Wrapping Up 2020

Faith and Athletics+Featured+News & Events // December 31, 2020 //

As I fought with my computer last week trying to finalize this fall/winter newsletter, I decided I’d just type this letter instead. Yes, that really does sum up a lot of how this year, 2020, has been for basically everyone, worldwide.  A few years ago my go-to verse was Proverbs 16:9 which says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” and now that has come back full circle. Isaiah 55:8-9 also says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your thoughts.”  I truly find so much peace, comfort, and strength in those scriptures, knowing God is in control, on His throne, and He’s got it all under control.

​With all of the unique circumstances, interruptions, and changes that have occurred this year, I can’t complain.  I got engaged on January 1, 2020, married on June 6, 2020, and have seen the goodness of God’s faithfulness as much or more this year than in any year of my life. Amy and I had a beautiful immediate family only ceremony and still hope to have a celebration at some point with all of you!  I truly am so grateful for each of you as friends, family, supporters, encouragers, and prayer warriors. Though many in-person activities and travel have been significantly slowed, relationships have still deepened and the gospel has continued to be spread. Technology has been very beneficial as Bible studies, zoom meetings, prayer, and encouragement have continued across the country and around the world.

​Though baseball season looked much different this year, we continued to have weekly Bible studies throughout the summer via Zoom. It was unique, but actually quite fun to be connected across numerous states.

I was cleared in August to return to WKU men’s basketball workouts and be around the team.  It’s been fun, but unique in building relationships with the new players in the midst of a global pandemic.  While I’ve been present at workouts and practices, we’ve continued to have our weekly Bible studies and chapel times virtually via Google Meet just to adhere to safety protocols and standards to ensure they are healthy and able to play this 2020-2021 basketball season. The guys have been very engaged and enthusiastic about our study time and eager to follow up when they’ve had to miss due to travel from home or classwork.  Go Tops! 

 Our men’s USSSA conference softball team was able to play this year beginning Memorial Day weekend.  The team really started rolling with a walk-off win over one of only 4 Major teams in the Smoky Mountain Classic.  That propelled us into a strong finish on the year, culminating in winning the USSSA A World Championship!  The USSSA world tournament was held in Viera, FL at the former Washington Nationals spring training site.  We played in the top three-level world tournaments USSSA has (8 different levels total), winning the A worlds, finishing 3rd in the AA worlds, and finished 9th overall as one of only 18 teams who qualified for the 50th anniversary USSSA Men’s Major World Series.  Many opportunities to pray and share the gospel of Jesus Christ have come about from our participation in men’s professional slow pitch softball.  Numerous conversations about who we are, where we are from, what we are about, etc have developed.  We just found out this year that several salvations have occurred from our team playing, praying, and proclaiming the gospel in this softball world. God’s Glory!

Another ministry development that has grown exponentially in 2020 is our daily devotion text messages. We have almost 2,500 coaches, athletes, alumni, athletic directors, friends, and supporters worldwide who are receiving a daily devotion from us. We’ve had a great response from people saying how much they appreciate the spiritual encouragement. Many of you receive them, and if you do not, but would like to, please contact us and let us know. We just want it to be a little scriptural nugget of encouragement, and a reminder to look to Jesus each day no matter what you’re facing.  Though we aren’t necessarily looking for a response each time, a coach from Ukraine receives them and often responds with great questions regarding faith and following Jesus!

We’ve made several deliveries of shoes and clothes to our friends in Owsley County, KY this summer, the poorest county in America based on median income.  They desperately needed them in late August and were so appreciative to be restocked, as few people had been out and about and all mission trips to the area were canceled due to Covid this year. We were invited to speak to recovering drug addicts in Owsley County in early September and were humbled to share with 24 men who had gone through a lot of challenges in life.  They were so receptive to the gospel and appreciative of clothes and shoes, as many had put on 40-50lbs of weight in 1-2 months after finally getting clean and sober and thus needed the new clothes.

All of these things and more are occurring daily and many of you are able to stay up to date via social media posts.  Our annual auction was held online for the first time and had 112 new participants/bidders nationwide.  Our online program, hosted by Kentucky’s ‘78 Final Four MVP Jack “Goose” Givens and 2-time World Series Champion with the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine Doug Flynn, had 75 minutes of testimonies & has been viewed over 3,000 times.  Our Facebook page has increased 64% from 986 followers to currently over 2,700 just this fall. God has continued to expand our reach & influence for His glory!  None of this would be possible without your financial support, prayer, donations, encouragement, and willingness to go on trips and serve alongside us.  We’re currently cautiously optimistic about prison trips, international sports mission trips, and other ministry opportunities being back up and running in 2021. Only God knows, but we continue to move forward, love, serve, help, and share the gospel in each avenue God opens at this moment while we wait and see what His plans are for the future.  

Back to blog

About ReginaRussell

X