March 29, 2021
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— At a time when his life could have been full of darkness, Sam Garcia, a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) student leader in Colorado Springs, Colo.,found hope in God along the way. The quarterback and defensive back at Harrison High School in Colorado Springs had the tenacity and determination to press through trials and disappointments. Garcia had seen his fair share of hardship, going to six elementary schools as he struggled for stability in his home life, and took care of younger siblings while not knowing where he may find life’s basic necessities.
According to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes “God’s Word gives us light in the dark. At times when we don’t know where to turn and all around us feels dim, oppressive and confusing, Jesus, the light of the world, illuminates our hearts. The more we get into Scripture, the more we begin to understand God’s love and how we can apply it to our lives and relationships.”
Garcia dreamed of college but doubted he would get there. What he needed was hope and even just a glimmer of light. When he reached high school, he found that flicker in Andrew Powell, FCA Colorado state director. Powell talked about FCA and invited a few players, including Garcia, to attend the regional camp in Flagstaff, Ariz. This was the first time Garcia had heard of FCA, but he did not really pay attention, focusing instead on the opportunity to meet division one coaches and athletes.
When Garcia and four of his teammates arrived at camp in Flagstaff, they were immediately hooked on the football practices. When it was time for worship night, however, they made a pact to leave the auditorium as soon as they could. But the moment the music began, the atmosphere shifted in the room and Garcia felt something different. “It was heartwarming and real,” he said. “I loved it.”
As the speaker shared about the love of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, Garcia felt a nudge and warmth he could not shake, nor did he want to. “I don’t know what came over me–I just couldn’t stop moving forward, floating toward the altar. I was crying and couldn’t stop, but I wanted it,” Garcia remembered.
Garcia dove into FCA. He started a campus Huddle, built relationships with other athletes around Colorado Springs who had attended the Flagstaff camp, shared his testimony at Huddles and camps and continued attending camps in Colorado. FCA became his place of stability and he blossomed under the encouragement of Powell and other leaders.
Powell became a constant presence in Garcia’s life, meeting one-on-one with him and encouraging his value in Christ. Garcia’s home life was difficult, and he was unsure he had the motivation to move forward with his education. With Powell’s help, Garcia began to explore college options and they walked through the application process together.
Now, Garcia is back home in Colorado Springs virtually finishing his senior year at Black Hills State in South Dakota, where he played football for the Yellow Jackets. He is coaching football and basketball at Harrison High School and is advocating for FCA to return to campus. “I couldn’t be prouder of him and all he’s had to overcome,” said Powell. “He’s inspirational to me.”
Garcia spins the compliment back to Powell and the ministry. “FCA is a very special organization. The [leaders] poured a lot into me and I want to thank FCA for showing up in my life, and giving kids like me light,” he said. “Now, I want to give these kids an opportunity for the door to open and connect with God.”
In a time when Garcia’s life was full of uncertainty and dimness, Powell and FCA brought a renewed future and a hope that will not be cut off, like it says in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
“I don’t know if God sent me a guardian angel, because when me and my mom were really having a rough patch, Drew took me under his wing. He gave me hope when he showed up and reconnected me with God,” Garcia said. “FCA really did change my whole life around. I’m so blessed. All I want to do is help change young men and women’s lives in Colorado Springs.”
FCA’s theme for 2021 is Pursue, which is based on the verse 1 Timothy 6:11: “Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” FCA encourages its members to pursue God utilizing His Word as an anchor, grounding Christians as they look to His Kingdom.
FCA believes that if Christians want to improve their skills in their sport, it only makes sense to spend time practicing, studying the game, and taking care of themselves to become better. In the same way, spiritual training should be exercised if Christians want to grow in Christ. Therefore, it is important to be in God’s Word every day.
To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.