PERRY -- Ilse Ballard, a 16-year-old junior from Veterans High School, said a lot of prayer led up to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Fields of Faith event last week at Perry High Schools Herb St. John Stadium.
She said members from the 23 middle schools and high schools and Fort Valley State University that make up the Flint River FCA region had been praying for months at their schools in Houston, Peach, Crawford, Macon and Taylor counties and had gathered for a prayer walk at the stadium the Sunday before the gathering.
Area FCA director Daryl McElwain said Fields of Faith is FCAs national student-led effort to have students meet together in athletic fields to hear fellow students give testimonies of what God has done in their lives, to challenge one another to read and follow the Bible and to encourage others to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Oct. 22, 1,800 students, friends and parents attended.
I think were all here to see what God is going to do, and were all expecting him to do a lot, Ballard said. Weve been talking about it and praying about it, and here we are.
Ballard said testimonies from fellow students from across the region meant most to her.
Arlie Weber, a senior at Northside High School, spoke boldly of the shock and hurt caused when his family recently broke apart and the new role he has had to play at home. He said it was coming to know Christ through contact with FCA members during that experience that gave him strength and kept him going.
I was numb, scared and there was nothing I could do about it, he said. But I opened my heart to Christ as my lord and savior -- thats the best decision Ive ever made.
Others spoke of how they grew up in church -- or didnt grown up in church. How they had been successful in school -- or unsuccessful. How they had been winning athletes -- or had seen struggles in their athletic endeavors. All, however, pointed to Christ throughout the evening as the anchor that saw them through good and bad times.
After the testimonies, music and special skits, Daniel Rios, associate pastor at New Hope International Church, invited students and others attending to pray together in various ways.
Sarah Wilcox, a junior at Warner Robins High School and a leader in the FCA group there, said prayers were being answered.
Im just in awe looking around and seeing so many praying, she said. Changes are being made, true life changes. Walking around the halls of our schools there is so much brokenness, many hurting and broken students. Jesus said he came to heal the broken-hearted, and thats whats happening right now. I cant wait to see what happens in our lives as we continue to learn and grow together.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.