February 20, 2009

Anastasia Kharchenko, WTA Ranked Christian Tennis Pro, Receives a Note…

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, Uncategorized, WTA Tennis tagged , at 9:50 pm by Scott Paschal

In 2008 Ana Won 2 Pro Titles and Made the Quarter Final of Another

In 2008 Ana Won 2 Pro Titles and Made the Quarter Final of Another while Qualifying for a WTA Ranking!

Anastasia Kharchenko has a life story which has inspired people around the world.

Coming from a poor financial background in Ukraine, Ana rose to the top of Ukraine’s junior tennis scene reaching #1 G18s.  She also reach #5 in Europe in G16s.  Then the sponsorship money ended… actually it was stolen.

She put her rackets in the closet and began to move on in her young life.  Then a talent scout from the USA found her and brought her to a newly formed tennis academy.

The situation was pretty bad, though.  Ana slept on a bare hardwood floor. There was little food.  One by one all the players left as the academy went bankrupt.

Ana and Her Mother, Larisa, in Ukraine.

Ana and Her Mother, Larisa, in Ukraine.

Ana was invited to train at another local tennis academy.  She accepted, but the situation went from bad to worse as different abuses were heaped on Ana by two coaches.

The ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team journeyed to Juarez, Mexico, where they saw Anastasia in a very difficult circumstance.  Ana then escaped her abusive situation as ICTA flew her to Florida and offered her help.

A short month later, during ICTA Discipleship Training,  Ana became a Christian.

She believes God came to find her in Juarez, Mexico.  Her testimony has inspired thousands….

Ana With Her Hitting Partners, Mark (Mexico) and Jon (Florida)

Ana With 2 Of Her Hitting Partners, Mark (Mexico) and Jon (Florida)

Now, Ana is a WTA ranked player and uses her career to share her testimony and her faith in Jesus.

She has top 100 WTA potential, and last week one of America’s finest teaching pros felt she can reach the top 50 WTA.

Ask Ana what her goal in life is and she will tell you two things… A. Reach top 100 WTA, and,   B. Tell people about Jesus.

She knows the better she becomes as a pro player the larger her platform to share her faith will be.

Awesome Focus and Determination As God Work in Her Life...

Awesome Focus and Determination As God Works In and Through Her Life... (Nigeria, Africa)

Currently, ICTA sponsors Ana.  She is expensive.  The hope is that one day she can pay ICTA back, but that’s going to be down the road.

Right now, we are simply working hard and giving Ana all the opportunity we can.

This all said, one young lady recently wrote Ana a letter.

In the letter she gave ICTA a $100 check to help support Ana.   I want to share her writing with you.

Ana and Aussie At Jon's High School Graduation

Ana and Aussie At Jon's High School Graduation

I’m not sharing this info with you so you will feel guilty and feel obligated to send money, too.

If God leads you to send money to ICTA for Ana, awesome.  Thanks, it will be well used to grow His renown.

But, that is not why I’m writing this blog entry.  I simply want to show you the heart of one faith filled young person as she feels led to support another in their common mission.  Strangers, yet sisters in Christ.

This letter and $100 check inspired Ana.  Actually, it inspired us all….

Dear Ana,

I have not written you since the summer.  I hope that you are well and enjoying your tennis.  I wanted to send you another check to help you with any travels you may have.

I received your thank you note.  It really blessed me.  I hope that you all continually are encouraged by each other.  I’m really proud of you.  Next month, I am going to help with a study on Daniel (to live a life that makes a difference for Christ) to our middle school group at church.  I’m really excited and nervous at the same time.  Will you pray for our group?

I hope that you are daily encouraged and strengthened in His love for you, Ana.  The Lord be with you as you follow Him ever day.

Sincerely,

Ashley

ana deck


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July 8, 2008

Video: Scott Paschal Teaches WTA’s Anastasia Kharchenko How to Drive!

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, scott paschal, Uncategorized, WTA Tennis tagged , , at 11:03 pm by Scott Paschal

Anastasia Kharchenko waving

My  “adopted daughter,” Anastasia Kharchenko, who is also newly WTA ranked in both singles and doubles, has been asking me to teach her to drive for over a year now.

I pretty much kept saying, “Maybe later.”  I would then quickly change the subject and she would give me that look….

You and I know driving isn’t all that big of a deal.  It’s like when I was a kid and I really, really wanted to mow the lawn, mainly because my Dad and big bro mowed the lawn.

Then, the big day came and my dad let me have at it.  In my mind I had became a man.  An 11 year old man.  I had arrived.  After spending 20 minutes mowing the front yard, I proudly showed my Dad.

I did it!  I was a man.  Now, I wanted to go play with my friends.

Anastasia Kharchenko getting my seat dirty! (click pic)

My Dad told me I could play with my friends after I mowed the sides and the back of the house.

He also told me it was my chore to mow the yard from now on.  And that he would pay me my allowance if I mowed well.  I vaguely remembering my brother snickering….

A beautiful smile of a happy girl!

A beautiful smile!

So began my life as a businessman.  I mowed, and my Dad paid me an allowance.

As I mowed I noticed our trees had a lot of leaves that fell.  They clogged up the mower.  So, I told him I couldn’t mow anymore.  He didn’t bite.  Instead, he offered me a solution…

That’s when I learned how to use a rake and how to bag leaves.  Hmmm, that didn’t really go as planned.

But, if you know me you know I always look for a positive solution… so I worked to make a deal with my Dad…

My proposal was how about he paid me 50 cents for every bag I filled with leaves?  He would supply the rake and the bags (and the trees!) and I would do the dirty work!  He agreed.  Soon after, I was rich.  I had at least $10.

Then, I had a pivotal moment in life.  I noticed the neighbors had trees, too.

My personal wealth skyrocketed as an entrepreneur was born.  I probably made $200 that Fall!

Anastasia is going to be an a great driver!
Anastasia is going to be an a great driver!

A few years later, I remember my Dad teaching me how to drive.  He had a BMW.  I was 15 years old.  It was the lawn mower manhood thing all over again.

My Dad was a great teacher.  Everything he said made sense and we both had a lot of fun.  It meant a lot to me that he let me learn to drive in his car.  I did it!  I drove.  I was a man.

Then, I learned I was going to have to drive a lot.  My parents divorced, I got bounced around from parent to parent, and I ended up having to drive about 45 minutes to school each way each day.  Then, I got a job bagging groceries.

A 4 wheel drive and a full tank of gas!

A 4 wheel drive and a full tank of gas!

I drove so much I learned driving isn’t as much fun as it looked.  Like mowing a lawn, driving is work.

A few years passed and soon I was driving all over the nation for my job.  I had started a traveling tennis teaching and fitness hobby “business” which gave me the opportunity to see the nation.  I logged tens of thousands of miles.  Once, I remember putting over 8000 miles on a rental car!

From my Dad giving me the opportunity to mow, I began to learn about business and hard work.  From my Dad giving me the opportunity to drive, I learned about responsibility and travel.

Life is about opportunities.  It really is.

Let\'s go drive on the beach!

Can we drive on the beach!

Life is about seeing something others can’t see, then showing it to them.

Here’s some free advice to have a fulfilled life….

Find the solution to a problem people have.  Their problem is actually your opportunity!

Your unique solution to the problem could possibly be your pathway to success, and might even just help the world become a better place.  That’s what I’m trying to do.

With me, I love teaching people about Jesus!  I really do.  If you know me you know I’m not a “churchy” guy.  I am a Christian and I serve in a church, but I’m 100% athlete/coach/guy/businessman…

First solo drive!

My authenticity and transparency with my successes and failures helps me relate to others who have had tough lives.

I allow my life and my home to be invaded with my friends and academy students and ministry partners… I think that my life is a wide open book, probably more than any other high performance tennis coach/tennis academy owner in America.

It’s also an opportunity.  I can share more.  I can disciple more.  I can listen more.

Anastasia did a GREAT job learning how to drive, today!

As always, she was coachable and wanted to do a good job.  Driving is a big responsibility.  She knows this and wanted to learn how to drive the right way.

Today, we stayed in first and second gears.  Learning to ease off the clutch, learning to drive slow and steady and safely.

I took her to a place without many cars.  A place where I could let her learn without fear.

It all reminded me of how how my Dad taught me.  Positive, fun, always building a friendship.

Learning Christian ministry was the same.  Jesus took me by the hand.  He guided me, taught me, kept me safe.

Anastasia and Coach Scotty

Anastasia and Coach Scotty

My hope and prayer is that Anastasia will remember today.  Today was important.  It was a big deal.

It’s an opportunity, a preparation for what God has planned.

Good job Anastasia!

with love,  Coach Scotty

PS.  Here’s a neat video of her first driving lesson…!

.

.

May 25, 2008

ICTA Christian Tennis Association Party @ Disney Hollywood Studios MGM

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, Parent Coach Relationship, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Teamwork, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Typical Parent Visit to ICTA, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 11:59 pm by Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association headquarters is based in Florida, and pretty near Disney World. During some down time in between ICTA mission trips and academy semesters, we decided to visit Disney Hollywood Studios!

What a great time we all enjoyed.

Pictured here to the right is me and Lindsey (she’s also pictured above pushing me in a wheelchair). Lindsey’s Dad, Kevin (pictured above) is my good friend of many years.

He is a medical doctor, and a solid 5.0 tennis player. I bought him his first Bible. What a privilege.

We are so alike it is ridiculous… same age, same weight, same height. God brought us together years back, and that’s when I met Lindsey! I’ve known her since she was just a little squirt in elementary school….

Now, Lindsey is a full time student at my academy and my house is pretty much a second home for her.

As Kevin and I are so much alike… and since I’ve known Lindsey for so long… I’m basically an adopted uncle.

Honestly, it is such a special honor to be involved in shaping and molding the lives of the next generation.

I know God placed special people in my life when I was a teen, and now it feels awesome to be able to be used by God to give back!

While some of my academy students won’t be here til the summer semester begins in a week or so, several are here and we all enjoyed hanging out together.

Anastasia Kharchenko (on left w/ Melody Snelen) is back home with me getting some rest after many weeks on the ITF Pro Circuit competing in pro tennis tournaments, and serving on the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team.

Ana is my “adopted daughter” from Ukraine and a new Christian. She loves Jesus so much and wants to share her knowledge of Him to other players on the pro tour.

This year, 18 year old Anastasia earned her WTA pro ranking, and won two ITF Pro tournaments. And a week or so ago she played a player ranked around WTA #180 and lost a close one… 6-2, 7-5, which gave her some confidence she can compete at that level.

Currently, Ana is on her way to South Carolina to begin a 6 week tennis and missions tour with the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team that will take them from South Carolina to Texas to Kansas to Boston. Please keep them in your prayers as they seek to share Christ with those placed in their path.

This neat guy is Aussie, a nickname we gave him because he’s from… you guessed it, Australia.

Aussie is awesome! What a special, unique personality he is. Aussie’s dad is a pastor, and they own a farm. I’ve coached Aussie full time for about a year.

He and Mark (Mexico) share a room in my house and have become like brothers. They have certainly formed a bond that will last a lifetime.

Aussie has amazing parents. They love our entire tennis/missions academy program, and are thrilled Aussie has grown in so many wonderful ways. Here is an email they sent me last week…

Hi Scotty,

Thank you so much for your email. Our communication with you is way overdue..sorry! We pray for you all daily. David is missed here also, but know without a doubt that he is where the Lord wants him, knowing he is being very well looked after, challenged and guided in life. Thankyou for all that you are doing for him and each of the others. We love to hear about everyone at ICTA.

We know David has mentioned this to you, but would like to ask if it is OK if his sister, Tish, can come and stay with you for a few days. They will fly into Daytona Beach… Tish is so looking forward to meeting you all – I hope having two Aussies isn’t too stressful for you!!

At your convenience, we would love to hear of David’s on and off-court progress, and any ways we can encourage and guide him from a distance.

Thank you again so much.

God bless you and all you do.
Rich & Eilie

So great to have healthy, solid Christian parents sending such special emails of support. It is incredible for me to realize International Christian Tennis Association is having such a discipleship impact for the Kingdom!

Pictured here is ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team captain, Rachel Snelen (left), with “Lucy.”

Lucy’s story is amazing! She came to me not quite a year ago… and she was highly suicidal. Coaches, and life, had treated her pretty horribly.

Boy have things changed! Lucy is on-fire for life! Every single aspect of her young personality has improved, and she is an inspiration to all of us.

She is even an inspiration to her atheist Dad! He is amazed at the transformation taking place in her! In fact, three weeks ago he flew in from Japan. We talked at length through a translator. He asked me to coach Lucy for the next 5-6 years, and was so grateful for my work. I was almost in tears…

He is even interested in investing in condos at a tennis facility we build, if ICTA ever builds one. Since he owns a bunch of Japanese restaurants in South America, I take his investment interest as a great compliment.

(pic of me looking at Walt Disney, one of my favorite people and examples!)

It has taken me nearly 10 years to build International Christian Tennis Association.

As I look around for the fruit of my labor, I have to look first to my academy/missions kids. What a treasure they have been in my life.

Generally, I’m not a person with much patience, and I prefer to have plenty of space around me. But, God invaded my life through kids from 15 countries and 14 US States… kids who have camped out in my house… and ate all my food… and constantly hang around me… and God taught me so much through them I can’t begin to tell you in a simple journal entry.

10 years is a long time. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown a lot. Hopefully, I’ve helped some people along the way.

Whatever God has coming up for me in the future, whether it’s with International Christian Tennis Association or not, the last 10 years have been good. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

April 17, 2008

Goat Intestine Soup

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Benin City Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Outreach, ICTA, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, scott paschal, Teamwork, Tennis Athletes in Action, Tennis Ministry tagged , , , , , , at 7:04 pm by Scott Paschal

ICTA Founder, Scott PaschalWho knew God had planned for me to meet, tear down walls, and build bridges with two people in ministry that I hadn’t particularly gotten along with very well before! I’ll explain…

The end of last week and early this week ICTA Women’s Pro Team Outreach journied 210 miles south on I95 to the Ballenisles/USTA $25K Women’s Pro Circuit Event being held at the Ballenisles Country Club, home of Serena Williams.

Our mission team was already pretty tired from having been on the road for most of the last couple of months traveling to as far away as Africa, to locations in the USA such as Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi.

As such, we had basically canceled the Palm Beach Outreach so everyone could rest, go to church, and recharge their batteries. Traveling constantly isn’t easy. It’s hard for anyone.

That said, on Saturday… the day of check-in for the tournament… I felt God overwhelming my thoughts and urging me to go to Palm Beach Gardens. I’ve been in ministry for a while, and I know when God does this we needed to go, even if I have no idea of His plans.

I asked Melody Snelen and Anastasia Kharchenko, two of my longtime students and team members of the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team, if they would go with me. They agreed, quickly packed their suitcases, loaded the van with outreach supplies (bibles, Christian books, ICTA T-Shirts, etc.), and we were soon on our way. Sign-in was between 3pm and 6pm, we had to hurry as the time was nearly 2pm!

Along the way I felt God leading me to make a renewed connection in person with a ministry we hadn’t visited with in a while. From following His lead, God quickly provided over $6500 worth of Christian books and Bibles and CDs at a substantially discounted price to go with what we had already packed for distribution during the outreach.

We loaded the van with the new outreach supplies and on we went, arriving in time for sign-in with just 6 minutes to spare….

Though Ana was entered in the event, that wasn’t why we went. I told her she didn’t even need to play.

Ana’s body was still recovering from her match with former WTA #14, Elina Bovina, who is currently ranked in the 300s during her comeback from a foot injury.

Their marathon match in Alabama went to a tie break in the 3rd set with Elina taking the victory. Both girls were completely physically and emotionally exhausted from their encounter.

Elina pulled out of her upcoming tournaments, and Ana’s entire body was sore for the next 4 days to the point she couldn’t even train.

As we were not in Palm Beach Gardens for my players’ tennis, why did God want us there? I had no idea, but I did know something was going to happen.

After sign-in, Mel and Ana practiced for about an hour. And we gave another player and her coach/husband a book and a Bible…. Pretty routine stuff, so far.

After practice, we sat outside at the club and looked around at how amazingly perfect the facility looked, and we talked about it in comparison to poverty stricken Benin City, Nigeria where we had recently spent a few weeks.

I remembered one situation in Nigeria when we had basically ran out of the food we had brought from Florida. The hotel had a restaurant, think 3rd world here, which Mel and Ana visited to look at the menu. They discovered the soup of the day was made of goat intestines….

Both girls were pretty grossed out! You expect to hear about chicken or beef or potato soup, but not really about the intestines of a goat!

After laughing for a while, we left the club, ate dinner at a Chinese buffet, and checked into our housing.

On Day 2 in Florida the rains came! The day for tennis was basically washed out. But, the opportunity was prime for ministry outreach! Ana grabbed some books (Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah) and Bibles (a Bible magazine called Refuel) and began distributing them to anyone who wanted one… or two… or three….

Soon after, I was approached by a guy who thanked me for the gifts. Our tennis missionaries had given ICTA Outreach gifts to him and the entire group he was with. I quickly recognized him as someone I didn’t really much like, but, honestly, didn’t really know.

As we talked I felt God urging me to build bridges, that it was time to move forward and I needed to let the past go, and that God had much work to be completed and my idiotic ego was standing in the way. I soon offered well over 100 books and Bibles to him. He graciously accepted… and walls began crumbling down.

The next day he and a friend, whom I also recognized as someone I didn’t particularly like due to past experiences, from his group watched Ana’s second match of the day when she played Sheika Uberoi. After the match I invited them to meet with me. They eagerly agreed and we sat and talked. Again, walls came tumbling down as Jesus came into full view.

I enjoyed my time meeting with Ryan Fitzwilliams and Lindsay Sullivan. I enjoyed God helping me see them for who they are in Him.

Ryan coaches at a Catholic school, has an outreach to the pro tennis tour (mainly the men), and has a growing sports ministry called Match Point Ministries. Lindsay is nurturing the newly forming tennis aspect of Athletes in Action.

As we talked together, I felt God showing me that this was the reason He needed me in Palm Beach Gardens.

The entire visit was a big band-aid covering and healing old wounds. I shared the history of the International Christian Tennis Association (even from way back in the late 70s/early 80s when it was someone elses’ big dream!). I explained how I began in ministry and why I feel so strongly about championing different causes. And we talked about the future of International Christian Tennis Association…

We talked about mistakes made in the past, both mine and others. We discussed the need to not have competitiveness towards each other in ministry. And God allowed us each to begin, again.

I enjoyed being able to spend time with both Lindsay and Ryan. I’m glad God was able to use Ana to reach them as she was giving away ICTA Outreach gifts, and that through the faithful missionary dedication she showed… a God appointed meeting happened.

After we visited, Ryan and I loaded up his Toyota with ICTA Outreach supplies, and shook hands. I felt like God’s work had been accomplished and had a total peace that Ana, Mel, and I could now begin driving back to Palm Coast.

Sometimes in ministry, people can become possessive and competitive. I believe it is one of Satan’s tools to slow the Great Commission. I am as guilty of it as anyone. Especially when I first started. Now, I realize the importance of understanding that competition between ministries is a first sign of immaturity and insecurity in the ministry leader’s personal walk with Jesus.

Possibly all pastors/ministers go through it. I know I did. By nature, I am ridiculously competitive and like to kick butt in everything I do! But, now I focus my energy on kicking satanic tail… and part of winning against Satan means swallowing pride, apologizing, forgiving, and working together….

The main point of ministry in tennis… of seeing tennis as a harvest field for Christ… is to reach and disciple the lost. Millions of people from religions and cultures worldwide have no interest in Christianity, yet love tennis. Tennis is our common bond.

The field of work for ICTA and AIA and Match Point is intense. Tennis is without question the most difficult ministry field in all of sports.

As such, when someone in tennis is reached or is genuinely seeking Christ, they need to see a unified voice for Christ from caring ministries. They need and deserve to see all of us truly interested in putting self below Jesus to shine as one light in places God has assigned us to harvest and shepherd.

Through this divinely appointed meeting, I believe Lindsay, Ryan, and I have just had our serve cranked up by Coach Jesus, and are ready to look for Satan’s short returns we can smack into the open court for winners.

My heartbeat is for people worldwide to see Christ being reflected by the willingness our three ministries show to grow in unity; to support, lift up, and stand by each other as one body… and to pray for and offer grace to peers who continue to struggle with unforgiveness and competitiveness and jealousy….

Last Saturday night at Ballenisles Country Club after practice, as Ana, Mel, and I were thinking back to International Christian Tennis Association’s 3 week mission trip to Africa, I remembered how I laughed when Ana and Mel first told me the hotel restaurant in Nigeria was serving Goat Intestine Soup. They were grossed out, and it was funny to watch their expressions! I was pretty grossed out, too.

And now as I type I realize that as we sat on court after practice Saturday evening in Palm Beach Gardens and talked, I had absolutely no idea of God’s plans for the trip. We weren’t even planning to be there! Yet, God knew His plans. He is in control.

And He clearly showed He needs a unified voice for Him in tennis!

As my players and I left the tournament and drove north on I95, I felt a complete peace about the purpose and success of this last minute God breathed, God ordained ICTA outreach… I also smiled…

I felt God telling me that when pro tennis players and tennis fans, Christian or not, from countries worldwide think of Him they need to see a unified body of people who truly love Him reflecting everything that He is, that we should all be “serving” our best stuff that He has coached us in…

…and that we shouldn’t be “serving” Goat Intestine Soup!

God bless,

Scott Pachal

International Christian Tennis Association

March 8, 2008

ICTA Christian Junior Tennis Player, Anastasia Kharchenko, Wins First ITF Pro Circuit Title!

Posted in Africa Tennis, anastasia kharchenko, Benin City Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, Christian Tennis Ukraine, Demon Possessed, Faith, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, Julia Vakulenko, Junior Tennis, melody snelen, Nigeria Tennis, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Ministry, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , at 10:24 pm by Scott Paschal

dscf3903.jpgCongratulations to junior tennis player Anastasia Kharchenko who won her first ITF Pro Circuit Title while on an ICTA Outreach in Benin City, Nigeria!

Ana, a member of International Christian Tennis Association Women’s Pro Tennis Team, which is a special group of high performance tennis players dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, won the tournament without losing a set!

(Anastasia Kharchenko, 2nd from left, with team in Atlanta airport before flying to Lagos, Nigeria)

The team travels worldwide competing in ITF Pro Circuit tournaments. Each tournament they attend is a Christian outreach harvest field for them.

The road from when I first met Ana to our journeying to Nigeria with her team is a special one that leaves us all standing in awe of the miraculous provision of God.

About 1.5 years ago, an ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team journeyed to an international tournament in Mexico. There they met Anastasia Kharchenko, who they discovered had been forced to endure abuse from her tennis coaches.

nigeria-trip1-471.jpgI will never forget Rachel Snelen, team captain, calling and asking me if I would be willing to coach Ana.

(Ana and I flying to Lagos Nigeria)

When Rachel informed me Ana was from Ukraine, I nearly hung up the phone, as just a few months earlier I had been burned by Julia Vakulenko and had basically lost trust in Ukrainian players.

You remember Julia, right? She’s the WTA pro player who had quit tennis, sank into suicidal depression, and became bedridden. God used me to intervene in her potential suicide attempt on Christmas Eve 2005.

After the miraculous intervention, I brought Vakulenko to Florida and began rebuilding her on and off the court. I changed her tennis racket and strings to give her more control, taught her a topspindscf3924.jpg serve, and showed her the importance of hitting tight angles to pull her opponents off the court. Hours and hours we spent working on her ability to change the direction of the ball with power and confidence.

We focused on strengthening her legs and her stomach, and spent hour after hour on footwork drills. Vakulenko fell in love with dribbling a soccer ball and riding mountain bikes.

(Ana and I on a crazy shuttle bus ride in Lagos, Nigeria.)

I poured into Vakulenko’s tennis at no charge for weeks hoping to re-light her fire for life. Like all my students, she improved daily and loved what and how I taught her.

In addition, Julia had daily Bible studies with my other students, devotional time, and prayer time. We even traveled to an amazing Christian conference in Florida, and went to Georgia to listen to the testimony of a gifted Christian communicator.

Daily for the first 6 weeks, and I mean daily, Vakulenko told me how happy she was and how grateful she was to God for sending me into her life and giving her a new start. She wrote me beautiful notes and cards showing her appreciation.

While the first 6 weeks working with her were pretty good, the last 10-14 days were a living hell. I had confronted her on dscf3946.jpgwhat seemed to be prescription drug abuse. She started going ballistic.

(Melody Snelen and Ana exiting the airplane in Benin City, Nigeria)

Additionally, I confronted her to quit trying to recruit my students to either travel with her on the WTA tour or be coached by her mother in Barcelona. Which, according to my students, she had been secretly doing behind my back. I was beyond disappointed.

She also had set her sights on having Marek Czerwinski as her boyfriend and travel partner. Marek was a full time student of mine and had recently held the #1 ranking in B18 USTA. She claimed she could help him be a top ATP player and could give him the confidence he needed, if he only traveled with her.

I told Marek he needed to travel with several guys his age and ability level to about 35 ITF Pro Circuit tournaments a year for a few years, not shack up with her as the newest boy toy in her life! I told Julia to back off from the 18 year old boy!

Again, she went totally ballistic. (Needless to say after Marek shacked up with Vakulenko his pro career was a huge failure… he won just 5 matches in 2 years. Not too good for a guy whose main goal professionally was to beat Federer.)

dscf3959.jpg

(Ana and “Lucy”, an ICTA Pro Team member who had formerly been suicidal but is now excelling in her joy for life. “Lucy” is wearing her DNO tshirt she is very proud to own)

I decided to not coach Julia full time on the WTA tour. My last week with Julia was spent incurring her wrath. Even so, I stayed true to my initial commitment and flew her to Las Vegas to compete in the Tennis Channel Open, where she officially began her comeback after suicidal depression, while ICTA hosted a large-scale outreach to 50,000+ tennis fans.

In Vegas after her first-round match, Julia apologized for her actions and gave me a big, thankful hug. For 10 minutes while standing next to the tennis court she cried, hugged me, and apologized for her actions the past couple weeks. I, of course, was glad. We then spent the day together, and part of the next.

But, the apology was short lived as she quickly ran back to the people who seemed to have abused her, some of the ones she claimed had helped drive her towards depression, and she began bashing me atnigeria-trip1-011.jpg every opportunity… most likely because of the conviction she felt while shacking up with Marek, who had bought into her manipulation hook, line, and sinker.

(Anastasia Kharchenko with “Ana’s kids,” a group of Nigerian youth who watched her first match and received Christian gifts from ICTA)

Before coming to train with me full time, Julia Vakulenko had an average WTA ranking of just 161 over a six year period.

After my training her full time, the following two years saw her average ranking improve to 76 WTA with her highest ranking being 31 WTA.

From what I understand Julia also earned prize money of approx $500,000 during those 2 years, more than doubling her total from the six previousnigeria-trip1-191.jpg years. She also defeated 3 top 10 WTA players, and made the 4th round of the US OPEN, her best Grand Slam showing ever.

(Rachel Snelen, Melody Snelen, and Anstasia Kharchenko with local Nigerians)

The statistics are there for anyone to view. There is a very clear line of distinction between her tennis ability before meeting and working with me, and her accomplishments after.

There is also a clear line between Vakulenko the first 5-6 weeks before I confronted her on issues, and the two weeks following the confrontation.

dscf3975.jpg(Anastasia before a match posing with local Nigerian painter at Nigeria’s National Tennis center)

Personally, I have few thoughts for or against Vakulenko for my time with her. The past is the past. I hope she has matured and faced her demons head on.

I also am not writing to pat myself on the back. I do not want or need new students and am not even slightly trying to use my success with rebuilding Vakulenko to make money.

I have coached other players who can beat players like Vakulenko 6-0, 6-0. Most ATP players ranked in the 1000s could beat her 0,0. And guys ranked in the 1000s are generally just solid juniors or college level players. That said, rebuilding Vakulenko is nothing for me to brag about at all.

dscf4284.jpg(Ana and Melody Snelen talking before Ana’s Final match)

Yet, though the past is the past and I have moved on long ago, I have recently discovered significant proof which seems to show Vakulenko has attempted to harm Ana’s blossoming pro tennis career.

Yes, Ana. A girl who has never even met Vakulenko. A girl who has dedicated her life to Christ and to helping others. A young person trying to make something of herself in a tough world.

The proof which has been brought to me has me thoroughly disappointed with Julia Vakulenko.

Yet, before I share more publicly, I want to make sure what I have been shown is 100% true, though given the sources I have no reason to doubt its authenticity. And if this information is proven false or even only 99% true, I’ll be more than happy to report that as well.

nigeria-trip1-370.jpgI could film a 10 hour documentary on the ridiculous Vakulenko soap-opera I’ve endured, but suffice to say you now have a better understanding of why I had no interest in training a Ukranian.

(Me looking on as Ana is winning her first ITF Pro Circuit title!)

As you can see, when Rachel called to inform me of Anastasia’s situation and told me she was a Ukrainian, I was less than thrilled. But, Rachel made a good argument and helped me get past my issues to see Ana’s desperate need.

dscf4294.jpgThank God!

(Ana hitting inside-out forehand during Final)

Ana quickly flew to Florida and escaped her abusive situation. It was a pretty funny scene as we both stared at each other in the Daytona airport. I didn’t trust Ukranians and she didn’t know who the heck I was!

Weeks later, Anastasia became a Christian and I became her legal guardian. And now she is my “adopted daughter!”

Anastasia’s story brings to mind Luke 15:4-7

4. What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.nigeria-trip1-398.jpg

6. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and his neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7. I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, (more) than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.

Ana has worked hard from the first day she trained with me. She is relentless in her ability to push her body as far as it will go. Her athletic genes she received from her father, who was a Ukrainian track star, have helped her tremendously.

Yet, what impressed me more about Anastasia is her hunger to improve in all areas of her life. Once she became a believer in Christ, Ana began reading everynigeria-trip1-410.jpg book she could on the Christian faith.

(Ana shaking hand with Nowak after easily defeating her 6-3, 6-1 in the Final. Ana didn’t drop a set the entire tournament)

This is especially impressive when you consider she had never read a book in English before!

Ana thoroughly enjoyed attending church, studying her Bible, and attending Christian conferences and concerts. Like a sponge she soaked it all in.

After much work improving upon Ana’s strengths in tennis, rebuilding her weaknesses, and defining her style of play, Ana hit the junior circuit in Florida… and went undefeated.

nigeria-trip1-415.jpg(Even though she easily won the Final, several aspects of her game needed to improve before the next tournament, so we went right to work after she shook the chair umpire’s hand.)

Anyone watching Anastasia compete understands she has the potential to become a professional tennis player. Yet, there is a great distance between juniors and pros.

Even a junior as talented as Ana, who clearly is equal to any top 10 ITF ranked junior, is currently only at a level to be competitive with players ranked 250 WTA and below.

Study top 100 ranked WTA players and you quickly realize the “overnight sensations” often took between 4 and 7 years competing on the ITF pro circuits to gain a high enough ranking to compete at WTA tour level events.nigeria-trip1-426.jpg

For Ana, this is year number two in her development.

(Ana speaking with the media after winning the first tournament. She spent most of her interview talking about Jesus. The entire interview was aired on Nigerian TV)

Currently, Ana is not thinking about competing in WTA level tournaments. She knows her upcoming new WTA ranking of approximately 725 is good, but nothing spectacular and that she has a lot of improving to do on her game.

nigeria-trip1-419.jpgShe is enjoying training and traveling with her friends on the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team. Ana is a Christian missionary spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those she meets.

(After each match, Ana jogged 2 to 3 laps with a local youth before stretching)

While tennis is important to her, she knows God may have other plans for her life.dscf4307.jpg

To say I was extremely glad for Anastasia as she won her first ITF Pro Circuit title would be an understatement.

(Rachel Snelen and Ana going back to hotel after Ana’s tournament victory)

She has worked hard and completely deserves to win. No one anywhere has worked harder.

Anastasia Kharchenko has beaten the odds and has earned a rare WTA ranking. Along the way God has been working in her life and teaching her life is about helping others, not herself.

nigeria-trip1-154.jpgCongratulations Ana!

You’ve done a great job on and off the tennis court.

(Local Nigerian woman we passed while driving to hotel helped to keep things in perspective)

You know God has blessed you with an ability to use your life for His will to be done.

The willingness you have to appreciate God’s blessings and use them to share His name to others is an inspiration.

Most people reading this article have little knowledge of the abusive damage done to players by the tennis system as they attempt to rise to the top of the pro rankings.nigeria-trip1-339.jpg

Julia Vakulenko and Anastasia Kharchenko are prime examples of great kids who have been battered by dysfunctional, criminal tennis coaches in a truly Godless international tennis industry.

(Ana and I sitting together developing friendships with locals during Rachel Snelen’s doubles match)

As a person who works full time in tennis as a missionary and ministry founder, I can assure you demonic spiritual warfare is alive in tennis and working to destroy as much as possible.

Honestly, I don’t blame someone like Vakulenko for being who she is. She can’t help it. The tennis system has used and abused players for a long time. Top players often have no idea how to be kind and giving, functional, Christ-like.

But, I do hold players like Vakulenko accountable for their pathetic actions. Such players cannot continue to be the moral compass of professional tennis and the example for youth to follow.

The only compass in tennis must be Jesus Christ. Not me, not you, not Ana or Julia… Jesus Christ crucified and nothing else.

nigeria-trip1-441.jpg(Me reading and giving away Gospel tracts to local youth)

Organizations, such as the International Christian Tennis Association, must be willing to take on the tough tasks of developing top players and giving them the opportunity to travel worldwide in the name of Christ.

Tennis players can be developed as Christian missionaries. Junior, pro, and college tournaments can be developed as a gathering place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tennis industry companies, such as racket and string manufacturers, can be developed based solely on Christian principles.

pacificlife2007day30212.jpgTennis academies can be developed to add Christian values to the lives of those attending.

People in tennis worldwide are among the wealthiest and most influential in the world…

…reach them and you can win nations for Christ.

God bless,

Coach Scotty

March 6, 2008

3 Weeks in Africa: ICTA Christian Pro Tennis Team

Posted in Africa Tennis, anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Benin City Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, Christian Tennis Ukraine, Faith, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, Love, melody snelen, Nigeria Tennis, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Teamwork, Tennis Ministry, Tennis Missionary, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , at 9:48 pm by Scott Paschal

dscf4301.jpgTrying to find the right words to explain the impact the Nigerian people have had on my life will be difficult.

(pic of me with Nigerians God sent to guide and protect us)

To witness the love of Christ unconditionally flowing from people living in 3rd world poverty has rocked me to my core.

The people I met and spent time with didn’t keep calling Jesus “awesome” and “indescribable” when speaking of Him like I so often hear in America. They worshiped Him in trembling and fear and total trust.

I was blown away by the power of their faith and trust in God under such extreme, harsh conditions. Starving kids, little electricity, few police, sparse sanitation….

nigeria-trip1-221.jpgIn Benin City, Nigeria, I personally battled with two thoughts on a constant basis… “I want to leave right now.” and “I never want to leave.”

(pic of me on trash heap inside Nigerian National Tennis Center)

While unbelievable poverty took my breath away, their love of Jesus under such conditions breathed it back in.

My spoiled rotten, pathetically American, Christian viewpoint was quickly confronted by the reality of the Gospel being lived through the Nigerians God placed in my path.

Daily I struggled to not vomit as I openly was exposed by a patient God to my own disgusting, obviously trendy American view of worship of Him.

dscf4177.jpg

(pic of Rachel and Melody Snelen, and Anastasia Kharchenko, with highly select youth attending tournament)

I am truly horrified at my inner lack of true knowledge of what it means to love Jesus with all my heart, and I am grateful for the Nigerians in Benin City who live to serve Christ in trembling and fear.

My eyes have been opened to the fact that my life and my ministry have simply been spiritually dead, though it never felt that way until I was confronted with Jesus speaking through His African followers directly to the lies I had bought into and made a lifestyle, lies that many American Christians call their own.nigeria-trip1-217.jpg

To say I am ashamed is a gross understatement.

(pic of Benin primary school)

Please don’t feel badly for me or try to console me. That’s not what I want or need.

I’m just being open with God’s work in me these last 3 weeks and I hope someone, somewhere can learn from my mistakes.

What I can say is that I hope and pray every American can have the God-blessed opportunity to spend a day, a week, a month, or a lifetime in Benin City, Nigeria. You might come alive in ways you may never have known possible. God’s glory will truly be revealed to you as it was to me.

dscf4494.jpgHonestly, in the beginning of scheduling our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team tours for 2008, I didn’t really want to go to Nigeria.

(pic of Anastasia Kharchenko hitting a swinging volley winner.)

It was too far away, too expensive, too dangerous, too different.

But, after prayer, I knew God was calling our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team to go to Benin City, and he opened all doors to make it happen.

My role in the trip originally was to go for just 4-5 days to help the girls arrive safely. God had other plans for my time.

Upon arriving in Benin, after a 29 hour journey, it was obvious to see the love the people have of Jesus. Benin is a Christian stronghold, the last in Nigeria. It is also the country’s capital.

Two thing first overwhelmed me about Benin… the love they have of Jesus, and the unbelievable poverty.

During the first week, God led Nigerians to us to form a team. One by one Nigerians with special skills felt called to offer help. I curiously watched these people be placed in our path. As I know how God works, I knew He had something planned!

Let me first give a quick background of Nigeria and it’s capital, Benin. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the 11th largest in the world. It is the world’s 8th largest exporter of crude oil.

dscf4251.jpg

(pic of Rachel Snelen reading the Bible to Nigerian youth)

Why such poverty then? The Nigerian government is ridiculously corrupt.

Nihu Ribado, the chairman of the EFCC, alleges past Nigerian leaders have stolen over 550 billion dollars of revenue since independence from England was established about 40 years ago.

To really appreciate this amount, realize it is 6 times the amount it cost to rebuild Europe under the Marshall Plan after World War II, with dollars adjusted for today’s inflation.

Basically, Benin should be one of the richest cities in the world… like Dubai.

Unfortunately, radical Islam has rooted itself in northern Nigeria. The Niger Delta region has 12 year old kids with machine guns claiming they’re sent by God to kill infidels, which is anyone non-Muslim.. The potential oil money from gaining control of Nigeria is huge. The money could wage an unbelievable Holy War.

dscf4436.jpgWhile coaching Anastasia during the two ITF Pro Tournaments and leading the missions team, I noticed something very troubling happening in Benin, particularly with the kids.

(Anastasia Kharchenko running forehand during match in which she qualified for a WTA ranking)

Radical Islam was seeking to gain a foothold in Benin using youth sports.

At first I doubted myself as to what I was seeing. I stayed quiet and kept my eyes open.

But God clearly opened my eyes further. Since I spread the Gospel of Jesus through sports, I recognized radical Islam using sports to further their agenda.

God then used Ana to show me a newspaper article, which tied everything together and gave me proof, the serious proof I needed.

I spoke with a trusted friend from Benin. He told me I am in great danger. He knew the power of my accusations, information, and logical argument, when combined with the proof I had gathered, would cause a surge of anger from Muslims in power and place me in harm’s way.

To make a long story short, the largest church in Africa has been alerted to my findings. They had know Islam has been attempting to infiltrate Benin, but did not know youth sports was a vehicle.

Islam wants the oil money and more radical teenage holy warriors. They are attempting to gain the allegiance of youth through daily gaining their trust through sports. It is a technique which has been used for centuries, and one that I use as well to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As such it was easy for me to see, much like it is easy for one tennis player to recognize another by the way they dress, speak, act, etc.

My last week in Benin was spent developing a plan in cooperation with Nigerian Christian youth sports leaders and pastors. I gave many TV interviews speaking about Jesus, formed a strong team to expose Islam through media, educated one of Nigeria’s foremost sports development experts, and helped plan an informative booklet.

Hopefully, it’ll help.

dscf4605.jpgOn another note, during this entire journey of deepening our faith and commitment to Jesus, our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team team competed in two ITF pro tournaments.

(Anastasia Kharchenko holding her trophy for winning both ITF pro circuit tournaments held in Benin)

Rachel and Melody Snelen, Anastasia Kharchenko, and the rest of the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team held an amazing outreach in Benin. More about this will be written in our developing blog dedicated to Nigeria.

For now, thank you for your prayers and support of the International Christian Tennis Association.

I’d like to leave you with an email which was sent to me by the dad of one of my longtime students, Newbie. I did not have email access to read it until two nights ago when I returned home. The timing of when he sent it as compared by the amazing events unfolding in Benin gave me goose bumps and chills.

Thank you all for your prayers. Because of your faithfulness, an Islamic plan to militate youth has began to be thwarted. I think you’d all agree it would be much better for Benin youth to have tennis rackets in their hands instead of machine guns.

The danger we experienced was real, but God’s hand and provision was everywhere.

God bless, Scott Paschal

————————-

Hey Scotty:

A funny thing happened to me this morning. I was doing my workout and God spoke to me and said, “Pray for Scotty, right now.” It was about 9 am. I got down on my knees and prayed that God would be with you and cover you with the blood of Jesus to keep you from all harm.

I prayed too that God will pour out His love on you; fill your heart with all the love that is in His, because He loves you and delights in you. I felt too, that you were under attack, and that God wanted me to share these verses with you:

The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations….
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.

For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Psalm 33:10-11 and 18-21.

He also gave me these verses from Acts for you: Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought, But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found to fight against God. Acts 5:38-39

For the past few days, you have been on my mind and in my prayers. God seems to be telling me that He loves you so much He wants to pour His love and peace into your heart until your heart is so full of God’s love that it just pours over into the lives of all those you touch.

God sees your heart, Scotty, and He know you love Him and want to serve Him. He is blessing you right now. He loves you more than anyone and you are more precious to Him than anything on earth. You are His son, and He loves you just as He does Jesus, your older brother.

He’s asking me to share this one more verse with you: Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. Luke 15:31.

I don’t know what this is all about, Scotty, but I do want you to know you are not alone, that you are loved and respected, and that I stand with you in all that you do.

In the Father’s love. Ken

February 11, 2008

ICTA Christian Pro Tennis Team Journies to Nigeria

Posted in Africa Tennis, anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, Christian Tennis Ukraine, Coaching Articles, Cult Buster, Florida Tennis, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, IMG, International Christian Tennis Association, Junior Tennis, Leadership, melody snelen, Nigeria Tennis, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Missionary tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:16 pm by Scott Paschal

The ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team is preparing for a 2 tournament tour of Nigeria, Africa.

Leaving this Wednesday, February 13, this special five member Christian tennis team will fly to Atlanta and then on to Lagos Nigeria arriving in the morning. From Lagos the team will fly to Benin City, Nigeria where they will stay for 2 weeks.

I’m going, too!

We have started a blog for you to follow the action in Nigeria. Click here. dscf3856.jpg

In other ICTA news, I thoroughly enjoyed Sarasota, Florida this past week as my student and “adopted daughter” Anastasia Kharchenko competed in a tournament in which the winner receives a main draw wildcard into an ITF $25,000!

Ana competed well. She won 5 matches before falling in the final.

A highlight for me was Ana’s semifinal victory over Courtney Vernon.

dscf3863.jpgCourtney was #13 G18 USTA before going on to a celebrated college tennis career at USF where she reached a national ranking of #54 in Division 1 and went 20-0 last season.

Courtney has a career highest WTA ranking of 637, and has recent straight set wins over top WTA players, such as WTA #239 Melissa Torres-Sandoval.

Ana won her semifinal match against Vernon 6-1, 6-3.

The wildcard tournament was a grueling event for all the girls. In order to compete, each entrant had to agree to play 2 singles matches per day.

Competing at the pro level is often more difficult than competing at the junior level. Players put more into each shot, and the strategies and tactics are more advanced.

I was highly impressed with Anastasia’s focus, drive, and determination as she competed in 6 matches in 3 days.

dscf3884.jpgEach match was a learning experience for Ana.

I would study her strengths and weaknesses during the match, then after the match ended we would spend some time on court talking and discussing ideas on what she did well and what needed to improve.

Ana and I have a very good friendship and bond. This helps tremendously as she knows she can trust that I always have her best interest at heart.

Though the semifinal match against Courtney Vernon was fun to watch, I really enjoyed the final!

Even though Ana lost in straight sets, I had a blast watching her compete against Alexis Gordon. If you don’t know Alexis, think nationally ranked #1 NCAA D1 player in 2004 and a perennial top 15.

dscf3874.jpgAlexis played an amazing match against Ana with blistering lefty forehands that painted the lines and a consistent 115 mph serve.

I was particularly impressed with Alexis’ ability to bring her best game to the final. She played by far her best tennis against Ana.

Though Ana lost in straight sets and only won 3 games total, I counted over 20 deuces and felt Ana improved from the experience…

…especially considering Alexis has had literally thousands of high level tennis matches to Ana’s dozens… and the 8 year age difference.

Ana’s ICTA Pro Team co-captain, Melody Snelen, drove Ana to the event.dscf3883.jpg

They both stayed with a friend, who we’ll call Nancy, who is arguably one of the best tennis agents in America.

Nancy has over 20 years of experience working for IMG with some of the most famous WTA and ATP players in the world.

It is so great for Ana to have a friend and mentor like Melody. And it is so great for Melody to have a friend like Nancy who loves her and believes in her ministry.

The whole experience in Sarasota is a great warm up for the outreach and matches to come in Africa.  I had a great time in Sarasota and can’t wait for the flight to Nigeria!

I’m excited God is using me to mentor and disciple such great people as are on our pro tennis team. I realize this is such a privilege and cherish this season of my life.

Just thinking about God growing my big ICTA dream he placed in my heart nearly 10 years ago leaves me humbled and in awe. Now, ICTA is traveling to Africa on an outreach to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Wow. I’m beyond excited to meet as many players and coaches as possible.

I look forward to giving them Christian gifts and offering for them to join the International Christian Tennis Association membership.

dscf3859.jpgPlus, I so look forward to seeing what God has in store for His will in Nigeria. Please keep our missions outreach in your prayers.

The 5 member ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team is such a rare group of missionaries.

They love Jesus and yearn to reach the players on the WTA tour with His love and grace.

I’m fortunate to be their coach and grateful to be their friend.

Our little team is going to Africa… awesome!

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

January 1, 2008

X-Treme New Year!

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Fellowship, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, International Tennis Ministry, melody snelen, rachel snelen, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Athletes in Action, WTA Tennis at 2:25 pm by Scott Paschal

dscf3390.jpgFor the last couple of years I have been so blessed and feel so grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate the new year in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at the X-treme Winter Conference.

(Pic of Ergun Caner on stage)

An X-treme Conference is something I wish all teens worldwide could experience at least once.

Gatlinburg is a beautiful mountain resort town. Right down the road is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Basically, both places together combine to make a “Grand Slam” doubles team.

dscf3460.jpgThere is so much to do in this area… Skiing, Amusement Parks, Aquariums, Shows, Outlet Shopping, and more….

(Pic of ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team celebrating New Year!)

This time of year 100,000 teens invade Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge with their church groups from all over the region to attend different Christian conferences and spend time with friends.

X-treme Conference for me has been fantastic….

Last night, I sat in the 3rd row with Anastasia and my Indonesian student while Chris Tomlin captured the audience for Christ with amazing worship. He is a blast to watch on stage!dscf3436.jpg

X-treme Conferences are typically a few days long, depending on which one you choose.

(Anastasia Kharchenko posing for a pic)

There are generally 2 session per day, morning and evening. Each session brings among the best Christian Gospel communicators in America, along with a wide assortment of fantastic Christian worship artists.

This year’s Christian bands included Toby Mac, Newsong, Unhindered, DJ Maj, Skillet, Britt Nicole, Sanctus Real, and Chris Tomlin.

Ergin Caner, David Nasser, Johnny Hunt, and Tony Nolan captured the hearts of the youth and the youth leaders with thought provoking messages.

dscf3450.jpgA highlight for me was witnessing hundreds and hundreds of kids come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

(Pic of Rachel Snelen, Anastasia Kharchenko, and Melody Snelen)

I realize people from well over 100 countries will read this, and 99% of you have never, ever attended a Christian event like X-treme Conferences.

I hope some day you can, though I realize most conferences stay in America which does make it difficult.

I do know Passion Conferences, which are generally for college age, are going global in 2008. Check out www.268generation.com.

Inspirational speakers, fantastic bands, awesome mountain resort town, good friends… I’ve had such a great time

Rachel and Melody Snelen, who co-captain the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team, and Anastasia Kharchenko, a teammate, have been working a friend’sdscf3392.jpg merchandise booth here at X-treme Conference again this year and have had a blast, as well.

(Pic of Rachel Snelen and Anastasia Kharchenko working at the DNO table.

Rach and Mel, have a terrific ministry to the ITF pro tour reaching WTA players, world class juniors, and more.

We’re all packing up to leave tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the drive. I love road trips, especially through mountains!

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank each of you who have written me for Christmas and New Year.

In my Christmas newsletter, I mentioned I was hangin’ with the dog as everybody had gone for the holidays. Upon reading that, you guys immediately flooded my email with love from you!dscf3514.jpg

I also mentioned to send in prayer requests. Thank you so much for those of you who responded. I know this time of year can be difficult. Your entrusting me with your prayer needs really meant the world.

I know that I don’t have the answers, but, together, we can prop each other up and use all situations to glorify Him.

Please send me some stories of what you did for the holidays.

God bless each of you.

Happy New Year!

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 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


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