Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Death Next Door

Volume 11, Issue 5
Death Next Door
Tuesday shortly before noon, turning left onto Bickett Road ahead on my left was a 2NEWs truck.  “Hmm what could be news worthy here on this side of the road and out here.” I pondered to myself driving on the two lane road in-between two college campuses.  Hours later, my husband inquired, “Did you see the news about Wilberforce?”   Instantly I made the connection as to what caught my eye on the country drive earlier that day/ on my way home from a midweek meeting at our church in Cedarville.   Less than ten hours prior in the wee morning hours (typical for some college students) a sedan (Toyota Corolla) car with four passengers lost control that became a deadly crash for one of the women and the three other passengers presently in ICU.  The student who’s picture and flowers sit at the foot of the tree was a sophomore and a part of the choir and dance team on her college campus.

AIA has a ministry presence at Wilberforce and Central State University.   (Three exits on 35 from our house in Xenia also one exit from AIA’s Head Quarters.) That morning of the accident one AIA staff was contacted and her presence was requested.  The death of this young woman unveiled opportunity for spiritual conversations.
I (Lisa) work on campus as the women’s basketball team chaplain.  Students were wondering why God would take someone so young.  I was talking to the coach and he said that students were needing people to talk to and I knew that one of AIA’s staff was a part of a Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program that helps athletes and athletic programs walk through unexpected deaths within athletic departments.  I talked with our AIA staff and he got the ball rolling with his team to come and talk with the students.  On Sept. 28th the women’s basketball, dance, and cheerleaders all met with the CISM group.  This meeting allowed the girls to ask questions “Did she go to heaven?  What happens after you die?  Why would God let this happen?...” The girls also told how they were feeling in the process. It was an amazingly hard hour and a half, yet it was so good to see the girls remember their friend in this way.  The women’s basketball team have been involved with AIA through Bible studies the last 6 years.  This tragedy has opened the doors for Bible studies with the cheer and dance teams as well.  On Oct. 3rd, the men’s basketball team also asked for the same CISM team to come and debrief with them as well.  I was amazed at how open these young men were and how they trusted these men, and me, that they didn’t know that well in a time when they were unsure and hurting.  The doors are truly open for the Lord to come in and fill a void!

 I (Leslie) recently had the privilege of sharing at a family memorial and these words are fitting here as well.  Death is a bookend reality of life on earth.  Psalm 39: 4-5 Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.  Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.

{To see our previous month's newsletter, please see it at this link}


Sunday, June 25, 2017

On Mission with God

Volume 11 Issue 2
On Mission with God

“Someone has prayed for you.  Athletes in Action has prayed for you….” spoken by Mark Householder (President of AIA) at the commissioning of recent college graduates passionate about Jesus and on mission from God to serve a 1 year internship with AIA.  A privilege it is to continue to equip, train and mobilize new laborers. These interns will reach out to/minister to people who are broken, spiritually harassed, helpless and in need of as Shepherd.  …we have something to offer them that the World and their sport can’t.

This spring our LDHR services team hosted two of these Intern trainings (April 21st-23rd  & June 9-11).  This was a first for us to offer two trainings so we get include athletes competing in spring sports that couldn't come to our April date.

10 of those are new laborers that  have bravely accepted the call to ministry in other countries (Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, East Asia).  New this year Mike and I team taught all the Ministry Partner Development (MPD) material and had a BLAST.  Let’s just say Mike was on “fire” and even staff serving at the training came up to me and said, “We’ve never seen this side of Mike!”  A highlight for me was being asked to give the devotional again this year. 

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Thank you for the part you play in our ministry and in sending these 51 new missionary laborers.  Also, Let us thank the Lord for answered prayers for more laborers!  We pray for these workers as they prepare to take the message of the Gospel….to college campuses, sports teams and countries.

Karyn, now coaching interns, Leslie was her MPD coached last fall.
April Interns  trained  (above)
June Interns trained (below)

Mike Teaching  MPD principles
Commissioning of  Interns

Friday, March 24, 2017

AIA Internationally

Volume 11, Issue 1
Hablo Espanola? Atletas en AccĂ­on

Yes, I have a little familiarity (some words I know the meaning of) in speaking Spanish however I am not fluent!  Have you ever studied a foreign language in school or as an adult?
Imagine for a moment, being in a country where a language is spoken that you have no experience speaking, much less you have the life-saving message of the Gospel and your mission is to tell others by using the platform of sport.  We know “sport” is a universal “language” around the globe.  There is an ability is to “get” the challenges, pressures, and mindset in “sport” regardless of a language barrier or where you are from.  While our short term international (STINT) missionaries are not required to know the language before they go, they are required to take language classes or get tutoring once on the field. 
Last year we had an eight person team STINT in Puerto Rico.  Presently AIA doesn’t have any STINTers in Puerto Rico. However for next year, we have a married couple from MN that will be the team leaders. We currently have more applicants than we can send for this 8 person team (two leaders and six participants). 
Overseas on the field right now we have Bethany and Landon in Central Asia, and Nicole in the Middle East. The STINTers in Central Asia are reaching an unreached people group. They have seen around 8 people accept Christ just this year, which is incredible for this Muslim culture.
AIA has 3 priority countries that we are trying to raise up STINT teams.  We have begun to investigate 5 additional countries for future teams.
Praise & Prayer:
  • Praise for the 100+  applicants in process (Interns, STINTers, staff) with AIA.
  • Prayer for  implementation of new ministry tool in MPD coaching as well as All Cru Staff that Leslie will be training others.
  • Prayer for wisdom and capacity as Mike is overseeing implementation of two major ministry programs.
  • Praise for ministry partners and prayers said on our behalf.  Thankful for community and the body of Christ.
  • Prayer for peace as we face important appointments for our kids in April.