Coaching Basketball and the Word

Coleen knew she was taking a risk.

Sharing her faith in the closed country in Central Asia where she was serving as a teacher and coach could get her thrown out of the country — or even arrested. In this region of the world, there is one dominant religion. Other religions, like Christianity, are forbidden.

But one day, Mara, a student at the university where Coleen was teaching and coaching basketball, approached her. “What makes your life so different?” Mara asked. She had observed Coleen all semester and was intrigued by her confidence and peace.

Coleen knew God was opening a door for her to start a spiritual conversation with Mara. Coleen was officially in the country to teach, but she is also a Christian missionary and staff member. She knew she had to be careful. Trying to convert someone away from the official religion carried grave consequences. She did not want to found out by government authorities or tricked.

So she gave Mara a copy of More Than a Carpenter, translated into her own language.

“Read this, and then we’ll talk,” Coleen told Mara. Sharing a book involved less risk than talking about spiritual things right then. Mara went home that night and read More Than a Carpenter from start to finish. As she read, God opened her eyes to the truth of the gospel and of His love and forgiveness.

After reading everything, she knew she wanted the Lord to be part of her life. “So I asked him in my heart,” Mara shared.

Mara came back the next day and told her coach what she’d done. For the next four years, Coleen coached Mara not only in basketball but also in the Word. After she graduated, Mara took a leap of faith and courageously became the first local to become a staff member in her country. Today, Mara is reaching others in her closed country with the truth about Jesus.

What an impact just one person, equipped with biblical resources, can make!

This year we have received requests for 105,000 copies of More Than a Carpenter that will be used in places like Europe, Ethiopia and Central Asia. Our staff tell us that just one book can reach up to 10 people with the truth — with one copy often being passed among families and friends.

Will you join us in providing More Than a Carpenter around the world so that we can reach even more people with the truth about Jesus?




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