Joe DeZelle, Campus Director, at United States Military Academy

In October 2016, I was asked to take part in the baptism of a young man named Christian who was one of a few cadets that got baptized in the Hudson River as part of a Sunday night service at West Point.  The baptisms took place about an hour before sunset in the Hudson River.  The water was very cold and I was one of two people holding onto Christian as he stood to be baptized in the strong currents of the river with a crowd of one hundred plus cadets, officers, and their families looking on.

Christian and I had met while he was playing on Army’s football team.   He was a young man who was living on the fringe and who hadn’t walked with the Lord in recent years. While he had grown up around the church, it hadn’t been a part of his story in recent years.   Christian suffered some tough blows this year – he became injured before the football season and was unable to play.  But even worse for him was the loss of two people in his life with whom he had been close:  one was a mentor back home, while the other was Brandon Jackson, an Army football player who was killed suddenly in a car accident this fall.  It was a deep heartache for the team, and really affected Christian who was a close friend of his.

These were both huge emotional losses for Christian, and when I saw him at practice the week following Brandon’s death, we had one of the deepest conversations we had ever had. God had used a tragedy to get Christian’s attention to show him how short life on earth can be: his friend Jackson had been in perfect health, and had everything in front of him from the world’s perspective.

I asked Christian if he had given much thought to eternal things, life after death and the reality of what God’s Word says about it all.  He said he hadn’t thought about it much but that he’d like to discuss it more with me soon.  Weeks passed and I didn’t hear from Christian until the day I got a text from him in which he said, “I’m going to be baptized and I’d like you to be a part of it.”

It was an honor to be asked to be a part of Christian’s baptism, and it reminded me that you never know how you are influencing people’s lives by just remaining faithful to whatever God’s asked you to do.

Please pray for Christian to make good choices regarding the people he hangs out with and for his faith to growJoe's Prayer Request

Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

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