Athletes in Action's Global Sports Blog
Nov 25, 2014
Yesterday some of AIA ministry team caught up with one of AIA's Colombian staff at their hotel. Piedad is probably one of the best connected ministers in Columbia and is supporting bible studies with over eleven different sports teams. Within Colombia, Piedad is truly helping us get a little closer to our goal of “a follower of Christ on every team, in every sport, in every nation."
Several on our AIA team accompanied Piedad to a meeting with the Columbian wrestling team. During the meeting she challenged them to share an evangelistic sport DVD with other athletes during their time in Veracruz. Several on the team accepted the challenge; one wrestler was on his way to meet a friend and immediately brought up the opportunity to watch the video with him.
Later in the evening we accompanied Marco as he met with the Honduran soccer team. When Marco arrived in Veracruz there were seven Christians on the team. During the last week, seven others made decisions for Christ! This is their national team, which means the players come from teams all over the country. So there is probably a follower of Christ on every professional soccer team in Honduras!
At their last game, Marco gave each of the 20 players one of our DVDs and told them to give it to the opposing player. They did it! Even the non-Christian guys went ahead and did it. Tonight was a really special time with them. They hung on every word that was spoken. God has honored them and allowed them to reach the semi-finals in the tournament. They play Venezuela tomorrow. Pray that they will play to the glory of God.
The AIA Veracruz Team
Nov 24, 2014
Since obtaining our credentials, we’ve been able to freely enter any of the competition venues. It’s a great way to meet other athletes who happen to be watching the events.
The team meetings continue to flourish. On Saturday, several staff met with the women's basketball team from El Salvador. We gave an inspiring and helpful life-coaching talk which culminated in a Gospel presentation. Praise the Lord for all the wonderful opportunities He's giving us to herald the Gospel and minister to athletes!
Gimpses into other opportunities to minister
Sometimes just so-so:
During a semi-finals of baseball game we ended up sitting in the middle of a men’s softball team. There are plenty of slow moments in baseball so it was easy to strike up conversations. One good thing came out of it in that we met a couple Christians and were able to encourage and challenge them in their faith. However, the majority of the players around us were more interested in trying to sell us cigars. They also wanted to sell me their warm-up suits.
Sometimes very good:
While attending a Taekwondo main event it was so crowded inside we couldn't move around so we went out into the hallway where we saw five female weight-lifters from Venezuela. Three of our staff started a conversation with them. It turned out that most of the girls were Christians - which led to one staffer going through a bible study with them for about 45 minutes.
Sometimes a “best-ever”:
This was the case with the synchronized swim team from Colombia. God arranged for some of our staff to be poolside with the swimmers and pray with them before competing two days in a row. The Colombia team finished with a silver medal for team competition. They were overjoyed with this accomplishment. In addition, the pairs swimmers and the team are now qualified for the Pan American Games that will take place in Toronto next summer (2015).
Thank you for your prayers! Keep lifting up our efforts before the Lord.
Nov 22, 2014
What can chaplains do when they are denied access to the athletes they came to serve?
Athletes in Action's chaplaincy at the Veracruz 2014 games was initially cancelled because our staff couldn’t get the necessary credentials to move freely among the hotels and competition venues. The AIA staff had already received invitations to meet and support teams with chaplaincy services, but without the credentials, they could not get into the Veracruz venues without security clearance.
A synchronized swim team wanted to meet our chaplains at the competition site and pray before their competition - but the chaplains couldn’t get into the stadium. Another team wanted our staff to lead them in a Bible study - but the chaplains weren’t allowed to go to their rooms, and the security suggested the meeting be held in the parking garage. As you can imagine, this created a journey of faith for our AIA staff, but they continued in faith waiting for the Lord to open doors according to His plan and timing.
Enter the faithfulness of God to allow His work to be done on His timing. For four days AIA staff had been trying to find someone who could provide the necessary credentials so they could fulfill their roles as chaplains. It's a long story, so let's just say that after waiting in offices for five hours talking with officials, our staff now have official accreditations.
Our staff's adventure in Veracruz brings to mind two scriptures. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" and, "Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Prov 3:5-6 & Gal 6:9) What an adventure to watch the Lord doing only what He can do.
Thank you, Lord, for privilege of joining You in Veracruz!