God at Work
God was at work in the hearts of athletes from across Canada, at the first in-person Athletes in Action National Training Camp in over two years.
30 men and women from universities spanning from Quebec to the West Coast, descended on a Southern Alberta Bible Camp for a five day immersion in faith and sport.
Students were taught how God made them, how He gave them their abilities and how playing is an act of worship. They learnt that their identity can be found in the love of the Father and not in seeking the praise and adoration of fans, coaches or teammates.
“The big thing that God taught me this week has been, just changing my perspective on sport in general,” said one athlete. “Coming into this week, I thought of sport as predominantly a mission field. My expectation was that I would learn here, practically what it would look like to make it a mission field. It doesn’t mean that it’s not a mission field, but it’s also a form of worship and bringing Him glory. Just not in the actions and the way that it looks like, but also the attitude you have. I think it created for me, seeing it as a mission field, kind of like a performance based faith. And so I have definitely changed this week and I am super excited to bring that into this year as I play.”
“Everything I heard in the sessions was so timely,” said another. “Even just showing up and making a whole bunch of new friends who are also athletes and going through the same struggles before I came here. Every session was something I could take into my life, even beyond sport. Things I was struggling with and praying and talking to God about, everything was so relatable and everything I needed to hear.”
At the end of the week, the athletes participated in the SPECIAL. An acronym for: Spiritual Principles, Endurance/Exhaustion and Confidence in the Almighty Lord. At the final event Golgotha, after a grueling day of competition, students carried a large beam up a hill and were given a tiny glimpse into what our Saviour did for us on the cross at Golgotha. A truly life changing experience.
“The new perspective that I have of the journey that Christ went through to get to the cross. Thinking about it as I was walking up that hill, I’m crying and don’t want to do it anymore and just thinking like, Jesus did that for me.”
“I genuinely love the SPECIAL so much. I think it’s such a cool event because you get so many highs and lows and just to watch people going through it and struggling through it and being with God and the expectation that He shows up. Then He does show up and it’s so sweet.”
A bond is formed with every single person in attendance. Something deeper, from the Spirit. These young men and women experienced how community is so crucial in our walk.
“Really rare to be at a camp with 50 of my best friends,” said one athlete. “I’ve never really experienced or looked at the cross in this sort of way. It’s crazy how I have so much appreciation for what He did for us. We all helped each other grow.”
“Athletes in Action, when I became a Christian, I got totally just wrapped up and God used a language I could understand through sport and other athletes to help me a lot and teach me a lot. As the years went by, I was honestly losing my faith before I came here, I felt so hurt and betrayed and I put that on Christians. So to come here and to have everyone be so genuine and make friends again, it helped to save my faith.”
“I’m thankful because I’ve made some mistakes and coming here and getting the extra push I needed to turn to God even more just because I know that He would die for me again and he would do it just because that’s how much He loves me.”
One athlete made a decision to surrender his life to the Lord this year, another eleven re-committed themselves to Jesus and five were interested in taking part in transformational prayer after NTC was over.
Praise God for how he reached these students this year!
“This is faith in sport and this is faith to apply to all our lives. I am chosen, and because I am chosen by God I know that I am worthy.”
“Sport is great, I love competing but most importantly, I’m super glad I connected with God in a space that was about more than sport.”
“I’m enough for God, even when I am not enough for the world or feel enough for the world. That was the big one that I am really thankful to work through while I was here.”
Will you pray and consider helping us make a difference in the lives of more athletes this summer? Your gift now can transform an athlete’s life forever.