October 29, 2007

ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team Outreach in Israel

Posted in Athletes in Action Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Player, ChristianTennis Israel, Emma Hustad, Faith, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Teamwork, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , at 11:41 pm by Scott Paschal

Outreach Israel

ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team
November 14-22, 2007

 
 
On November 14, 2007, the International Christian Tennis Association will begin an outreach which has been 4 months in planning.

Rachel and Melody Snelen, and Emma Hustad (Fellowship of Christian Athletes Campus President and my 2007 summer intern) will represent the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team during a special ICTA outreach to WTA players and world class juniors competing in an International Tennis Federation pro tennis tournament in Israel.

Music evangelist and certified chaplain, Joy Snelen, will journey with the team for this special event.

rachel-3-weeks-mexico-387.jpgAlong with providing an outreach, the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team will compete in the pro tournament. How does an outreach work?

Upon arrival at the tennis venue, the team will locate hitting partners. Email addresses and phone numbers are exchanged as relationships are built.

Often, our team members are each able to train with several different players each day, which is great for Christian outreach, as well as their tennis skill development. The outreach focus is on developing a relationship with the players, their parent(s)and coach, if any.

From buying food to providing shelter to sharing their faith to just being a friend or hitting partner, the team is prepared to be used however God leads.

Please keep the team in your prayers as they fly into Tel Aviv, and journey to the pro tournament location in Ramat Hasharon.

They are very fortunate to have partnered with a ministry based in Israel for housing and safe, effective daily planning as the team will also travel to several Biblical destinations after the tournament.

 
So, thank you in advance for your prayers, and if you feel called, for your financial support.

We’ll keep you up to date on the trip, and will write soon with updates.


God bless,


Scotty Paschal
International Christian Tennis Association
President


 
 
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October 26, 2007

Joel Osteen

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Player, Faith, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:16 pm by Scott Paschal

joel-osteen.jpgI mentioned Joel’s book in a recent blog entry. And somebody felt the need to warn me that Joel is Satan himself, the wolf in sheep’s clothing mentioned in the Bible.

According to a report in Outreach, a magazine for church leaders, Joel has the largest church in America with 47,000 regular attendees. Needless to say Joel has turned some heads and stepped into the spotlight. His critics often say he has weak theology, that he trends towards positive, not fire and brimstone.

Why do I like this book? I have witnessed firsthand how Joel’s book has been able to reach unbelievers and new Christians in a way the vast majority other Christian books can’t.

I have seen this book be used by God to reach a suicidal tennis player and help her see hope. I have witnessed this book be used by God to open the eyes of a new Christian to want to delve deeply into the Bible.

My parents knew Joel’s parents, and apparently he and I hung out together in our diaper days. John Osteen laid his hands on me back in the day and told my folks God would use me to do something special in ministry.

I’m not smart enough nor do I have a good enough handle on God’s thoughts to know exactly what Joel’s life is supposed to accomplish for the Kingdom. Deeper than that, I’m just pretty busy trying to figure out my own ministry, much less Joel’s.

Joel’s ministry has seemed to have really grown these last few years. My hope would be that he is authentic. Yet, whether he is or not, his book is helping people.

Firsthand, I have seen this book be used by God as a ladder to help hurting teens and young adults take a step out of their suicidal graves. It has also helped new Christians gain curiosity in reading the Bible to learn more about Jesus. Maybe that is God’s audience for Joel. Maybe God’s purpose for Joel isn’t to reach the ministry leaders and longtime churchgoers. Maybe God knows what His plans are for Joel’s life a bit more than we do.

Maybe the book isn’t perfect. Maybe Joel has flaws, too. Maybe his volleys aren’t very crisp, and he has a tendency to forget the score! I don’t know. But, I do know this book, even during the last 7 days, has helped a hurt junior tennis player see hope… she saw Christ reflected through Joel caring enough to write.

So, to the anonymous person… no hard feelings, I just have a different viewpoint on the book. And I look forward to purchasing his next one, which just came out!

As for Joel being Satan, I guess I’ll ask my mom to give him a call just to make sure he’s still playing for the home team! But, I have a feeling the answer will be, “Bad volleys, yes… Satan, no!”

God bless, Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

October 23, 2007

Old School

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Player, Fellowship, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:24 pm by Scott Paschal

Last year and in 2005, I coached a Polish- American kid named Marek. Really good kid. Good junior player, too. His top ranking while I coached him was #1 B18 in America. We developed a strong bond. He was raised Catholic, yet found Jesus when he came to train with me full time. We gave him his first Bible, which he read front to back for the first time ever. His new walk with Jesus was amazing and one of the highlights of my personal ministry to players..

Know what I liked most about Marek? His Dad. His Dad was old school. Old school Polish. How? Physical toughness? No. Brute strength? No. It was his consistency for family values. Marek’s Dad asked of Marek two things. 1. Call daily 2. Give him a kiss every time they see each other. Yep, give him a kiss. Just like when Marek was a little boy, and just like Marek’s dad does with Marek’s Grandfather. Not on the cheek. Right smack on the lips. Yep, you read that right. My friend, that’s old school. It’s toughness and strength, though not American style. And in a world searching for targets to hit, it’s controversial. Probably because it convicts.

dscf2283-1.jpgIn an American lifestyle of super-sized laziness, lost churches, image is everything, kids are an accessory… world, Marek and his dad stand out, and with an incredible example of old school, back in the day, the way it used to be… men actually being men, fathers and sons, grandfathers and grandsons, brothers and brothers, before “sexual orientation lifestyles” stole our rights… before it all got weird… old school ruled. And in some places it still does.

This pic brings me back to reality, old school-reality. This pic of me and Ana reminds me of my days as an athlete when I had a coach I loved and trusted. Ana won a Florida junior tournament where she competed with among the top juniors in the state. I said won, I should have said owned! Because she lost just 6 games the whole tournament. People tournament wide stopped and gawked at her huge game she is developing. People also saw a great bond between the two of us.

This pic shows the love, trust, and appreciation Ana has for her coach. When I first saw this pic, I thought about Marek’s dad. So, Walter, if you are reading this, thanks.

Let’s talk some more old school stuff. Today, an Indonesian family came to visit me. Mom and Dad and their two boys, 11 and 12. For the last month they have been spending a week at different tennis academies searching for the place to take the boys to the next level on a year-round, full time basis. It is a huge decision.

The boys have game. The 12 year old would probably be equal to the #1 B14 in America. His little bro is not far behind. For the last week they had been at IMG (Bolleterri’s). Apparently, they had toured the state spending a week at each of the well known tennis academies. In fact, they even talked to Nick Bolleterri for a while and he said their 12 year old hit the ball with more pop and spin than any 12 year old he had ever seen.

While Ana and I were taking my Jeep to pick David (from Australia) up from his flight back to America after a 10 day visit home, this Indonesian family called… actually for the 2nd time as they had wanted to visit last week, but I was working out of state. As they are related to one of my current students, I agreed, and shortly after they were all at my house.

We all hung out at the ICTAHouse, and went to hit some tennis balls. To make a long story short, they loved our tennis training and living environment. They were excited at the family/home environment and the healthy interaction between the students. No dorms, no unsupervised kids raising kids. And the dad felt my tennis workouts are at a much higher level and better for his sons than all the other academies he had visited. Awesome! What a great compliment. After practice, the Dad said we are on the top of his list of tennis academies to send his two sons… ahead of Bolleterri and everyone! Wow! They had just spent a week at Bolleterri’s and a week at each of the other top academies, and now have placed us at the top.

That was such an affirmation from God to me. Here is this international businessman and his wonderful wife bringing their two cherished sons to America to seek out the place they will allow to basically raise their children both on and off the court. They have the ability to send their sons anywhere. And within just one day in our environment, they decided no other academy is in our league. Basically, Mom and Dad came face to face with old-school work, old-school love, old-school dedication. The boys had a blast, too. To wrap this up, I didn’t agree to coach them at this time. I’m not looking for new students. Maybe they can come in for a camp next spring, and maybe full time starting next summer, but I have my time dedicated to my current athletes/missionaries! They completely understood and will stay in touch. They left full of excitement and appreciation at our ministry to students.

Is a church the building itself, or the fellowship of the people under the guidance of a pastor? What makes a “world-class” church? The amount of stained glass? How tall the ceiling is? The square footage? The gown worn by the priest? I guess it depends upon how you are raised.dscf2225-1.jpg

Is a tennis academy the facility itself, or the athletes training together with their coach? What makes a “world-class”tennis academy? The amount of courts? The whiteness of the director’s Nike shirt? Again, it may just depend on your background.

What I do know is the last 24 hours have brought up a lot of thoughts. And then God swiftly focused me in the direction He has for me to follow at this point in my life. The timing of this is amazing. It’s an old school direction. It’s “meeting under a tree for church”, back in the day type of stuff.

God has me coach world-class, mainly non-American, Christian athletes who travel world-wide. They have been raised in tennis by their parents and have become accustomed to traveling basically alone worldwide to tournaments since they were 13 to 15 years of age. When at the tournament, they seek out free host homes or find players to room with, both situations mean they stay with strangers.

A host home for a week in a strange country with a family or person they don’t know. That is their life. Planes, trains, buses, motels, host homes, tennis matches. I understand. I get it. It’s not American. It’s not lazy. It’s not supersized overprotection. It’s the real world. It’s life not seen through the lenses of having nursed on MTV. When these people do something, they get it done. When these people call themselves Christian, they mean it. When they seek a better life for their children, it’s a different better than American’s understand. It’s a toughness for excellence we just don’t comprehend. Don’t wonder too long why American tennis is so weak… and why American Christians are so… don’t get me started.

What International Christian Tennis Association offers is old school ministry to our players. Outreaches and discipleship. Nothing flashy. Nothing trendy. The tennis training is turning the heads of those who want substance and relevance and purpose. Again, nothing flashy. Nothing trendy. Just old school.

To wrap this up, the second pic is of the girl’s pro team at church. 5 girls. 5 amazing stories in life. God working in and through them.

Teamwork. Friendship. Hard work. Dedication. Caring. Missionaries.

Old School.


October 13, 2007

Scott Paschal Deals with Abusive Tennis Coaches

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Player, Cult Buster, Faith, Hope, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Uncategorized at 4:11 pm by Scott Paschal

Oftentimes the tennis world tends to focus on the “shiny” side of the sport. There certainly is a lot of upside to tennis. Personally, I love the sport. And I would think millions would agree with me that tennis is a great form of exercise and fun.

Yet, in my 8 years in tennis ministry, especially as a coach of pro players and world class juniors, I’ve seen some of the “rust” tennis has created. I’m not just talking about the legions of angry tennis parents at junior events, or tennis pros who cheat while coaching at tournaments. Heck, Bolleterri himself recently recently bragged on his web site about all the cheating he has done over the years.

The “rust” I’m talking about is serious stuff. Not that I condone cheating, but I’d like to go deeper.

I have a new player here with me. She is a teen and has trained for years at one of the most famous tennis academies in the world. It didn’t go so good for her there. Recently, she wanted to take her life. I won’t mention her name or the name of the academy or the coaches who allegedly abused her. That’s not the point of this blog. There will be a time for that, but not here, not now, and in another arena

She claims she had dealt with weeks and months and years of coaches brainwashing her into thinking she was fat, slow, and a terrible tennis player. She says they ordered her to vomit her food, not eat in the daytime, and convinced her she was grotesque. I don’t know about them, but a teen girl who is 5’7″ and 130lbs is anything but fat!

Tennis-wise, she has little to show for the years at that academy. She is still hits like a beginner. Her father paid maybe around $50,000 a year… for the coaches to antagonize her self-esteem, and for her tennis to go nowhere. She talks about the players… cussing, cheating, lying, back-stabbing, gossiping. I’ve heard about boys and girls sleeping with each other in dorms at night… pornography on the computers… drugs… alcohol. And she was made fun of for being a new Christian….

Sad, isn’t it? She went to that famous tennis academy to reach her dreams, and left suicidal.

To be fair, I don’t know the whole story. Maybe she was the problem, and everyone else was great. Who knows? The problem is I hear stories like this weekly. I see patterns emerging that most people in tennis have no awareness about.  I tend to get the tough emails and spend a good bit of time connecting people with others who can assist their situation.

Kids and parents need to know tennis academies are not for everyone. Especially if the player has a history of abuse or mental illness. Or if the coaching system has a lack of respect for females. I’ve seen first-hand some horrific examples of coach abuse of male coaches towards female players… I type from experience in trying to repair the damaged player, and from dealing with the abusive coaches. I’ve seen girls who have been raised in incredible families have their young lives basically destroyed by unaccountable coaches at tennis academies. And I’ve seen girls with difficult family backgrounds have the same.

Unfortunately, there is no “hotline” for abused players to call. At least not yet.

Well, I am grateful God has placed this girl in our path. She seems to be doing better. Today she smiled. It was a pretty smile. I have her reading a couple of neat books… Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, and Lee Stroebel’s A Case for a Creator (Student Edition). She needs positive stuff in her life right now. She needs to know God is real and has a plan for her. This approach worked well with top pros I have helped, and others, and I pray it will work well with her. I really like Joel’s book for foreign players who have been through hard times. They seem to grab onto it like a life raft.

Please keep this new player in your prayers. To protect her identity, I’ll call her Lucy as I send updates your way.

Tennis certainly has many positive upsides and is a great sport. Yet, there is much pain and grief associated with it. I hope in some small way some player out there reading this may discover God does love them and wants to reach out to them. Lucy is moving forward. You can too. Give me a call at 386 793 0557, or send me an email to ballboy4jesus@yahoo.com.

God bless, Scott Paschal

October 3, 2007

So Much Christian Tennis Fun!

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Player, Christian Tennis Ukraine, Emma Hustad, Faith, Fellowship, International Christian Tennis Association, Leadership, melody snelen, Parent Coach Relationship, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Typical Parent Visit to ICTA tagged , , , at 8:28 pm by Scott Paschal

 

Ana Forehand ClaycourtsHere are a few pics to share with our ICTABlog family! This one to the left is of Anastasia Kharchenko as she nails a forehand while winning the Finals of a tournament. Notice how high she is off the ground. Awesome.

Ana is a member of the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team. I have been blessed to be her coach and USA dad for a year now! Ana is Ukrainian, and was Ukraine’s #1 junior and was #5 in Europe. She has competed evenly with the world’s top juniors and with the #7 D1 college player in America.

Her dream is to become a top player and share her faith! Ana became a Christian a month after she arrived at ICTA. Ana’s tennis has skyrocketed during her year training with us. I am impressed with her work ethic and determination to improve. While Ana does not yet have Vakulenko’s power, she has better quickness, smoother hands, and is a superior all-around athlete. Vakulenko took about 8-9 years to reach top 50 WTA as she started pro at 14 yrs.

It will be quite exciting to see Ana develop into a top player over the next 5-7 years, when she will be 22-24 yrs. 5-7 years might sound like a long time to a non-tennis person, but in reality it is a short time. I do have my work cut out for me as developing a pro player does not come easily… many mountains must be climbed. Yet, I believe Ana knows God is working in her life, and I’m thrilled for her. If she stays healthy and works very hard, and she can play many, many tournaments and matches worldwide, Ana has the ability make top 100 WTA. But, it will not be easy. nor is it guaranteed. Developing into a pro player takes years of focused determination, not weeks.

This is a really neat pic I’m having made into a big 10×12 in my office wall. By office, I mean my bedroom in my house :). Nasser, B18 #1 USTA, Christian Tennis dot Net But, it’s still my official office! When I think of the amount of days, week, and years that went into this picture coming together, I’m blown away by God’s love and grace.

I don’t want to give names in this pic, except to mention Nasser as without his mentoring and guidance ICTA would have gone belly up long ago, but I do want to say I really appreciate this pic. My friends, students, and the #1 junior in America whose tennis career God has had me help guide for a few years now, especially in ’06-’07.

Like Ana, this young man has the potential to break the top 100 ATP. I believe when he does, God’s name will receive all the fame.

The ICTA high performance tennis program is really unlike any tennis program I have ever seen. The students not only enjoy the Christian atmosphere, but they really enjoy each other. This current group has an amazing bond. I think part ICTA Christian Tennis Missionary Students from 4 Countries at Rock the Universe ‘07of the reason is they come from so many different places in this world.

This pic is a fun one of these world-class athletes kidding around on a Merry-Go-Round at Universal Studios during Rock the Universe ’07. The other one is of David from Australia driving Rachel from USA and Anastasia from Ukraine in a Chinese taxi-bike!

Currently, 7 different countries are represented in my home! I find that both amazing and exciting. Missionaries, kids who love Jesus and want to dive deeper in knowledge of Him, sharing their lives and experiences with each other, while also living with each other in support of ministry.

Which countries?

Indonesia, Ukraine, USA, Mexico, Australia, Japan, and Venezuela.

Each learning leadership skills, each learning the facts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Seeing God’s signature in human DNA and the earth’s place in the Universe. Interning with me to grow ICTA while also learning valuable ministry skills.

This weekend will be really exciting! Currently, Joe’s mom, Sue, is here spending a few days with us! Sue has been part of ICTA since 1999 and is one of ICTA’s first 5 members! Joe, one of my former students from ’99 to’05, will be here tomorrow to visit. Joe’s been playing college tennis and is in his second year. Both Joe and his Mom were Mormons before they met us. God worked through Rach, Mel, and myself to open their eyes to the lies of Mormonism, and both are now Christian.ICTA Christian Tennis Missionary Students from 3 Countries at Rock the Universe ‘07

On Friday Brent’s dad, Jim, will be here from Birmingham, Alabama. Remember, I coached Brent a few years ago. Brent went on to play college tennis and is doing so well in his young life. I’m thrilled to see Jim this weekend! Jim is one great guy and a special supporter of ICTA and of Rachel and Melody Snelen.

And on either Saturday evening or Sunday morning, a new international student will arrive from South America! Plus, on Saturday I’m excited for a new Faith & Tennis Camper, and his parents, to arrive from Atlanta to train and play tournaments for a couple of weeks with our ICTA boy’s junior missionary team! We will definitely have a full crew in my house (ICTAHouse) this weekend!

I love it! So great to see years of hard work and God’s blessings tying together in the International Christian Tennis Association.

Thank you for your prayers and emails of support. And a special thank you to FCA’s Emma Hustad (and my former intern!) for sending me a “care package” of my favorite tea (that she got me addicted to!) along with such a special note! Thanks squirt! Thanks for “being” you…

God bless,

Scott Paschal