FCA India Trip 2015
to all of you who were praying for us during our recent trip to India! It was truly an incredible trip. We visited two counties, five states and six cities in 18 days. We got to facilitate training in sports ministry for 85 leaders from across South Asia, and run practices in soccer, volleyball and basketball for over 230 athletes and coaches throughout the various locations we visited. Our trip was quite an adventure. Please enjoy some of the highlights and reflections below!
Ryan (6'10") Jon (6'8") Luke (5'11") Katie (short!) Heather (6'4")
After much prayer, the Lord blessed us with a great team. Heather is a volleyball coach from Dallas Baptist University, John is on staff with FCA Volleyball in Orange County and Ryan is a great basketball coach and on FCA staff in San Diego. With Ryan being 6'10, John 6'8" and Heather 6'4" we definitely stood out everywhere we went--packing all of us into vehicles was usually an adventure, too! We all got along so well and I am very thankful for the team the Lord brought together for this trip.
In the past I have shared how the Western Region of FCA has been aligned with South Asia for International Ministry. The purpose of this trip was to meet key leaders throughout India and get a vision of what God is doing throughout the region, as well as to help facilitate training and provide support and encouragement for our affiliates who have been serving in this country. During the trip, our team did ministry in Hyderabad in Central India, Thanjavur and Chennai in southern India and Jammu in Northern India.
In Hyderabad we had leaders from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar and eighteen different states of India attend our FCA Leadership Conference. Our host, Samuel, helped coordinate the conference and we provided "FCA Fundamentals" training during the day, and ran practices and coaching clinics in the mornings and evenings. We were very encouraged and inspired to learn about what God is doing through these staff, volunteers and guests.
FCA Leadership Conference in Hyderabad
Thungseng & Hutha working on a Ministry Plan
Anmol helping lead a soccer practice
John washing the feet of the leaders on the last day
We ended the conference with a foot-washing ceremony--our team washed the feet of all the guests that had attended. Many of them serve the Lord in very challenging and difficult circumstances with very little recognition or support, and it was an privilege to serve them in this way.
We then traveled south to Thanjavur where our affiliate, Bhaskaran, had set up a series of ministry outreaches for our team. He invited us to our first Indian huddle at the hotel where we stayed, and Ryan and I got to speak with a group of track athletes and basketball players he has been working with.
Heather coaching volleyball with college engineering students
Bhaskaran took us to many campuses (the picture above is at one of the universities we visited). We partnered with the coaches to help lead practices for the basketball, volleyball and soccer teams. This opened the door to sharing the gospel, modeling coaching to the whole athlete and promoting Bhaskaran and his ministry.
Ryan speaking at an evening church service
One of my favorite experiences was sharing the gospel at an assembly in one of the local schools. We got to give an invitation and witness students pray to receive Christ.
By the time we reached Chennai, our team was pretty exhausted. Fortunately the place we stayed was along the Bay of Bengal, and we got to jump in the ocean and recharge for a bit.
We went to Chennai to help with training at the ASLS (Asian Sports Leadership School). This month-long training is led by Joseph and Paul of Christian Sports Fellowship and their great team of leaders. There were 38 students from throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bhutan. We were with them for three days and our training was focused on running sports camps and FCA's new 3-Dimensional Coaching material.
Team-building activity in Chennai
Visiting a softball practice in Jammu - Katie helped coach
In Jammu we worked with Akash, who is leading the ministry in that region, and were once again visiting schools, meeting coaches and athletes and getting a vision for ministry in Northern India.
We were able to interact with key leaders and share the vision of FCA in support of our local affiliate. At this particular school, the girls performed their local traditional dance for our team.
Meeting Jess in Dubai
Katie and I were able to layover in Dubai for a brief visit with one of our potential future ISC partners and scout out some of the local facilities.
American School of Dubai Basketball Courts
One of Katie's highlights was seeing one of her former international co-workers from Korea, who is now teaching in Dubai and hosted us on our layover.
View from the Burg Kalifa - the tallest building in the world
Reflections from our Trip:
God is a work in India and it is exciting to be a part of it!
Sports Ministry is a very important tool for reaching people for Christ in this very populated and unreached part of the world, especially in light of recent political changes.
God has raised up some wonderful FCA leaders in South Asia and they need our prayers and support in the ministry.
If you join us on a future trip to India, you will need to become proficient at eating with your hand and showering with a bucket.
God is glorified when people worship him from every tribe, tongue and nation.
Thank you for your prayers! We could have not survived this trip if it were not for your prayers and all the many ways you have supported and enabled this vision of FCA locally and abroad. God is at work in great ways!
Luke & Katie Llamas
(If you would like to support Katie and me in the ministry, you can do so HERE, and if you would like to support the ongoing effort of the FCA Western Region to impact South Asia you can do so HERE.)