European Sports Training: A Conclusion


His name is Samuel, but he likes to go by Sammy. Sammy took the bus to sports camp. For two hours. One way.

Even though he traveled four hours on a bus, Sammy loves sports camp. You saw it in the way he acted and you knew it by the mere fact of him showing up. Why does he love sports camp? It was not only a chance for him to practice soccer, but he learned more about Jesus - who He is and what He means for him.

Last Friday, Sammy and others heard the Gospel. They heard it in partnership with the local church. This is what sports ministry is all about. The children came from far away and from close by, from German and from active duty US military parents. They were led by a Ukrainian, Albanian, Portuguese, and a German/American missionary family. It is amazing to see God at work through all of the nations that were represented.

It is our hope that this ministry will continue to grow in Europe even though we are home now. We know it can happen. We have seen it before in places like the US, Zambia, Tanzania, Brazil, and Venezuela.

We now pray that a sports ministry movement can begin here. We will continue to pray for Europe even as we begin planning for our next sports ministry training. We will be assembling a training team to work with Juca Cerpe, our National Director in Brazil, to host a training in São Paulo with countries from South America in December. Please be praying for Europe. Please pray for our continued sports ministry effort and the planning of the training for South America as well.

We want to personally thank you for your prayers and support during this ministry effort. We have seen your prayers at work and your donations have made this effort possible. As we prepare to train more key leaders, your continued prayers and support to this effort are appreciated. Your partnership is vital to our continued ministry and success. We thank God for you all and for what He continues to do in and through this ministry!

You can continue to view updates on our sports ministry effort, whether on the US or abroad, by following our Base Sports Facebook Page.

Four Leaders, a Sports Camp, and a Pastor

On a relatively sunny day, with a cool breeze at at my back, I am watching our newly trained European coaches lead the first session of sports camp. Now that the classroom time is finished, the practical training begins! With a wide variety of ages, the children in attendance are all enjoying a great time of fun and skills development, while learning more about God.

It's been a real joy watching these key leaders arrange drills, share sports and Bible stories, and run an object lesson. Most of all, it is fun seeing each of them experience sports camp firsthand and applying what they learn throughout the week. During our classroom time, our team of trainers had the chance to see practice presentations, but now we get to see them in front of children. Whether it's Andi jumping enthusiastically with the kids during song time, or Max calling all of the leaders forward to act out a bobsled run (with sounds and actions!) during a sports story, the level of energy is high.

In addition to the key leaders learning more as they run the camp, a local pastor is also watching. He is learning about how sports camp can become a regular part of the ministry through local churches in Weisbaden and in the Christian school whose fields we are using. As he is watching he is enjoying what this ministry is doing for the children who are here. Who knows how God will continue to use this camp long after we finish here tomorrow.

As the leaders continue to run camp, they are praying and planning about how they will work with churches in their respective nations to start sports ministry for the purpose of reaching more children, youth, and adults with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Please keep praying for the short ministry here in Weisbaden, and for completion of the training week here. Be on the lookout for another post as we finish this time and look toward the near future and how Base Sports will be working here in Europe!

Our European Partners

It has been a true pleasure to spend time with the men we are training this week. When we finish they will soon begin sports ministry in their respective countries and I cannot wait to see how God will use them. Here is a little bit about each one:

Steve Davids (Germany)

An Awana missionary raised in Germany, Steve and his family arrived in Wiesbaden, just west of Frankfurt, a little over a year ago. The host of the event, Steve is a veteran sports camp leader and spent this week learning more about the latest changes to the sports camp curriculum. With several church options at his disposal to begin sports camp ministry, we are most certainly looking forward to how God will use him this ministry year and the years to follow.

Max Tamozhnikov (Ukraine)

Max’s passion for soccer is apparent from the moment you meet him. An Awana missionary near Kharkiv, he has a passion for reaching children and raising up leaders within churches. He is looking to implement sports ministry as soon as he returns, all for the sake of building up churches in his region.

Bruno Cunha Faria (Portugal)

Part of the Awana ministry team in Portugal, Bruno prayed fervently for an opportunity to use sports as a tool for outreach in his nation. A resident of the Algarve region, he is an avid runner who desires to use fitness and soccer to connect families to the church. As he returns home, his intention is to use sports as a way to assist churches as they reach out to children and families in need.

Andi Dina (Albania)

A new member of the Awana family, as a child Andi had a dream of one day playing professional soccer. That dream was cut short by a civil war. Now, he is merging this passion with his deep desire to reach children and raise up leaders within local churches. This summer Andi intends to begin sports ministry in several churches, using this style of ministry to create excitement and create outreach alongside the long-term discipleship ministry of Awana.

As with other trainings like this one, the chance to spend dedicated time with like-minded ministry partners encourages and inspires our training team as we look to the future of sports ministry in Europe. Please continue to pray as we plan and as we run a short sports camp during the rest of our time here in Germany. I am greatly encouraged by what I have seen in each of these missionaries and know God will use this training to strengthen and grow more churches here in Europe!

Training Begins!


After several days of travel, our training team met up last night with key leaders from Portugal, Germany, Albania, and Ukraine. These leaders arrived ready to learn about sports ministry and how it can impact their local churches and the communities they serve for Christ. We began with some great discussions about serving churches through sports ministry outreach. In addition to everyone sharing about their own ministry situations, we also talked about the importance of sports ministry in training young leaders for the church.

Partnering with Faith and Reinland Baptist Churches, we are now preparing to begin camp tomorrow (Monday) here near Kaiserslautern, Germany. As I write this, we are dividing up responsibilities for the camp, which will provide the practical experience for these new coaches as they learn how to lead sports ministry. The valuable experience each leader gains here will allow them to effectively communicate why sports ministry can help churches, while also giving them the experience necessary to train others to run sports ministry in their countries.

Essentially, the week we spend together here is the launching point from which each key leader will be able to train more coaches, who can act as a trainer in their own churches. Through this process, we pray that more sports ministry will take place in more locations in each nation as these leaders train more coaches. Training more leaders to lead effective evangelistic ministry in relationship with local churches is the reason we have come together in Germany. Now we pray that this effort may bring great results for the Lord. 

Please remember to pray for the sports camp and training this week. Pray that the churches here would be served well. Pray that these new coaches are empowered to return with the tools, knowledge, and confidence necessary to begin training others to replicate this ministry in their home country.

Now that we are here, we will be posting more this week to keep you informed on how you can pray for us. Thanks, everyone, for your prayers and support!      

Less Than One Week Away!

Sports Camp.jpg

I cannot emphasize enough how excited our training team is about the sports training we will be running in Germany beginning April 1st! We are less than a week away from our arrival in Germany, not far from Ramstein Air Force Base, one of the two US military bases hosting a sports camp where we will train new sports ministry leaders. The military families of Ramstein and Vogelweh, less than a half hour from one another, will be provided with a week-long sports camp while we train key Awana leaders from Germany, Albania, Portugal, and Ukraine. We know that this training will kick off a ministry effort that will continue to provide badly needed support to churches who desperately desire to reach communities across Europe. We are confident because we trust God and we continue to see the impact of this type of training on another continent.

It was six years ago that Drew Hester, our Executive Director of Ministry, went to Africa to train key Awana leaders from six different African nations in sports ministry. The results from that training are nothing less than astounding. Leaders who were originally trained went to work immediately, running sports camps in partnership with churches. As local churches gained a vision for the impact sports had on their community, they worked with trainers to train more leaders and to run weekly clubs and tournaments. They even introduced Cricket to sports camp, designing a skills curriculum to coincide with the normal Bible curriculum provided by YMI. As this movement expands, we receive reports each year about hundreds of churches, training hundreds of young leaders who share Christ with thousands through sports.

It is my hope that this training will create a movement like we have seen across Africa. Once again, Drew is leading a small group of trainers who have the tremendous privilege and opportunity to serve churches in Europe by training leaders who can, in turn, train more. There is only one week until we arrive. Please pray for us as we go. Pray for safe travel. Pray for planning. Pray for provision. Pray with us as we go in the hope that our efforts would be the beginning of another sports ministry movement that will develop more young leaders and reach more communities for Christ across Europe.

This is blog post number one of several more to come as we travel. Return here after April 1 to see updates on our training!