When Wade Hopkins and two other staff members from the Texas Gulf Coast Region went on a weeklong vision trip to Latin America North International Region, he hoped to discover how to best serve and support the sports ministry currently being done.
He explains the purpose of the trip, “To catch a vision of what God is doing in Latin America North and to see how we could serve and support that work. Ultimately, the goal was all about making disciples. We wanted to empower others to reach others.”
Supporting sports ministries in Latin America North
During their trip, Hopkins’ team learned about sports ministries—by listening, learning, discovering, and participating in local sports activities and two coaches’ conferences. Throughout the week, they watched local sports partners utilize volleyball, baseball and soccer to engage in ministry.
Hosted by Alex, the local FCA Director, Hopkins and his staff supported the local work being done to train churches to engage, equip and empower individuals in the Gospel through sports leagues and community outreach.
Major league influence
Although the group met a number of inspiring Christian leaders, one in particular stood out. His name was Lazario, also known as “L.” Steve Collazo, another staff member on the trip, says, “He was a dynamic speaker and held all the pastors’ attention with his captivating testimony.”
In his ministry, Lazario explained that he has shared the Gospel with many athletes. At least one of them happens to be a current MLB athlete who plays at a stadium that hosts an annual Faith and Family Night. Lazario is hopeful to see more of his players share their testimonies as they grow in influence throughout many leagues. Hopkins marvels, “That’s the power of sports evangelism.”
Blessed by Latino believers
During the trip, Hopkins and team helped train 80-85 coaches, pastors and leaders. Each participant received a Bible and a gift from the Latino FCA team. While the Texans went to gain vision and serve, they were equally blessed by their time among Latino believers.
Hopkins got to spend several days with a local pastor, Vladimir, who served as the group’s interpreter. Vladimir was leading a girls’ volleyball league that was impacting the community in dynamic ways. Hopkins observes, “I was so amazed at Vladimir’s quiet, confident demeanor. He knew he was fulfilling God’s call in his life as he developed his church to reach his local community.” Hopkins adds, “The result was that God used Vladimir to help me realize the opportunities all around me to engage with my community. I was blessed by our time together.”