Ryan Reinheller attended the University of Alaska- Fairbanks to play hockey. While there, he did chapels with the hockey team, got invested with FCA through Bible studies his junior and senior years and went on mission trips to Mexico. Hockey and faith were always intertwined for him. After moving away after college and getting married, Reinheller and his wife and two sons came back to Fairbanks to make it their home, with a heart to bring hope to the next generation.
Reinheller became the FCA Ambassador for Fairbanks and set to work on finding ways to connect not only with the current athletes at the U of AK Fairbanks but also the athletes around the local communities. What could he do to make the summer memorable?
He thought back to his own fond memories and recalled some of his best time happened at camps.
“I love sports and I love Jesus,” he said. “I loved going to camp, and had great God encounters and friends. Camps made my faith more real.”
As he prepped for summer activities, Reinheller prayed participants would encounter the same memories and experiences.
He started with a half day fly fishing clinic where Reinheller invited the community kids to learn more about the outdoors sport, perhaps even experiencing it for the first time. Coaches taught on technique and rhythms before sending the kids out to do their own fishing. After, someone shared a devo on God’s pursuit of the heart and responding to Him.
A few weeks later, Reinheller and volunteers did a mountain biking clinic one evening. “We set up obstacles, a teeter totter, root on the ground and a balance beam, and they rode the course,” he said. There was even a wheelie competition and jump track. At the end was another theme devotion about staying on the right path, where Reinheller pointed to Psalm 119:105:
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.”
Not to be forgotten was the typical FCA Camp. FCA Fairbanks hosted a three-and-a-half-day speed and agility camp, complete with workouts, Huddles, camp gear and great discussion off the camp theme. Setting up campers to personally experience God is important to Reinheller, so he provided the most opportunities possible.
The camp and clinics fostered fun, faith and a chance for athletes to enjoy new activities in a safe and encouraging environment. In a state where the summer season is short, people squeeze every minute of enjoyment they can.
Reinheller, also the Life Coach for the U of Alaska Fairbanks hockey team, lit up watching the athletes laugh, play and hear the Word of God. This was the perfect atmosphere and he felt in his sweet spot.
But the summer and its fun weren’t over.
On the last Wednesday of the month, Reinheller hosted Game Nights from 7:00 – 10:00 PM. Kids could play milk jug lacrosse, kayak tug-o-war and other fun games.
Kids connected to each other around a bonfire, with a devo and Huddle time. It was a relaxed setting for some to hear about Jesus for the first time. Reinheller hopes the leaders who attended will go back and get Huddles started at their high schools. Other activities throughout the summer included a home run derby, hockey skills camp and Fields of Faith.
Getting God to the youth of the Fairbanks area is imperative to Reinheller. “I think if I’m on my deathbed or have one day left, what would I do? I’d want to tell kids about Jesus.”
This drives him to trust the Holy Spirit and that God will raise up leaders to help him establish more Huddles around the area.
Reinheller hopes every kid who comes to these activities leave having a great time and greater interest in God.
“My prayer is God’s timing for what He puts on their hearts. It’s all about Jesus.”
Please pray for continued fundraising efforts and the great ministry in Fairbanks. To consider supporting Reinheller, visit here.
Please also pray for more volunteers and leaders, and for motivation for student-athletes getting involved with FCA.