the planning and hard work that went into this week was worth it. Twenty-three athletes made the decision to trust Christ as their Savior for the first time and are committed to go back to their teams and apply the principles they learned throughout the week. #UTCXenia!”
Over three months, 72 stories were published about the HS UTC. You can witness what God Xenia High School Ultimate Training Camp .
This summer has been quite eventful! Our family witnessed two big events for Ellie and Elizabeth.
On July 30th our family celebrated the marriage of Ellie to Austin. God blessed their day with great weather at the outdoor wedding in Mt. Sterling, OH.
A few weeks ago, we rejoiced as Elizabeth started a new chapter in her life, one that’s exciting for all students, but exceptional in Elizabeth’s case.
Most of you know Elizabeth suffered from an extremely bad concussion and missed a year and a half of school. Through much prayer, God’s grace and very a talented concussion medical team at the University of Pittsburgh, Elizabeth is now attending Ohio University. Praise God!
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.
Click the following: Sept 2016 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.
For the last three years, Dawn has had room in her life for only basketball, her boyfriend, and school. Basketball has been good to her by providing an education. Not as much can be said for the boyfriend. Livia, an AIA staff member, has been an athletic trainer at Dawn’s college for the last two years. During that time, Livia has cared for Dawn and her teammates physically, emotionally and spiritually while building relationships with the team and conducting Bible studies.
Dawn has been attending the Bible study the whole time it has been available, but she was only going through the motions. Livia decided it was time to share her testimony and the gospel with Dawn before she graduated, so they scheduled lunch together. As they sat down to eat, before Livia could even begin, Dawn blurted out, “I need to have Jesus in my life.” Livia could hardly believe what she was hearing. It turns out that Dawn and her boyfriend were driving on a highway through a bad snow storm when their car spun out right in front of an 18-wheeler; but through God’s grace, the truck completely missed their car. A few more inches and they would have been hit by a 35,000 pound truck. God gave Dawn a glimpse of her own mortality, and because Livia had been sharing the love of Christ with her, Dawn knew exactly whom she needed to talk to. Livia then had the privilege to share the gospel with her, and Dawn prayed to receive Christ.
God is always at work, and we all have the privilege of being His messengers. I get to assist Livia and others on her team with their operations and communications. You help make that possible with your prayers and gifts. (The names have been changed to provide privacy.)
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: March 2014 to print a hard copy newsletter.
At the recent global sports fall retreat, our team of thirty-four staff members celebrated how God was changing lives and touching hearts of people around the world. One example was the college student who described a tour’s impact on his life like this:
Imagine similar stories repeated after 33 mission projects with competitive teams and sports clinics through seven different sports in more than 20 countries! AIA offers uncommon opportunities for athletes to share their love of Jesus and sports through cross-cultural ministry. Each project enhanced opportunities for ongoing ministry through outreaches and humanitarian aid, and each one helped students learn to share their faith.
It was my (Rick’s) privilege to serve these teams by assisting their missions’ projects, running the AIA team blog site, and managing communication roles for global sports ministry. One of my latest projects was developing materials for our teams during our 2013 Fall Retreat mentioned above. To God be the Glory! Your prayers/support help make this happen!
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: Nov 2013 to print a hard copy newsletter.
It only seems like a few weeks ago when we picked up Emily and Ellie from Tiffin and OU in May. Even Andrew visited from NYC, while Erica popped in from OSU. Then it was the middle of August and time to get Annie (Senior), Elizabeth (Soph.), and Aaron (8th) ready for school and take Emily and Ellie back to college.
In between, we coordinated getting five people to their jobs, camps, and VBS. Despite the family schedule, God allowed us the privilege of joining Him in some very significant activities over the summer. The following are a couple.
In May Rick began administrating the AIA team blog website where global sports projects share what God is doing through their missions. The site is essentially a town square. The blog historically did not have a dedicated manager, but Rick provided set-up, training, and support. As a result, our site generated a 40% increase in visits this summer, despite down time in July due to our conference.
At our national staff conference, we had the privilege to step back and celebrate what the Lord has been doing in every corner of the globe. Cru president Steve Douglass described this point in history as “the golden age of missions.” Our goal through the 60 different ministries of Cru is to reach EVERY person with the life-giving message of the gospel. At our conference we worshipped, prayed, heard from cutting edge ministers of the gospel and participated in practical, helpful workshops to equip us to share God’s love with an extremely diverse cultural. We will share more soon about our roles and their part in AIA’s 2020 vision for ministry in the coming months. We have the privilege of serving our Lord using the gifts He has given us because of you! Together we are a team serving God with Athletes in Action. Each member is critical to accomplishing the mission, thank you.
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: Sept 2013 to print a hard copy newsletter.
With your partnership, AIA is taking the gospel into the most difficult mission fields and making a difference. Thank you.
“On Saturday, Mom called. One of our relatives committed suicide. So I returned to my small village to honor my family. My brothers and I were approached by local Muslim leaders about why we “betrayed Islam” and became followers of Christ. They pressured us to change our minds. Last year, I was forbidden to attend another relative’s funeral. Funerals are a good chance for Muslim leaders to preach anti-Christianity, scare people and isolate those who accept Jesus.
“Before the traditional Islamic goodbye ceremony, three leaders took me and my brothers aside again to ask us to deny Jesus. We said our decision was made to follow Jesus. Again, they asked us not to attend the funeral. We agreed, but I went to the grave site. About 500 men attended (only men can go). As usual, the Imam declared the Bible had been changed and the Koran was given by Allah as the only true holy book.
“Then he turned to my father and announced to everyone that his sons betrayed Islam and became followers of Jesus. My respected father is now shamed by us. I told my father I was sorry. I can imagine how his heart is broken. Later my father asked, ‘Is it true?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He then asked, ‘Is this more important than life?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ My father replied, ‘Then don’t come to my funeral when I die!’
“Please, pray for my father and those Muslim leaders with the prayer of blessing, I really want them to know Jesus.”
Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord. Click the following: to May 2013 print a hard copy newsletter.
“This is special that you would give me this thank you card. It really touches my heart that you would come all this way to thank us.” A Sports Physiotherapist at the Olympics
This sports medicine professional’s reply was typical of the response AIA Global Sports staff experienced as they greeted many in the Westfield Mall in London. It was a place where people celebrated, relaxed, and escaped during their Olympic experience. It was a safe place to connect with people from all over the world. AIA staff greeted athletes and sports professionals and handed out small gifts and thank you cards made by the Kardia Foundation, thanking them for their contribution to the Olympic effort. Our goal was to share God’s love and make connections. These connections led to conversations with people, such as team physicians from many different countries. Through these relationships, we pray God will create ministry opportunities to serve these countries through Sports Performance. In each case, God’s love will be shared while we serve, and conversations about holding future projects within these countries can take place. It’s through this desire to serve that God will send His message of salvation to many around the world.
You are a vital part of this team by supporting AIA Global Sports. We appreciate your partnership in the gospel. Since athletes are heroes to many people around the world, those who know Jesus have unprecedented opportunities to be His ambassadors, and we, together with you, get to help facilitate that.