Our vision to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes is truly taking root. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes partners each of the 12 regions in the United States with an international 'Super Region'. The Mid-Atlantic region is partnered with East Asia.
From February 19 - March 2, Ashli and I traveled to Bangkok, Thailand for the first ever East Asia Capacity Conference! We joined 9 other FCA Staff from the Mid-Atlantic, and 40 staff/partners from different parts of East Asia. In addition to the trainings on sports ministry through camps, huddles, community, fundraising, etc., we were rejuvenated by the relationships we developed with our East Asia teammates. We have some incredible, dynamic leaders who are making a great impact on this part of the world. Ashli and I also learned that approximately half of the staff from East Asia are serving in 'closed countries', places where you can be imprisoned because of your faith (some have experienced this personally).
In 2011, I first felt God calling me to full time ministry. It was in Haiti on a dirt field, playing soccer with kids that didn't speak English; I realized the power of ministry through sports. God spoke to me in a similar way while in East Asia. Through stories of an FCA teammate developing relationships by playing soccer with 7 Muslim students every Sunday. Another FCA teammate who has been imprisoned 7 times because he is bold in his faith. Others who are faithfully serving in countries where less than 1% of the population are Christian. They are not always able to publicly verbalize their beliefs, but they are faithfully living out their relationship with Jesus through sports ministry.
The last 4 days of our trip the Mid-Atlantic Staff split up and visited different staff throughout East Asia. Ashli and I went to Singapore with Reon (Singapore's Area Director) and his wife, Rosemary, who were incredible hosts. We saw the sites, ate the food, and got to see FCA in action. We visited 2 campuses, a coaches huddle, staff meeting, and helped with a lacrosse clinic. Our biggest take-a-way was the amount of quality time we spent at each ministry. On average, it was 3 hours. The Coaches Huddle, for example, started with 2 hours of basketball, 30 minute small group/huddle time, then 1 hour for lunch together. That is how you build deep, authentic relationships!
I am extremely excited as this is just the beginning of the relationship between the Mid-Atlantic and East Asia. As of June 1, 2017, Mark Stephens will become the Regional International Coordinator and continue building upon this relationship and ministry partnership with East Asia. Carroll County FCA is honored to be a supporting partner of this growing ministry. Our local leadership board is discussing strategic ways that we can work together with our East Asia teammates, and we pray you join us!
Thank you for your continued support.