Time-Sensitive Prayer Request: An Open Door for Reaching American Youth
Over the past year, we’ve been amazed at the way God has been impacting young adults around the world – and He’s been using YOU to do it: You’ve prayed. You’ve partnered.
And literally thousands of young people have responded to Jesus: in Malawi, Myanmar, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, and Kenya.
Now we have an incredible opportunity – in a few days, hundreds of young athletes will gather from all over our state to attend the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sports Camp in Pella, Iowa were we will have the opportunity to reach them with the love of Jesus using music and the spoken word.
Two days after the camp, we are scheduled to leave for Belize, where we will partner to reach more young people in several cities with the message of Jesus.
If you’re interested in knowing how to pray in real time, simply LIKE us on Facebook for daily updates from the field. If you’d like to partner with us financially to reach people with the love of Jesus in America, Belize, Malta, the Ivory Coast, and beyond, simply click HERE to help - we’re so grateful for you!
And now, here’s the behind the scenes story of our experience at LAST YEAR’S FCA CAMP:
The air inside the gym was a good 10 degrees cooler than the air outside, but every single person in the room was sweating.
It was the middle of July at the annual Iowa-wide “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” sports camp, where, for a week, hundreds of young people would divide into groups by sport and spend the day training. A great friend, Carl Gondor, had invited me to come for the day and speak to each group individually about the incredible love of Jesus.
I had jumped at the opportunity because I believe that FCA is doing an incredible job of sharing the love of Jesus within the American public school system. I’m not sure how it all works, but I try to say “yes” to FCA as much as possible because I know that every time I do, somehow, somehow I get the opportunity to share about Jesus in school. Which I think is pretty awesome.
That being said, it was a swelteringly hot day, and by this point I had lost track of how many groups I had spoken to (five or six, I think.) Most of the groups were training under a cloudless sky, and I was wearing jeans and a black shirt, so I was fairly sure that I had already achieved a respectable sunburn from my collar up.
I was exhausted. The young people were almost definitely MORE exhausted. And none of us were finished….
I was currently speaking to the volleyball players – it was the last group of the day, and all across the gym, players were seated and sprawled out on the floor – still catching their breath but listening closely.
All day long I had done my best to be sensitive in the way I shared the love of God – each night the camp held a chapel service with an incredible worship band and a gifted speaker, and I didn’t want to interfere with the overall strategy for challenging and discipling the students.
As a result, I had done my best to share the simple message of the Gospel with the athletes – that we’ve all sinned and separated ourselves from God, that Jesus paid the price for our sin, and that we can receive forgiveness and experience reconnection to God – but I hadn’t really given any opportunities to say “yes” to Jesus on the spot.
My prayer was that the young athletes would be challenged by the messages, think about them throughout the week, and respond at the right time.
And I was about to do it again.
“So here’s the truth – God loves you desperately, and that love is bigger than anything you’re facing today – any insecurity, any mistakes, any shame, ANYTHING. And the amazing news is that no matter what we’ve done, or what we’re struggling with, we can experience freedom and new life today by admitting our sin, believing in Jesus, and calling on Him. I’m not going to give a call today…”
I paused and looked at the group.
And realized that God was doing something – across the room, the athletes were riveted to the message, and I could see the beginning of tears in several faces.
And in that moment, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit in my heart.
“Actually…” I turned toward my friend who had been escorting me around the camp for the day, “I think we should, if that’s okay?”
He nodded, clearly feeling it too.
“What I’d like to do is this, if you’d like to receive the love of Jesus today, to say ‘yes’ to Jesus and commit or recommit your life to Him today, I’d like to challenge you to raise your hand…”
And all across the gym, hands began to rise.
With tears in their eyes, dozens of young athletes responded to Jesus, and lives were changed forever.
Because that’s what Jesus does.
And this is why we do what we do.
Please pray for us as we prepare for Belize, Malta, and the 2017 Iowa FCA Sports Camp, follow us on Facebook for daily updates from the field, and click HERE if you’d like to partner with us financially in our mission to reach multitudes in every nation with the incredible love of Jesus!
We recently released our latest CD, LOVE IS WIDE, and we have been humbled and blessed by your response – if you haven’t gotten a chance to listen, we invite you to check it out on ITUNES, listen on SPOTIFY, or purchase the CD at our STORE.
Thanks so much for your love and friendship, and God bless you, dear friends!
Zach Blickens and White Ribbon Day