Dave and Connie Deal – Athletes in Action Global, Cru
We trust that this update finds you “leaning into” the challenges of a new year and “leaning on” a God whose deep desire is to lead and guide you in those challenges.
Our family is so grateful for you and for so many friends and partners that we heard from over the Christmas holidays. Your encouragement, prayer and support mean so much and we’re thankful!
Since our last update in December two events have taken place in East Asia that are accelerating the development of our goal of building spiritual movements through sports. An AIA Basketball Coaches’ Conference led by one of our US AIA Staff and our Mongolian national staff was held in Ulan Bator and an Ultimate Training Camp took place in Singapore.
The Mongolian Coaches’ Clinic was the most recent strategy used to build relationships in the sport world there. An AIA US Basketball Coach coached the national team (to a much higher than expected finish) in the recent Asian Games. And one leader said, “Mongolian basketball has really opened up to AIA”. Please pray for more opportunities to share the Gospel in Mongolia!
The Ultimate Training Camp is a high intensity sports camp for college & pro athletes. We tackle the issue of how to blend faith and sport together on the field of competition. We teach athletes five Biblical Principles and then allow them to test those truths in a 20-hour sports marathon known as The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Our goal is to help every athlete in every nation understand how the Gospel impacts their sport and life.
Check out some of these first hand comments on what God did in Singapore by going to the Ultimate Training Camp Singapore 2015 Facebook page.
Vick, University Track and Field athlete- “I have gone to many camps but never one like this before. What made the UTC different was that hearing is just the first step of the agenda. It isn’t enough to just HEAR about God’s Word. You hear, you reflect, you apply, you FAIL, you share, and then you repeat the process again and again till your heart bleeds out love. If you think the UTC is about teaching you how to be a better athlete to win games and have God on your side, you are seriously mistaken. At it’s heart the UTC isn’t even about sports at all; rather it uses sports and physical challenges to facilitate a BREAKING EXPERIENCE in your life to allow your blind spots, secret sins, motives, hypocritical values and excuses to be exposed before God and your brothers in sisters in Christ on your team.”
Bryan, National Rugby player- “I wanted to join the UTC because I really wanted to have God with me in my sport. I always prayed before games or trainings, but I never really had focused on Him or even thought of Him while I was playing… only when I scored or when I was losing and needed Him to turn things around. I felt like something was wrong and missing. The five spiritual principles that we learned have helped me to know He is with me in my competition. I know that I am truly loved and protected by Him. Now, my intensity is higher and His presence surrounds me. My motivation is FOR Him and my playing is worship TO Him. I play my best WITH Him.”
Silie, National Archery Team- ”God spoke to me during the UTC. He taught me that He allows pain in our walk, but He can also lift it off us… in His plan and His time. I’ve also learned how to incorporate God into my daily training and competition routine as a constant reminder to rely on His strength and not my own”.
Because of you and your support, AIA Trained Staff in East Asia are serving athletes and sharing the Gospel with them. Elite athletes and coaches have come to know Jesus personally, and they now know how to compete while honoring God with their performance! Please pray for our staff as they disciple these athletes to impact their countries and the world for Christ!
We’d also appreciate your prayer for Dave as he underwent surgery on 1/23 to repair a torn biceps tendon in his arm. Dave says it’s just cosmetic surgery because his biceps was just getting too big… but you’ll have to ask him to tell you the real story!