May 26, 2017

Athlete Inspired by Basketball Ministry Abroad

Children practice at basketball camp in Central Asia. Courtesy of Sophie Linnell
Children practice at basketball camp in Central Asia. Courtesy of Sophie Linnell
Children practice at basketball camp in Central Asia.
Courtesy of Sophie Linnell

 

by: Jessica Ryan ’19

Staff Writer

 

Last fall, a professional basketball player, who asked to remain anonymous, traveled from Central Asia overseas to visit Gordon College. While there, she spoke with the 2015-2016 Gordon women’s basketball team about her basketball ministry. Her story and vision for the ministry included her desire to love, encourage and teach the gospel to a broad group of young athletes. Sophie Linnell ’18, a member of the team, took to heart what the woman said–she wanted to join the ministry.

Linnell journeyed to Central Asia this past summer to share the gospel through basketball. In a clear win-win situation, she was able to share her zeal for God and play the sport she loved in the process. Attempting to share about the Christian faith is illegal in many Central Asian countries. The purpose of the trip was to learn first-hand how an overseas ministry in this type of environment operates and how sports can be used as a platform to share the Gospel.

 

Linnell said, “I was able to experience a richly diverse and transformational loving community. In an area where one must be careful in verbally sharing one’s faith, it was humbling to see how their community expressed God’s love through their actions.” The ministry Linnell served with provides opportunities to build relationships with its local coaches and kids through tournaments and camps. It’s vision is to provide a consistent and caring presence for these coaches and young athletes.

 

“At Gordon, I constantly take for granted the gift we have to openly talk about our faith. And this begs the question—in an environment where it is so easy to talk, how reflective are my words to my actions?”

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