This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Wrestling Ministry’s Champions Breakfast at the NCAA National tournament. This opportunity was provided by the very charitable and totally Christian company that I work for, The Cochlan Group, inc.
TCG sponsored the event and sent me down there to try to recruit some new guys to hire. Our criteria for application are; business degree, wrestler, and Christian. Needless to say, the FCAW Breakfast was the perfect place to find such candidates (if you think that you may fit this mold, or know someone that does, contact me).
This was an amazing experience for me. Not only did I get to hang out with some of the most inspirational wrestlers of our time, like Jordan Burrows and Anthony Robles, but also with high level Christian business men, whom I hope to imitate. I loved the opportunity to listen and chat with men who are older, wiser, and more experienced/accomplished than me. In the short time I was there, I learned a lot, and here are some of my notes:
Mark Mestemacher – FCAW board member, successful business man, and huge advocate/supporter of wrestling in Illinois – Mark reaffirmed my belief in the power of a wrestling based Christian ministry. To give you some background, Mark had invited me to an FCA Wrestling "24 Hour God Camp" a few months ago that had a huge impact on me
Mark said that the power is two-fold; 1) for the older wrestlers that are Christians, these camps gives them a platform to share their faith to younger guys that look up to them in an atmosphere that the feel comfortable- I couldn't agree with this more. There are not many places that I feel more comfortable than in a wrestling room with a bunch of wrestlers.
2) The young guys who may have never been exposed to the gospel feel comfortable talking about faith with peers and older wrestlers that they look up to. Wrestling is a very niche culture. Us wrestlers like to stick together because, let’s be honest, it’s hard for other people to understand why we do what we do (i.e. skip parties, run in plastic suits, spit in cups, etc).
Jordan Burroughss – Olympic Gold Medalist. Jordan was at the FCA "24 Hour God Camp" that I metioned. He was also a guest speaker at the breakfast this past weekend. What Jordan said was likely the coolest part of the weekend – as it turns out, Jordan gave his life to Christ at the "24 Hou God Camp"!!! I had no idea this happened, and I was there! If wrestling ministry has the power to impact an Olympic Gold Medalist, then just imagine the positive influence it can have with young wrestlers all across the country!!! (read the blog I wrote about the 24 our God Camp)
Hearing this inspired me so much to push forward with a Beebe Trained affiliated wrestling ministry. I am still not sure exactly what this will look like but I truly believe God has a big plan here (check out the BBT Ministry page here).
Anthony “Unstoppable” Robles- NCAA Champion (the guy with one leg from ASU). Anthony was another guest speaker at the event. He talked about God’s calling for our lives. His mom always told him that God had called him to do something special with his life. Through all the obstacles that he had to overcome, she always told him that quitting was not an option. If God calls you to do something special with your life, to not do so would be disobedient.
One of the biggest things that stood out to me about Anthony was his outstanding character and humility. I can’t help but think it was forged through all of the struggles he had to overcome throughout his life. This reminded me of one of my favorite verses:
(Romans 5: 3-4) Rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
John McGovern – head coach at Dubuque University. John is a long-time family friend and a very wise man. Some things that he said in our conversation really stood out to me. As we were talking about MMA, I told John that my motivation for fighting is to use the MMA platform to try to inspire others for Christ. But, I have been struggling to do that in a tangible way. It’s one thing to grab the mic after a fight and say, “All the glory to God,” but I want to see people’s lives changed!
John told me that there are different seasons of life. If God is calling you to be a competitor and you think that you should be on the pulpit preaching, then you are not pursuing you calling correctly and God will not be with you. He said that right now might be the time to fight and focus on competing so that later in life I can speak and contribute in a more tangible way.
John also said, "standing on the pulpit is a dangerous place, because one may start to think that the impact is coming from their own power and forget that it is really coming from God." I totally agreed with this and thought to myself that I really need to develop my maturity and humility before I think about speaking to others. I can see how pride can overcome someone in ministry and I need to be aware and make sure that doesn't happen to me.
Stay tuned for more developments and more blogs. Please comment on this blog and give me some feedback! Thanks for reading.
With 5 boys in the family, it's not hard to see where our competitive drive comes from. Throughout out childhood we learned success come only through hard work and didicated. Iron sharpens iron as one brother sharpens another. We are very blessed to now have an opportunity to sharpen others.