Fellowship of Christian Athletes Helps Launch New Sports Bible in Southeast Asia
FCA and Biblica Form Powerful Partnership in an Effort to Saturate Southeast Asia and Other Countries Globally with the Word of God
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—As a local sports ministry leader in Southeast Asia, “John” fully understands the challenges of ministry in his home nation.
John, not his real name due to security reasons, sees people who in some regions are culturally traditional and often resistant to new ideas or change, while in other regions, people are even more restricted and hesitant to be involved in openly religious activities.
But the new Southeast Asia Sports Bible in his native language, a joint undertaking from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) and Biblica, has served as a unifying factor that has the power to bring John’s country together through the love of sports.
The Southeast Asia Sports Bible has been one of the most ambitious projects to take place in recent years, but has opened the door for immense opportunity for local sports ministry and local FCA International representatives.
“This summer has been a huge milestone and an incredible team effort in bringing the Southeast Asia Sports Bible to fruition,” said FCA’s Executive Director of International Ministry Dan Britton. “It’s been so gratifying and humbling to see new believers, coaches and athletes in Southeast Asia open the pages of 10,000 Bibles in their own language. God has guided this entire process in order to bring his saving grace to more people around the world.”
After working on the team that helped create the FCA Thai Bible, John was inspired and knew there was a great need for a Sports Bible in his language as well. With more than 1,300 active soccer teams in his country, John had deep connections into the coaching world. He prayed about it, and then approached Britton, along with FCA International Director of Field Support Silas Mullis and Biblica’s Richard Loh.
But it wasn’t a standard Bible printing and distribution job that needed to take place. First, FCA and Biblica had to decide on a very important issue—which Bible translation would be used. In the end, a new modern translation was the most logical choice.
“So often, the older translations like the King James Version tend to be difficult for the younger generations to understand,” Loh said. “There are certain passages that aren’t clear. But Biblica creates modern, contemporary and accurate translations for the young people. That’s why it’s so important for us to partner with FCA. Both organizations can really work together to serve the needs of the church and sports ministry.”
Originally planned to launch in January 2018, the game plan was put on hold until this summer when the leadership of a large, overseas denomination led a detailed review process and gave its final approval for the use of the Bible within churches.
“It’s like you’re challenging the whole church leadership,” John explained. “But when we showed them the Bible, we were able to explain the purpose behind it, and show them the devotionals inside, and we finally got approval to work with the churches for distribution.”
Early on, John distributed 500 Bibles at an FCA leadership camp. Another 1,000 Bibles were handed out at a large church sports camp. The remaining 8,500 Bibles were distributed last month.
“The Sports Bible will provide a tool for the (FCA) Huddle groups,” John said. “We have a lot of teams and clubs but not many of them have Huddles. With the Bible, we’ll be able to start Huddles for all of the teams. It’s an important resource for the coaches and the team captains. It’s the best way for us to train them to use the materials and help them make disciples.”
Loh was at the church sports camp where the first Bibles were distributed. He was thrilled to see the elated responses from the participants as they thumbed through its pages and not only read testimonies from popular soccer and Taekwondo athletes but realized that the translation was more familiar than what they might have expected.
“It’s so easy to understand,” one teenage boy said. “It’s really in our language. This is how we speak at home.’”
“Not many of the young athletes have a Bible,” John explained. “The Bible is very difficult to distribute in the restricted areas. Using the sports ministry team, we can get Bibles into their hands. Having this Bible is another answer to prayer. It’s opening many doors for us.”
Next up for John is the printing and distribution of 30,000 Bilingual Sports New Testaments. Loh believes that this is just the beginning of its expanded collaboration with FCA in an effort to saturate Southeast Asia with the Word of God.
“What a blessing that we could provide these Bibles in partnership with FCA,” he said. “They have the people. They have the participants. Biblica has the contemporary translation. When you put that together, what a great partnership that is.”
Besides Southeast Asia, FCA International is also making incredible strides around the world, with a presence in 84 countries and working through 242 international leaders like John via Camps, Huddles, training events and, of course, Bibles and devotionals in other languages.
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.