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Shortly after arriving in Taiwan, I discovered I had high blood sugar levels. Our doctor urged me to change my diet and start exercising to keep my body healthy. So I started to cycle. Through cycling I realised how beautiful Taiwan is, started to feel better physically and discovered sports could be a powerful tool in ministry.
It is often hard to reach men here, to get to spend time with them and have deeper discussions about life and faith. So as time went by I started to use sports more intentionally to reach out to others. On bike rides with other guys I had the opportunity to sow into their lives. This could happen by sharing Bible stories on the go or praying for someone as we took a break after climbing one of the many hills surrounding our home. Other times, it would be a run through the countryside sweating together and sharing life stories. I found that through any sport conversations about life, God and faith came easily.
During the last year I have been studying Mandarin and was very encouraged a few months back when I was out for a run and was able to share my first Bible story in Mandarin. I shared the story of the prodigal son, which opened up a good conversation about what kind of God we worship. My friend has even referred back to that story a few times since.
After returning for our second term I have been learning more about how to use sport creatively in ministry. As a team, we want to intentionally engage with the community around the church plant. For example, our team leader began aerobic classes to minister to the ladies in our community. During our first week we had about 20 ladies come along and two of them came to our Bible study the following Wednesday. The possibilities for sports ministry are endless.
My prayer is that we can use sport together with other more conventional outreach methods to bring people together, build friendships and give people the opportunity to hear the gospel and experience the love of God. My hope is that sport can play a significant part in reaching out and transforming this community as well as others for the glory of God. How could God use your sporting interest for his mission?
Markus is from Finland. He and his wife Annie are sent out with OM Finland through OMF’s international sending partnership, New Horizons.