I was a baseball player at the beginning of my sophomore year of college at Saint Louis University when I was first introduced to Athletes in Action. My coaches approached me after receiving a letter from AIA, asking them to recruit players for their summer teams. My entire life changed that summer, as the AIA coaching staff poured themselves into me during the two months we played baseball in Venezuela and Peru. Not only did I grow spiritually, but I developed an intense passion for those who are untouched by the joy and peace of Christ’s love. For the first time, my heart ached to touch lives as the AIA staff had touched mine. I realized that God had not only given me the talent to play baseball, but that this ability could be used as a platform to change lives. The challenge of trying to reach the lost in Latin America motivated me to also pursue a degree in Spanish so that I could better serve those in the countries God had put on my heart.
During my sophomore year of college, I trusted Christ as my personal Savior. As my relationship with Him grew, I began to sense an urgency deep in my soul to reach out to those who don’t know Him. I began to understand the responsibility that God had called us to live a life of worship, drawing people to Himself both at home and on foreign soil. My first mission trip was to Los Angeles during spring break in 1997 . The following summer, I felt led to travel outside the US to Nigeria. Soon I was traveling the world: to Peru, Mexico, Thailand, East Asia, the Amazon Jungle and Spain. I began taking Spanish classes as I weighed a budding desire to live in Latin America as a missionary. At the same time, I was pursuing a degree in athletic training. I began to see a greater purpose in my career: the opportunity to share Christ with athletes who found their identity in their sport. I was soon combining my passions, working as an athletic trainer and using my summer vacations to share the love of Christ in other countries.
God has been powerfully preparing Natalie and me over the years for our ministry together, giving both of us strong desires to fulfill the great commission and to use our love for athletics to raise up strong men and women in Christ. Our hearts were running hard in the same direction, and I joyfully asked Natalie to continue in ministry along side me as my wife and as a member of Athletes in Action. We team up together to do summer tours, discipling and challenging baseball players in their walks with Christ. Natalie will also continue to use her athletic training to build relationships and challenge athletes both physically and spiritually.