Monday, May 09, 2016

Ready, Set, Spike

Volume 10, Issue 3
Ready, Set, Spike

Amber and Leif stepped out in faith as they moved to a town of 25,000 people in Ohio this past December. They are a young married couple in their 20’s born in the south and raised Texans. This past summer they went through Cru’s new staff training to join with Athletes in Action.

Amber playing competetive volleyball
Amber is 6 ft tall and the build of a volleyball setter. Having played her sport in college, she understands the challenges first hand athletes face. Immediately, upon moving to Xenia, OH she found an adult volleyball “club” league and joined. Having now been playing in weekend tournaments with other women in their 20-40s she’s developed new friendships.

Once such friendship is with a gal, Emma (name has been changed). Amber met Emma as she was a sub that weekend for another girl on her Club volleyball team. From the start they hit it off not to mention a love for the game of volleyball. On several occasions Amber and Emma have met together over meals.

During a recent weekly development time with Amber, she and Leslie were discussing evangelism. This struck a chord with Amber as we dialogued about being intentional in learning people’s story, since Emma’s been weighing on Amber’s heart. Emma attended a Christian university and even grew up in a Christian home. However, over the years her heart has hardened to the “church” (the formal gathering of believers) and perhaps other Christians. She attributes this to “legalistic people” and bad experiences. At this time in her life she’s not “walking with Jesus.” Emma knows truth in her mind but it’s thousands of miles from her heart -- her emotions and will to surrender to the Lord.

“We must learn to find the backdoor to people’s hearts because the front door is heavily guarded.” Says Author Ravi Zacharias about today’s evangelism. To Amber the back door to Emma is through her beloved sport, volleyball. Their friendship began through the platform of sport. Since their initial meetings just 3 months ago Amber has been able to ask Emma open-ended questions that tap into her life, the deep stuff, hurt, struggles, and marriage. Their conversations aren’t a monolog rather a dialogue that illustrates care, heart, friendship and bows the knee saying “I’m listening, tell me your story, I’m may not have all the answers but…”

I love seeing how the Lord is leading our new staff step to out in faith and engage in spiritual conversations. It is a privilege to mobilize and help train our new staff so that they are better equipped to start such transforming conversations.

Mike coached them as they raised their initial support in Texas. Leslie is presently coaching Amber through new staff development training. (all 1st year staff going through this training cycle.)

Prayer Requests:
  • Pray for Emma; that her heart would be softened.  Through the friendship with Amber and ongoing heart conversations that she would experience a freshness to God’s love.
  • Pray the Lord would strengthen and provide good sleep as this month is crazy busy. (Mission’s conference, both Mike and Leslie work back to back conferences, foster son’s case plan meeting, Leslie’s b-day, Leslie’s in an out of town wedding, perseverance with Benjamin’s treatment plan for a medical issue, ministry projects deadlines.)
  • Praise:  Life is FULL and we are blessed!