Baseball glove & bat on fieldJune 2015      | Print |

Dear Friends,

Recently, on a Saturday afternoon, I sat down to watch a baseball game on television between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins. As I often do, I wondered what Christian ballplayers, if any, might be in the game. I didn’t know a lot about the two teams, but I was amazed that four of the participants in the game had been on Face to Face as guests.

Todd Cunningham was the Atlanta left fielder. I sat with him in Jackson, Tennessee, two years ago for an interview, when he was a member of the Mississippi Braves, and they were playing the Jackson Generals.

Brett Butler, the former Los Angeles Dodger was shown. He is now a coach with the Marlins. We sat together many years ago for an interview in a training room at Cincinnati’s old Riverfront Stadium.

Jason Grilli came in from the bullpen to pitch for the Braves that day. Jason and I sat together for a talk in the dugout when he was with the Colorado Rockies in 2007.

Finally, they mentioned the plate umpire, Lance Barrett. Lance and I used to occasionally for lunch in Indianapolis when he was an up and coming umpire in the International League. We talked often about what is was like being a Christian umpire in the minor leagues.

When that game was over, the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates came on the air, and two more old friends showed up on the screen. Chris Coghlan was in the outfield for the Cubs. Chris and I were together in the Dominican Republic with SCORE International four years ago, and I was reminded of his outstanding testimony. The announcer for this game was CJ Nitkowski, a former major league player, who used to pitch for the Indianapolis Indians. We became friends after a chapel service years ago, and CJ was a Face to Face guest. We stayed in touch as he continued his career in Japan and Korea.

God reminded me during that afternoon that Face to Face has had an influence since 1992 among sports fans and athletes everywhere. These are just a few of the 450 athletes who have talked about their relationship with Christ on the program. It is hard to determine who is listening when a program airs, but I am convinced that old and young alike are encouraged when the show comes on radio or they hear it on our website at facetofaceradio.com. Just recently, a father at our golf outing told me his son goes to bed every Sunday night listening to Face to Face on a local station. The athletes continue to come on the scene, and I continue to follow them. I recently read the testimony of the Cincinnati Reds rookie pitcher, Michael Lorenzon. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, you will able to hear his interview and know how much Christ means to him.

Thanks for all you do to keep the ministry of Face to Face alive. It not only includes the interviews, but also talking with athletes through social media and praying for them. Recently, I attended a baseball game at Purdue University, as they played the University of Iowa. After the game, one of the Iowa coaches, former major leaguer, Jeff Clement, met with me for dinner, and we were able to encourage each other. It is a unique ministry. We just finished our 17th annual Face to Face golf outing and it was a success. That is a mandate to do more and share with people everywhere about how Christ is working through sports.

Thanks again for your help.

Sincerely in Christ,

Tom Rust

 

Tom Rust

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