For many coaches and physical education teachers in this Southeast Asia country, the global pandemic has meant a closure of schools and sports, severely limiting access to serve in their callings. But in the middle of an exhausting six months, they found space for their spirits to refuel.
The local FCA team came alongside eleven coaches and their wives for a Coaches’ Marriage Getaway, a two-day, one-night retreat to help couples reconnect in their marriage, stay physically active and encourage and strengthen their faith.
Coaches were able to encourage one another during a time when connection has been at a distance, and coaches’ wives gained a better understanding of their husband’s work and how to support them in their calling.
“We wanted to bless coaches in this time,” FCA Leader Erica said. “For us, family is very important. It is the first relationship God made, then generations are impacted from them.”
In a season where energy is usually spent with late nights, early mornings and long workdays on and off the field, the retreat set a slower pace for those parched for refreshment. “Usually we are the ones serving students and players, but this time, we feel like we were served. We were blessed. We felt like God was here,” said one coach.
Added another participant, “As a coach, we are always occupied by practices and tournaments. Coaches Marriage Getaway equipped us with sessions on how to value our marriage and helped me and my wife to have down time and pause for a day."
The weekend consisted of morning worship and teaching time, with Huddle breakout sessions in the afternoon. On Friday evening, director Fabio and staff set the couples up with a nice restaurant dinner. For many couples, the demands of rigorous sports schedules and constant care of kids can keep them from having quality time together. The next day began with strength and conditioning and moved into more teaching and Huddle time before the couples headed back home to take what they learned back to their families, teams and communities.
A powerful time of connection impacted the group so deeply that by the end of the program, both the coaches and wives were eager to continue the Huddles and meet virtually. They wanted to keep the camaraderie going and collaborate on best coaching practices and maintaining their work and faith balance. “FCA gave us a base to grow together as a couple and to live up to our respective callings,” one participant said.
Added another coach, “It was very deep and beneficial for us. In the middle of our busy life that never stops, God gave us a pause.”
A coach’s impact casts a wide ripple through the sports world, and FCA wants to make coaches more equipped to know how to become transformational with their players, and to know God is in their sport. But first, it begins with values to build relationship. “We give them value-based lessons, and as we build relationships, we show Jesus is God,” said Erica. “When coaches are equipped, they can go to their athletes and teams to transform and teach.”
While the pandemic has proven challenging, it has also cleared the way for new networking and partnerships through Zoom seminars, which makes it easy for people around the country to connect with sports ministry.
“Even in the pandemic, God has done great things,” said Erica. “God is very good. He opened our eyes to see what He is doing. Our ministry plan was canceled, but God really is One who guides. He has shown us, ‘I am the Lord who can provide.’”
Will you pray for FCA ministry in Southeast Asia? Will you pray for more people who want to serve coaches and athletes all over the region?
To learn more about FCA Southeast Asia ministry and how you can get involved, click here.
*Country is not mentioned due to security concerns