Baby Tripp, House Flood, and Baseball

Introducing our newest addition

Tripp Thomas Hughes

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Tripp Thomas Hughes
May 16th, 2018 @ 8:35 am
21 inches
7 Pounds 13 Ounces


Thank you for your prayers. Mom and baby are healthy and doing well. We praise God for the ability to have a c-section and keep everyone safe and alive!

House Flood

We are share this news with optimistic hope that God is using all things for our good, to conform us into his image and we are grateful this story isn't a lot worse! But it stings a little!

On the 2 week anniversary of baby Tripp we caught the tail end of Alberto collecting 9" of rain overnight. My neighbors who have been here 30 years and another 19 years both took on water for the first time....

And our basement did too!


Praise God for some insurance adjusting knowledge - (By the way groundwater is not covered! haha)

  • We got the water out and stuck fans and dehumidifiers in place!
  • Trashed a bunch of stuff!
  • Tore out the paneling and flood cut the drywall!

All seemed to be managed well enough....

Then we stumbled upon a sizable foundation crack and a rotted sill plate previously hidden behind our paneling. It also turns out we will have to rip out the concrete patio to provide relief and grade away from the house in the back.

Please pray for wisdom and financial nunchuck skills as we put the place back together. We are grateful to God this happened outside of the school year and while I was at home! 

We're also grateful this sinkhole happened 600 YARDS AWAY and not closer!

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Congratulations to the baseball men that I connected with during their career here that were drafted in the 2018 MLB Draft last week! 

Daniel Lynch -  1st round - Kansas City Royals
Andy Weber - 5th round - Chicago Cubs

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Please pray for Caleb Knight who was injured most of this season and looking to sign with a team. Caleb toughed out playing this season with a broken hand which dropped his draft stock, but I've been so encouraged hearing that he is confident in God's plan for his life and knows that God has him just where he needs to be. Praise God!

Finally - The football guys return later this week. Please be praying for God to be at work over the summer in fight clubs, discipleship, and home outreaches! I'll be working with them and preparing for a Charlottesville Tom Sox (college summer baseball team) chapel coming soon.

Baby #3 is coming this Tomorrow at the latest - from what I'm told. 

Please JOIN ME in Praying for Mom and baby to have a healthy birth!
(Pictures to come)
 

Meet Jimmy

Jimmy graduate last year, but was one of my closest guys. He is playing golf professionally now on the Web.com tour. It has been a joy to continue investing in him and supporting him spiritually as he looks to share the love of Christ with other golfers.  Here he's sharing about some of what AIA meant to him.
THANK YOU for the role you play in our partnership!!

Former UVA All-American and current Web.com professional golfer shares about the impact AIA made on his collegiate and professional careers.


Bryce, Cole, and Anzel get baptized!

Last Sunday we had the privilege of joining The Point Church in Charlottesville for the Baptism of Bryce, Cole, and Anzel. The Lord has compelled with excitement the need for each of these student athletes to make a public declaration of the inward reality of the work the Lord is beginning in them!

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What started as Bryce and Cole (UVA FB) asking to be baptized before heading home for the summer resulted in 12 other baptisms at the church that Sunday morning, including Anzel, our field hockey friend!
We were grateful to be a part of this celebration. Thank you for enabling this!!

 

Parent Response!

“Did my son come to Christ through you this year?” he asked pointedly after being introduced at the football spring game. Noticing something was different, Dillon's father used the first moment we found ourselves alone to ask! His son, had started meeting with me individually and coming regularly to AIA this year. What a transformation we’ve seen! He went on, “I couldn’t even get him to come to church back home and now he’s telling us he goes to church… and AIA… and a bible study… and he does a fight club. I told his grandparents and they were so excited”

This man pictured below has been such an bright spot to the our ministry this year! A giant of a man with a giant of a heart for the Lord! Pray for him!

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Grateful for Gospel conversations

This year marked a rise in the number of folks we were able to share the gospel with. Maybe in part for it being our second year on campus. Please pray for the Lord to continue orchestrating times that we could share the gospel like with Tim and Ryan and so many others!!

Thank You for your continued prayerful and financial support we couldn't do this without you!!

And Finally...

Learning and Losing

March was a humbling and encouraging month here at UVA.

UVA came into the tournament setting all sorts of records.
 
Their overall record of 31-2 earned them the nations outright, overall #1 seed for the tournament. They won the ACC Regular Season and the ACC tournament in controlled fashion. 
With only one ACC conference loss, they were unbeatable on the road in conference play - also never done before.
I could go on, but let's suffice it to say - HOPE was at an all-time high here come March. 

First Round Stunner
#1 UVA was ousted by #16 UMBC by 20 points 74-54 - making it the first time a #1 seed had lost the opening round to a #16. The first of 136 over 57 years!

The University was in shock, and the disappointment experienced was real,  but we couldn't be more proud of what these men accomplished this year. I would be remiss not to say, how grateful I am to have a believer like Tony Bennet coaching our team through wins and losses. What a coach and man of faith! 

Getting to the Gospel
During my ensuing conversations with athletes, we talked about HOPE and how our hope in the promises of God are not like our hope in UVA heading into the Tourney. Though we felt confident that we would win, we are SURE that God's promises will prevail because they have been guaranteed at the cross. Guaranteed In something that has already happened! Signed and sealed!
 

Other Short Stories

Learning from Bryce  

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Teaching me about what he learned during our "snow day." I'm so proud of this guy seizing his limited free time to grow in understanding our Lord. He was convicted by the idea that he was receiving God's word and even living it to an extent - but he wasn't giving it/sharing it with others.  I'm so excited for this man and those around him.

God works through his people

Many of you have heard this story - and not from me. Adam (left) left UVA last year as a top draft pick for the Phillies. I have been grateful to hear from Adam how he continues to share his faith with his new teammates just like he did back here! 

Even crazier - my good friend Jeff Boettcher was named the Chaplain of the Phillies this year! While at Spring Training Adam brought his friend to meet with Jeff. He prayed to trust Christ that same morning and was baptized days later!

God works in such cool ways! And I am so encouraged that the work we do here on campus continues to spread into the world as these students move on! 
 

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Picture courtesy of Jeff Boettcher!

Pardon the GAP!!

Newsblasts from this time gap can be requested however we are unable to put them all up on the internet. Moving forward, a greater emphasis will be for us to include what we can on this site. 

Please feel free to ask for any previous letters by emailing me. 

Thanks for your understanding!!

Not in over our head...

Yet!

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Our first large group meeting drew to a close in prayer after the message. Immediately the student athletes got up, put on the backpack and filed through the door. Everyone was gone!!! And it was only five minutes since we concluded!

This is a problem!

Was fellowship after meetings dead? What about all of the great after-meeting convos - No chance?


One thing was noticeable -- NO FOOD!
 

 As the saying goes..."even a party without food is just a meeting."


Since then we have provided Chick-fil-a nuggets, chopped veggies and hummus, Big Cookies, Bekah's homemade coconut Popcorn, and bottled waters. Slowly more and more folks are hanging around willing to talk. This is just one small thing we can do to increase our effectiveness to change lives. Please pray that fellowship and questions will grow after our meetings!

While it has been exciting to engage with athletes through ongoing bible studies and individual meetings, Chili Dinner, Lasagna Night, and Back to School Barbecue, we are super excited to to begin inviting them into our home for dinner - Thanks to some Baseball guys our first week of opening our dinner table is in the books. Please pray that this change will have a strong effect of showing the love of Christ to the college students and promote more gospel conversation!
 

After fall ball - Orange and Blue Game 7 - a few of the players that have been encouraged by the Baseball Bible Study and have made it out to dinner!

Paxton discusses the deeper meaning of life with some of the lady track athletes at the Lasagna Night.

It is a privilege to serve the Lord with YOU!

We're so grateful for your prayerful and financial partnership for the gospel. The Lord is doing great things here and it is an honor to be part of His action with you.
 


By the Numbers
Amount of Students contacted (Social, Large Group, Bible Study, Individual Meeting)
Men 53
Women 60
Coaches/Coaches Wives 19

This number expresses our current interest footprint - not an amount of disciples. We hope that many of these folks would come to know Jesus in a personal way and that the number would grow for God's glory.


Please Pray for the Gospel to be clear, impressionable, and contagious among these student athletes at Virginia. Join us in lifting up the campus in prayer that the Spirit would be moving exalting Christ as King in a broken world and reclaiming his children forever.

Summer's Ending and we are

GOING!

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We want to hit UVA within a month!
Join us in prayer that we could conclude our support drive and find a place to live in less than a month!


Williamsburg has been a blessing, but our GOAL is in VIEW!
We have survived the summer heat due in part to the sprinklers and a lot of air conditioned support meetings. God has been faithful to as we have reconnected with past friends and established connections with new friends passionate for God to move in the hearts of the lost. Our support goal is in striking distance - We are in our final 15%!

Drives and Planning
I have logged some solid windshield time behind the wheel connecting with fellow ministry workers in Charlottesville. My hopes of uniting campus ministries starts with our alliance with FCA on the football and basketball teams. I have been purposeful to attend and witness a FCA sports camp in Richmond which has provided a greater understanding of their ministry. It is more clear now how our partnership to reach the most diverse team on campus might look. Among greater differences, what other sport can a 5'11, 180lb kicker be buddies with a 6'6, 358 lb linemen? This team will take a team to reach!

UVA - Charlottesville
Our planning for the final move is in swing and we are trying to find a place to lay our heads in the land of the Cavaliers.  Please pray with us for God's specific providence for a residence that can double as a haven for the athletes at UVA - whether rent or purchase! The time is short, the real estate environment is a formidable foe, but God is good.

UVA Sports News - Olympics
UVA is sending 18 athletes and coaches to the Olympics representing the US and other countries. For more information check out this link!

Senior swimmer Leah Smith (right) won the Bronze in the 400 m freestyle and will compete again in the 800 m.

UVA Crew coach Kevin Sauer will be coaching a UVA alumni and friend, Meghan O'Leary (Left), in Rio at the Olympics. Follow them in the women's double sculls in the Finals on Thursday!

Practical Prayers

  • God's provision of a home that welcomes visitors and ministry.
  • That many at UVA would come to faith and respond to God's love through Christ.
  • That we could finalize reaching our support base so that we can begin ministry.

Thank you so much for your continued support through prayers and finances. We are so excited for the following month in preparation of our work in the fertile field of Athletics.

Happy 4th of July!

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The Blood of Heroes Wins Freedom


American, our freedom and independence has been purchased for us by the blood of many heroes.

On this Independence day I heard the booms of the firework filled canons and imagined those with a bloody explosion of ammunition -- that echo through history -- fighting battles and forging freedom at a grave price. I saw a flag illuminated triumphantly but remembered images of flags tattered and torn from the fight as the light fades.  It is true that many men were obedient to attain victory but they were also obedient unto death for our country's freedom. 
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) So what's our response?

Hundreds of years later, have we grown calloused, unappreciative, or even unpatriotic? Doesn't our pride and passion for the liberty won wane?

I believe it's true for the cumulative American. Let's not forget the reality of the sacrifice endured for the festivities that we now celebrate.  BUT, is it not also true for the disciple of Christ?

Jesus, God in the flesh, endured the most horrific death in history to win the greatest victory in history. Obedient unto death, even "the" death fore-known. Hardly did he embody the mild lamb we often picture; the bruised and beaten, battle stricken, wounded Jesus paid the bounty with his life for the Freedom of all men, everywhere... forever. But his physical death, as gruesome as it was, doesn't display the depth of his suffering as the sin sacrifice for the world. His battle wasn't won by earthly domination, but by earthly sacrifice. His blood - the blood of "the" Hero won our Freedom, forever. 

 

Don't let your passion wane for his victory won!!
Celebrate it daily!

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Respectfully, the Pre-2003 Army Soldier's Creed has been adapted below for the Christian. Are we not called as a disciple to be a soldier of Christ? A soldier not victorious in the shed blood of others but in the finished shed blood of Jesus Christ - that we might love others, even our enemies, and even unto death.
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The Christian Soldier Creed

 

“I am a Christian Soldier. I am a member of the body of Christ – a representative of the one and only greatest God on earth. Because I am fully satisfied in Christ’s work, I will always act in ways creditable to Him whom I serve.

I am proud of my God. I will do all that I can to make his name be known as the finest in all the earth.  I will be loyal to Him and to those with whom I serve. I will do my full part to carry out the orders and instructions given to me (mainly to love God and love others).

 

As a soldier, I realize I am a member of a time honored brotherhood—that I am doing my share to spread the principles of freedom for which Jesus Christ died.  No matter what the situation, I will never do anything for pleasure, profit or personal safety which will disgrace my faith, my Savior, and my God.  I will use every means I have even beyond the line of duty, to restrain my fellow brothers from actions disgraceful to themselves and to God.

I am proud of my Savior and my God and I will try to point all people to the glory of the God I represent, for I am a Christian soldier.

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The blood of Christ, the Hero, won our true Freedom.
Will you be a soldier for him?

We are so grateful for YOU! 
Thank you for your prayers and support. We are thrilled to get to campus soon!

Please Pray for God's providence in our support raising!
That our goal would be knowing and loving Christ before financial support efforts.
That the final 27% in monthly support would come in through monthly or annual gifts!
That God would be opening doors and hearts of athletes and coaches at UVA to know the freedom, forgiveness and hope that only Christ offers!

In Christ,
      Connor and Bekah

Today is the day I took a LEAP...

Today is the Day I took a LEAP!

Gone are the days of a "guaranteed" paycheck and known provision - At least that's what it can feel like!

Today was my final day as an employee of Decker Associates in the insurance world. As I reflect where God has brought me over the past few years... it's humbling. The future is a bit scary and unknown, but it's exciting.

My story, which many of you know is a story of much failure and some wandering, but even moreso it's a story of a faithful and sovereign God. When I was young I said I would never play football and I would never live in New Jersey. Funny - by playing football I moved to New Jersey.  While I may never completely understand how a NFL career didn't work out, by God's grace I have been refined throughout the journey. Now I am leaving New Jersey with a beautiful wife and two amazing sons. There was no company and no NFL to thank for these blessings in my life - but there is a God.

So while a company does not provide a salary for me any longer, God continues to sustain us and he will always. In fact, He is still raising up supporters who, by their faithful and generous giving, will sustain me, my family and the mission ahead.

Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of sharing my story (God's story) with multiple community groups, friends, and even a prison ministry. I pray most importantly that those in attendance have walked away encouraged by the abundant grace that our God has to offer. Even for such a "wretch like me." Amazing Grace indeed.

I can not thank you enough for your support allowing me to do this and I can not express what you all mean to me.

On June 11th, a week from tomorrow, we pack up the Pod and trailer and head to the sunny South to pursue God's call on our lives.

If you have been considering joining our monthly financially team - Now is a great time to "Jump In" -- the water's WARM. Haha. But seriously -- Today is the day I took a leap, will you?

Grace and Peace
Connor and Bekah


First Annual Madness King - Jayme Volz!

Congratulations Jayme Volz - the only one in the bracket to nail the winner.

If you stuck around long enough to hear the interviews, Josh Hart (photo above) was the third person on the stage interviewed.  His first line, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ first and foremost.

As we have shared with many of you, one of the reasons we are called to sports ministry is to affect those that have this platform. National coverage viewed by 17.8 million. And how about a great gospel conversation starter for the rest of us! "Did you see the game?"..other comments..(wait for it...) "What do you think about athletes thanking God, or even Jesus after a game, like Josh Hart did?"

Brief Update


We are nearing the end of our stay in New Jersey. On June 11th, we will be moving to Williamsburg, Virginia. Once we reach our initial monthly target we will head for Charlottesville! Thank you sincerely for your support. We couldn't do it without your faithful prayers!

We are grateful to share our thermometer update showing our "committed financial status" of 65%

Please Pray

  • For God's providence in connecting us with those passionate about making disciples of the nations.
  • For a revival at the University of Virginia
  • For us over the last month and a half of working two full time jobs and caring for our children, yet treasuring Christ above it all!


Again! We thank God for your partnership in the Gospel and will continue praying specifically for you.


Where is God in Losing?

#1 Virginia defeated by #10 Syracuse and ousted from "The Tourney"

There has been a much heated debate in the sporting world whether God cares who wins?
It reared its ugly head in January, 2015 when Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers reportedly disagreed on the subject. But what's the answer - does God care who wins?

YES - God cares! But not like we do. God cares perfectly - in an intrinsically more complex way than any human ever could. Where do I get that?

- Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Believe it or not -  Losing IS the best possible outcome for you when you LOSE. Yes, regardless if you are a player, coach, or fan - and whether it's the Super Bowl, the NCAA Championship, or a "trivial" game of Yahtzee - there is purpose in your losing.

Check out later in Isaiah 55:11 in regard to God's word (loosely used as anything God determines to be)

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

So losing IS intentionally working, and as we will find, for our good (Rom 5:3-5, James 1:2-4). That is, if our goal lines up with God's desire for our life...  Realizing our own lowliness, weakness, humility (Isaiah 6:5,1 Peter 5:6), Recognizing God's holiness, power, kingship and Indulging in knowing and treasuring Christ above all else (Phil3:8). 

Finally, in hopes of brevity - take council from God's response from Job - an expert in losing. His temper reached a boiling point after his massively devastating loss of wealth, his dear children, and his own health - Our tempers boil when we lose a game of scrabble.

And God responds - Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? (Read Job 38-41 for more)

So upon losing, as David did upon the news of the death of his son in 2 Samuel 12:20-23, let's understand it's over, worship God, and move on.  Better yet - let's seize losing and allow it to do a perfecting work in us to face who we are, look upon the beauty of God, and trust in Christ. Besides, the greatest victory has already taken place at the cross of Christ almost two thousand years ago. The resurrection which we celebrate today - Easter - declares His victory once and for all - Rejoice!

Thank you Coach Bennett (UVA Head Basketball Coach) who summarized his council to the players as. "Weeping may endure for the night... but joy comes in the morning." (paraphrase of Psalm 30)

We are so thankful for God's positioning of this man in the lives of the basketball players at UVA and can't wait to serve the athletes of the University along side of him.

Whatever comes your way - it is for our good to glorify and enjoy God.


Gone is Super Bowl 50... Now what?

Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone... For-ev-er.. (pardon the Sandlot reference)

Two compete - For one a lifelong dream come true, the trophy and the glory. For the other mostly disappointment, maybe regret.

- But in 50 years will it really matter?

The work these men do on the field gains temporary treasures. We train athletes for the eternal ones!

How about you? What happened lately -Success- Failure?
-Rejoice! Fear not if your Eternity is secured in Christ! Dwell in his riches forever.
 -If you don't know him - Come! Taste and see that the Lord is good and you will NEVER be left disappointed and NEVER regret!

One day our lives will be GONE like Super Bowl 50 - then what?!

We can't wait to launch our ministry and make lives matter for eternity!

---------FINANCIAL INFORMATION---------
If you have not received your year end statement from CRU - You can find it and print it online at https://give.cru.org/dss/ViewReceipts

A HUGE THANK YOU to all of our Partners. We are so grateful for your supportthrough prayers and giving.

Haddon was named after the "H" in Charles H Spurgeon. Cheers to those who nailed it!

Join the Team

Prayer Request

Please pray for: 
An increased appetite for God's word both for us and for our partners.
Our Upcoming Support Raising Trips to Anonymous Church, Christ Church South Phillly, Williamsburg, Charlottesville, and Charlotte. That God would raise up our entire team in the next few months!

If you know anyone that would be excited to hear about what we are doing please share the word. We need our whole team to launch this ministry!


Our Special New Teammate is...

Haddon James Hughes was born on January 6th, 2016. 8lbs 12oz and 21.5" long. We are so grateful to God that the he and mom are out of the hospital and doing well. While we are so excited for all of our new teammates who join us, this one is special. Thank you so much for your support and prayers.

Any takers on where we found inspiration for the name?
(Answer will be revealed in the next Newsletter)

Prayer Requests

We can't wait to see God move in each of your lives this year. Please update us on how we can pray specifically for you!

  • Pray that we would be faithful to seek and treasure Christ above all while working a full time job and raising support. That our hope and faith remains on God and not our our own works.
  • Pray that God would reveal the rest of our teammates soon and connect us with others that are excited to join us in this great partnership for the Great Commission.
  • Pray that God would passionately seek after the hearts of each of our teammates. That they would treasure God and find peace that surpasses understanding as they face their individual and unique struggles. 
  • Pray that God would start melting the minds and hearts of the people in connection with UVA athletics.

Finally, we plan on making trips to Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Charlotte in the upcoming months.  If you are excited connect us to someone or want to connect with us yourself for those trips please let us know!

We thank God for you and your continual prayer and support. You make our ministry possible. Thank You!