November 29, 2007

Martina Hingis Cocaine Situation

Posted in Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, Love, Martina Hingis, melody snelen, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Teamwork, Typical Parent Visit to ICTA, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:42 pm by Scott Paschal

dscf7128.jpgAfter just 4 months with our new blog format, our ICTABlog family has about 500 dedicated readers. Nice.

My journal articles from the other site transfered over pretty well, so you will still have access to previous writings.

Often, I hear from you in the form of emails or phone calls.

(Pic of Mark with his mom and dad, who are church planting missionaries in Mexico. It was great having them stay a couple nights with us at my house while visiting Mark)

Here is a recent written comment from a Tennis Mom…

“Thanks for the stories and pictures and all that you do. I wish you guys were closer to Las Vegas where we live. I have two outstanding junior players Kristofer and Kimberly. Both are raised the Christian way. We do not belong to any church but as there mother I do the best I can. Of course I could use some help since teens do not always want to listen to their mother. It would be awesome to have my almost 14 year old son experience an environment that you provide for your players in Florida. God Bless you and please take care.” Gabriella

I really appreciate this mom’s thoughts. She’s right, too. Kids in tennis need to experience a high-performance tennis training environment that connects with their faith in Jesus.

In my view, I fully believe every junior tennis player in the world should have the opportunity to experience world-class tennis training, international tournaments, and Christian outreach. I’ve personally seen the life-changing impact this has on kids and their families.

dscf2912.jpgTennis needs positive, life-impacting stuff, right now.

(Pic of Rachel and Melody Snelen, ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team members, posing on a wall at King Herod’s palace in Cesaeria, Israel during an outreach.)

Speaking of positive and life-impacting, can I be controversial for a minute on the Martina Hingis situation?

Martina, your 12 years as a role model to the world’s youth have earned my respect. Your 12 years being known as an honest person on the WTA tour has earned my respect.

Your dedication to the game, your excellence in your broadcasting career, your passion in your comeback… all while proving yourself 100% free of any banned substances for 12 years of mandatory testing by the ITF is awe inspiring.

I fully believe, as you have stated, that you have never taken drugs.

Thus, my challenge to the ITF is this…

Prove to the tennis world that Martina isn’t the victim of a “modern day stabbing” by a jealous fanatic, such as Monica Seles’ situation. Instead of thrusting a knife into a player in front of an international audience, possibly criminals have become smarter?

Honestly, it would be simple to contaminate a player. How? Simply lace a pen with cocaine and have the player use it to sign an autograph.

Or add cocaine to the fuzz on a big yellow tennis ball and gently pat or shake it in front of the player’s face as you reach forward for her to sign… or sneeze a minute amount of a banned substance out of your hand in the player’s direction as you walk by…. or shake her hand with your contaminated cocaine hand….

Soon, an official ITF tribunal will formally submit its findings. Most likely, Hingis will be found “guilty” and punished. What is the checks and balances of the system? Really, almost nothing. The bad guys very well could win this one.

I’d like to see Hingis be able to take a lie-detector test at the very least and have that weighed in when the ITF tribunal evaluates evidence.

And… I’d like to see the urine tests of the people who make up the tribunal ;). Or to see mandatory drug testing for all ITF and USTA staff and coaches. Would be interesting to see how their lives change when they are forced to live daily with the knowledge they, too, could be easily and quickly contaminated by a common passerby with an agenda.

Tennis is a multi-billion dollar industry. Billions and billions. The money is huge and the stakes are high. Players are often in difficult situations…. What, if anything, is the ITF doing to truly protect them?

Shoot, even Tommy Haas recently was tested to see if he was poisoned in Russia during Davis Cup. The “official” ruling by the ITF after they studied the results of his blood test was that no poisoning happened, and they slammed the door shut. But, what fool would have used a poison that could still be detected in a blood test weeks after the poisoning occurred….

Has anyone ever heard of the Russian mafia, illegal sports betting, threats to athletes…?

Hello!? There is more to this multi-billion $ industry than Rafa vs Fed, and the latest Tennis magazine.

In life, all of us will go through different trials. Maybe we discover a loved one has cancer or a heart condition. Maybe we lose our income. Or possibly the guilty stamp will be placed on our lives without regard to innocence.

In those times, the hardest of times, where do you turn?

I turn to Jesus. I turn to a Savior I have researched for nearly 20 years and know beyond doubt is real. I turn to the one whose signature is woven in my DNA, whose intelligence can be seen in the placement of the earth in the sky, whose life and death and resurrection is proven beyond doubt…

… who has personally impacted me in a way that leaves me with no options but to listen and know He is God.dscf7117.jpg

(pic of Jon, who i’ve coached for 3+ years, and me during Thanksgiving dinner at church. nice 3D shades, Jon… not)

I have tough things happen to me. My testimony would leave you in tears. I had every excuse to go bad, to follow a bad life down a bad path.

But, like Martina, my earthly life was contaminated. Yet, not by cocaine, but by Christ.

My hardest time in life led me to my Savior.

The issue isn’t cocaine and did she do it or who “stabbed” her.

The issue is where will she turn? Who has her attention?

My prayer is Martina Hingis, like you and me, will rely on the only One who is truly reliable.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

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November 18, 2007

Best Week

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ChristianTennis Israel, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, Leadership, Love, melody snelen, Parent Coach Relationship, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry tagged , , , , at 1:28 am by Scott Paschal

This last week has been one of the best I’ve had since God signed me up for the ministry.

It’s hard to describe, but I feel great. More than just physically.

Affirmations are being shown to me that my life does have a purpose.dscf7091.jpg

If you had known me as a teen or college student, you would have seen a different me.

(a pic of three of my students this morning.)

In fact, if it hadn’t been for a tenaciously patient blonde from Texas who had an inability to quit on me in college during the 3 most difficult years of my life (and probably hers!), I wouldn’t be here.

I had bought into Satan’s lies. I felt worthless. She disagreed.

I believe God sends people to help us. People, who God inspires and directs.

(a pic of Mark, me, and Ana after church last Sunday)dscf2365.jpg

Have you ever been in the zone?

Where every ball you hit goes where you want it to go and everything seems to be moving in slow motion, and the only sound you hear is your heart beating.

I’m in that zone right now. Yet, it’s different than tennis. It’s a clarity for my purpose in God’s ministry in this season of my life.

For those of you who know me, you know I have never been given anything in my life. If I had anything, I worked to get it. From money to directions in life, I’d been given nothing. Ever.

Thank God.

I learned how to scrap and get the job done. I learned to see opportunity others missed. I learned to take nothing for granted.

I also have learned that though I was given nothing, I was given everything. God created me uniquely. I am an original created for His exact purpose to fulfill his exact plan for this life.

For those of you who have been praying for me, thank you and please don’t stop. I need your prayers.dscf6935.jpg

I have less than two years to reach my main goal I had set when I turned 17.

(parent’s of former students visiting recently. brent’s dad, Jim, and joe’s mom, Sue.)

The finish line is ahead, I can see the checkered tape! I know what I have to do to succeed and I’ll fight with all I have to get the job done. I see the purpose, now. It makes sense. It’s all added up. The job will get done.

Again thank you for your prayers! Some of you have been praying for over 20 years….

Updates on ICTA!!

*Lucy has turned her entire life around. Vakulenko aside, this is one of the most amazing hope-less to hope-filled changes I’ve witnessed. She is happier, healthier, and feels dscf7065.jpgGod loves her and reached out to her!

I made the decision to step out in faith to reach one of God’s lost sheep because God called me to do it. The work hasn’t been easy, but it has been worthwhile.

(pic of Mel with international student at tournament outreach)

My high school football coach took care of me in my difficult times. In a way, he lives on through his work with me. Thanks coach!

*I’m preparing to take an ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team to Mexico City for an outreach to a pro tournament in which they will compete. We leave next week.

*Our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team in Israel checked in today. They are safe and doing well. To follow their journey, go to http://www.israelchristiantennis.wordpress.com.

Thus far they have had a fellowship meeting with other believers, prayer and singing, explored old Jerusalem, went to the Mount of Olives, prayed at the Wailing Wall, visited the Garden Tomb, met a Christian group from Alabama and joined them for communion, went to the Villa Del A Rosa where Jesus carried the cross, went to the Rock of the Dome…

(pic of Rach working with international students at ICTAHouse during pro team tour break) dscf6967.jpg

Their hosts have been such a blessing. We will not be able to share with you their names, but please keep them in your prayers.

To wrap this entry up, thanks go out to so many of you who have sent me such neat emails and phone calls. I know it’s not easy to do, and I really appreciate every contact we receive.

I work an average of 100 hrs a week. Every week. At random times I get neat emails or phone calls from you guys, and my load suddenly get lighter!

You all make me feel blessed and cared for. Thanks.

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

November 8, 2007

Christian Junior and Pro Tennis Players Shine for Christ!

Posted in Athletes in Action Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Player, Emma Hustad, Faith, Fellowship, ICTA 3-Week Mission Tour of Mexico, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis tagged , , , , , , , at 11:29 pm by Scott Paschal

dscf7076.jpgThings are so busy around the ICTAHouse!

We are all getting ready for ICTA outreaches to Israel and Mexico this month in which the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Teams will compete in ITF Pro Circuit tournaments!

(pic of me with two students who won their divisions in recent tournament)

On top of preparing two international outreaches… we have junior tournaments to attend, daily high-performance tennis training for students representing 7 countries, discipleship training, schoolwork, accounting, bills :(, grocery shopping, cleaning… missions planning for ’08, strategic ministry growth development, personal goals, putting out “fires”, and so, so, so much more… like I said… this is a happening place, and much work gets done to make ministry happen.

Melody and Rachel Snelen will lead an ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team outreach in Ramat Hashoran, Israel, while I take a team to Mexico City, Mexico. This will mark the first time in the history of ICTA that two outreaches will occur at the same time, and personally, I’m excited knowing the name of Jesus will be spoken at these world class tournaments to players, coaches, volunteers, and fans.

Most of you reading this have no idea of the pain so many female players are forced to live through as they attempt to become top pro players. Sexualdscf7049.jpg abuse, drug abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, religious abuse…. Our ICTA player missionaries are highly trained to reach hurting players of all walks of life. Over 6 years of practice, patience, and prayer have developed our methods.

About a dozen now top 100 WTA players have been reached in a meaningful way, in a way that matters that they won’t forget.  In addition, dozens of others ranked from 100 to 1500 WTA, and world class juniors have been reached.  The impact on the pro tour has been profound and stabilizing.

(pic of me and Anastasia as we all celebrated her 1st birthday as a Christian on October 28!)

I’m really looking forward to Mexico City. The player/missionaries I’m traveling with are such good people and a lot of fun. Pretty good tennis players, too. We’ll take lots of pics and videos to share with you.

dscf7059.jpg This pic is of me and one of my friends. He is one of the special mentors God has placed in my life. His business and ministry wisdom is second to none.

In business he invented his entire industry. He has worked with about every US president since I’ve been alive and most major corporations, traveled the world more times and to more places than anyone I’ve ever heard of… and he has helped guide me for a long, long time.

More than any person alive today, this man knows exactly what God has called me to do and exactly why, and he supports and loves me unconditionally as I journey towards God’s development of my life as He prepares me fordscf7055.jpg eternity.

He knows when God calls, you gotta go. And beyond that, he has a complete and clear understanding that a Christian’s reputation and success is determined by God, and God alone.

(here’s a pic of some of my students hanging out during matches)

2007 has been the best year I’ve ever had in ministry. It’s also been the most challenging. Lessons learned from past mistakes and failures are paying off, as is the willingness to take risks.

I’m excited to think about the International Christian Tennis Association 5…10 years from now, and I’m curious as to how God will develop things.

What has been accomplished in the last 7 years in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds is so… well… it’s so amazing dscf2291.jpgthat I really can’t put it into words. The fact that God can believe a piece of poop like me is worth developing is indescribable.

(this is a pic of two international students studying their Bible in a room at my house, ICTAHouse.)

Emma Hustad, who was my summer 2007 intern (and Fellowship of Christian Athletes campus President and Athletes in Action leader), will journey with Rachel and Melody Snelen, and their Mom, to Israel next Tuesday. (ICTA is sending a group of Christian pro tennis players to Israel! That statement gives me goose bumps. Israel. Wow.)

And I’ll be with another team in Mexico! Two teams in two countries. For our little ministry, this is a pretty big undertaking and a really special event!

dscf2326.jpg

(here’s a pic of Mel hitting a volley in practice)

Please keep our missionaries in your prayers. These girls are doing some terrific work sharing their faith, time, food, shelter, etc. with others from around the world.

In a “me” centered world, these young people shine for Christ. They are rare, special, and tremendous examples of Christian pro athletes.

God bless,

Scott Paschal