More than 300 coaches, school staff and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FCA, gathered for the annual Lake of the Ozarks FCA banquet.
"It's our biggest fundraiser of the year and the opportunity to cast vision for what we are doing and see if people will come on board and help support us financially," Area representative Kathy Wiesen said.
The Lake of the Ozarks FCA district includes seven counties and 20 school districts.
"The vision of FCA is to impact the world for Jesus Christ through the platform of coaches and athletes and so we have the opportunity to serve seven counties, 20 different school districts around the lake," Wiesen said. "It is nationwide, in fact worldwide international organization. We are the largest sports ministry in the world. They say that 97% of the people are affected by athletics, so it's an amazing platform to influence people for Jesus Christ."
The guest speaker, Brian Holman former Seattle Mariners baseball player, is now a financial advisor and motivational speaker.
"Brian has an amazing personal testimony. He has been involved with FCA for a long time as a supporter. We had him as a speaker at our coaches retreat and he really touched the heart of a lot of our coaches," Wiesen said.
Holman has been a long time supporter of FCA and travels around speaking on behalf of the organization.
"My family went through some tough things. We lost a daughter to leukemia, a son who had a brain tumor and went through some very difficult things and God just really has allowed some tough things in our family and we are able to now turn that around and use that as a ministry tool to go out and share with people who are going through some difficult times and help provide hope and encouragement," Holman said.
Holman and his family have been through situations that many could never imagine. Holman credits his faith in God to getting him through the tough times. He now uses his family's story as his testimony.
"We live in a world that is full of chaos. Jesus did not say that you might have tribulation, he said you would have tribulation. No matter how much you try to get away from it, it's something that is going to happen, but he said, 'Be of good cheer, therefore I have overcome the world.' When those things happen in our lives, we have to keep our eyes on the prize which is Heaven," Holman said. "If we get our mind off that, we get focused on worldly things. Whether you are an athlete or whatever you do, eventually that will go away. But the things that never go away are the investments that we make in people and the impact we make for the kingdom. Those things will last forever."
Page 2 of 2 - FCA not only touches the lives of athletes through meetings once a week at the school and camps within the community, but also reaches out to coaches.
"A coach probably spends more time with a child than their parents do and to this day, the kids that I've coached still text me, call me, tell me how things are going in their life. So, most kids don't realize that FCA is really focused on coaches. Our goal really is to minister to the coaches so they are prepared and able to deal with kids and impact the life of kids," Holman said. "I understand personally how great it is to be a coach and invest in the lives of kids. It lasts forever. It also lasts forever when you don't do it right. It's very important."
Wiesen spends much of her time encouraging coaches to live for Christ while instructing students.
"My heart is for coaches. Just walking alongside the coaches and encouraging them, just equipping them and challenging them to walk out their walk with Jesus while they are coaching is the neatest thing," she said.
She also said that she is encouraged by the boldness of the students in the Lake of the Ozarks area.
"Most of the schools are very small. I have some schools that only have 100 kids. At Appleton City for example, they have 112 kids. 48 kids were at the FCA meeting, so half the school was at FCA," Wiesen added. "We have middle school programs here, two local have 100 kids that come every single week. So, just seeing kids stand up for Jesus in their school and impacting other kids is amazing."
FCA focuses on four core areas including coaches, campus, community and camps. For more information about FCA or how to support the cause, visit www.midmofca.org or call Kathy Wiesen at 217-778-1564.