What a summer! / Sept 2013 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,Family Pic Summer 2013 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 AIA Team Blog Front Page 2013global 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 Moby, Douglas Speakingcorner 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 CSU 2013 AIA Timecutting 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.


“Don’t come to my funeral when I die!” / May 2013 Newsletter

With your partnership, AIA is taking Dont come to my funeral, Picture 1the 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 Dont come to my funeral, Picture 2attend 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.

Dont come to my funeral, Picture 3“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.

“It really touches my heart…”

“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.

Their reaction was worth the entire trip! / October 2012 Newsletter

It was the last day of the Ugandan Girls basketball project and they were helping at the Peace for Children Africa (PCA) orphanage.  The PCA was one of the places the project served between the scheduled basketball-related outreaches.  You can catch more about the project at “What about right now?” and AIA 2012 Ugandan Project“.  The orphans were excited to thank the team by showcasing their singing, dancing and acrobatic skills.  They were outstanding!  Afterward, our team gathered to give the kids one last gift.  Each child was invited by name to receive a backpack as the team sang “Mighty to Save”.  For us, this is not a big deal, but to them, it was huge because their reaction was worth the entire trip!  You could tell they were not expecting anything.

You may know the saying”We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.” Faith is what saves us and it’s  always connected with good works.  This is why AIA’s Global Sports includes as much physical aid as possible for projects.  The gospel message comes in many forms, and compassion aid is a critical part of our projects.  AIA Global Sports is very mindful that sports activity is a doorway through which the life-changing message of the gospel moves.  Why use sports?   Nelson Mandela said it the best, “Sport has the power to change the world.  It has the power to inspire in a way that little else does. ”  Want to know more about AIA compassion aid? Click here.  Thanks, Katie for your help!

Please review our prayer page and support needs links and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  Oct 2012 to print a hard copy newsletter.

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives …”

‘Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless.  God’s love is still working.  He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love.’”  Eric Liddell

During the 1924 Olympics, England’s Liddell was favored to win gold in the 100 meters.  Then the heats were moved to Sunday.  No big deal right?  Not for Liddell.  He reserved Sundays for worship and rest to honor the Lord.  Liddell voluntarily withdrew, despite the consequences.  Ultimately, Liddell won two medals in the 200 and 400 meters.  See Liddell’s story in the movie Chariots of Fire.

Now, eighty-eight years later, Liddell’s legendary character and faith have become the inspiration for the first More Than Gold Legacy Breakfast held at the 2012 Olympics.  Athletes in Action co-sponsored the event which honored Debbie Flood and Bryan Clay for their character, sports excellence, and faith in Christ, as the first recipients of the Eric Liddell Award.  Several other Olympians also shared.

Depending on your source, 300 – 550 people heard how faith in Christ is far more important in life than medals and fame.  Only 300 out of 10,000 Olympians received a medal, but all will be heroes back home.  It’s our hearts desire that these heroes will be seen looking up to God as they live out their lives back home.

What appeared to be a disaster for Eric Liddell, God continues to use to His Glory.

Uniquely Impacting the World / August 2012 Newsletter

“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.

Please review our prayer page and support needs links and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  August 2012 to print a hard copy newsletter.

“What about right now?”

It’s Wednesday (day 10) for the Athletes in Action Ugandan Women’s basketball project.  The team started the day visiting the Peace for Children Africa’s drop-in center. (Photos: Peace for Children)

Joel and Katie started talking with Isman, a fourteen-year-old boy.  As a part of any conversation, staff always ask what they can pray for someone.  They learned Isman had been living on the streets since he was seven and had been visiting the drop-in-center for over six months.  Isman was waiting for a sponsor who will help pay for his school expenses.  Their conversation ranged from football to the Bible.  Isman did not understand that Jesus had died for him.  “Joel explained how Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin because He loves us, and asked Isman if he had ever prayed to thank Jesus for dying for him.  Isman said, ‘No, but I would like to do that sometime.’  Joel asked him when he was thinking he might do that, and Isman basically said he’d do that any day now.  Naturally Joel suggested, ‘What about right now?'”  Read the rest of the story here.

That afternoon their game was played at a Muslim high school for girls.  The opportunity illustrated the power of sports to cross spiritual and cultural barriers so the gospel can be shared.  After the game, all the AIA players gave gifts to the girls from the school and talked about their faith in Christ.

These two stories are just a snippet of what God accomplished on this trip.  Pray for Isman and the growth of so many others.