April 28, 2008

How to Kick Satanic Tail 101: Scott Paschal’s Rediculously Raw Look @ What Should Be Obvious to Every Christian

Posted in Africa Tennis, Athletes in Action Tennis, ATP Tennis, Benin City Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Christian Tennis Outreach, Cult Buster, Demon Possessed, Faith, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, International Tennis Ministry, Nigeria Tennis, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Serena Williams, Serena Williams Nude, Sex Slave Trade, Sexual Abuse Tennis, Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles, Sports Ministry, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Tennis Missionary Training Class, Uncategorized, Venus Williams Pregnancy Scandal, WTA CEO Larry Scott, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:59 am by Scott Paschal

As a teen, I had a few pretty straightforward questions…

“Why did my Christian parents divorce?”

“Why did my Christian dad commit suicide in my car during the weekend of my 17th birthday?”

“If God is so good, why is my dad dead?”

“Why do Christians talk about how great Heaven is… but no one wants to die!?”

“Why do Church kids treat me like crap?”

As my young life was being pounded, I asked these questions to people at my church.

(pic of me in Benin City, Nigeria w/ friends during ICTA Africa Outreach)

I quickly learned church people had no idea what to say. Mainly, they would give me blank, troubled, or dirty looks.

I was hurting and needed someone to step up to the plate and go to bat for me. I needed real, authentic answers.

Unfortunately, the people I spoke with had not been educated in spiritual warfare or the defense of Christianity in any substantial way, thus were at a loss to know how to guide me.

I was a lost, confused, hurting kid doing what he could to find answers… I didn’t turn to drugs, sex, alcohol… I turned to the church, and I was terribly let down.

I thought the church could help me uncover the answers, instead the church helped me uncover its own lack….

Can I say something raw here?

Do you, personally, have any idea why you are Christian?

I mean, do you have any real facts about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, or; are you simply a “believer” because your parents, friends, or pastor basically led you down that road without giving you the opportunity to question anything?

If that was the case, what if your parents had taught you to howl to a full moon and drink gopher blood to celebrate the birth of the Goomba god?  See my point here, right?

If you are a follower of Christ, thank God! I am so glad and thankful.

But, honestly, just being a “follower” isn’t enough, and it’s not getting the job of advancing His Kingdom done.  You’re in the middle of a spiritual war…

By knowing Jesus, you will understand the spiritual battle you are in, whether you currently see it or not.

And that is what this blog is all about… learning powerful aspects of how Jesus teaches us to advance His Kingdom on earth.

Most of you who know me have a clear understanding that I tend to wear my thoughts and emotions on my sleeve.

Much as it was easy to read Andre Agassi’s emotions as he played tennis, so it is with me in ministry….

In 20+ years as a tennis coach and nearly 10 years as the founder of a sports ministry, I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff, really bad stuff.

Basically, I’ve seen Satan running unchecked in tennis worldwide, and, as I began preaching and speaking to churches and groups, I’ve seen Satan masterfully taking control of the church as well.

That said, this fool, without a formal seminary education, or really any formal ministry schooling at all, is going Martin Luther on some satanic “Christian habits” which are trying to keep your eyes shut, ears closed, and hearts cold.

With the tenacity of Nadal, the raw honesty of Agassi, and the serve of Sampras, I hope to wake and shake up those people God places in my path. If you don’t like what I’m writing and teaching, honestly, I don’t care. I’m not doing this for your approval. And, honestly, you might be part of the problem….

The following is a summary of what I’m going to try to explain in How to Kick Satanic Tail 101. The full scoop will be laid out in its entirety over at ICTADevo2008 , when I’m finished writing The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles.

For now, tell your friends that I’m beyond sick and tired of Christians who have no idea, first of all, of why they are even Christian; second of all, they aren’t being taught squat about how to not get blown to bits in the spiritual war; and thirdly, refuse to take their heads out of the trendy “Christian sand” in fear of offending someone heading straight to hell.

Below is the outline I’ve created to help get those interested in advancing His Kingdom and being successful in the Spiritual War better prepared to follow the Great Commission as written by Mathew in chapter 28.

How to Kick Satanic Tail 101:

The Nature of the War

Two Opposing Kingdoms

Satan’s Headquarters

Battle of Angels

The Weapons and the Battlefield

The Basis of Our Victory

Our Defensive Armour

The Full Armour of God

The Girdle of Truth

The Breastplate of Righteousness

The Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel

The Shield of Faith

The Helmet of Salvation

The Sword of the Spirit

The Unprotected Area

Weapons of Attack

Taking the Offensive

The Weapon of Prayer

The Weapon of Praise

The Weapon of Preaching

The Weapon of Testimony

Preparing for the Battle

The Leader

The Passion

The Strategy and Tactics

The Plan

The Wounded

War Zone

Clarity

Purpose

Focus and Intensity

Defections

Injury & Death

MASH Units

Victory & Defeat

My hope is someone somewhere will benefit from my efforts to bring this outline to life.  The longer I’m in ministry, the more I see the vast need to equip Christians to understand spiritual warfare, or what I tend to call it… the Battle of the Great Commission.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

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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 20, 2008

Pain on the Journey to WTA Tennis Fame?

Posted in Africa Tennis, Athletes in Action Tennis, ATP Tennis, Benin City Tennis, Billy Graham, Christian Discipleship, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Player, Demon Possessed, Faith, Hope, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, Junior Tennis, Leadership, melody snelen, Nigeria Tennis, scott paschal, Sex Slave Trade, Sexual Abuse Tennis, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Tennis Missionary, USPTA, USTA, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , at 11:12 pm by Scott Paschal

What do you personally do when you see someone being harmed illegally?

Let’s say you see someone totally defenseless being hurt… maybe a baby in a locked car with the windows up on a hot summer day..dscf3959.jpg. and the car’s engine is off. What would you do? Be honest.

(Anastasia Kharchenko (WTA) and “Lucy.” Harmed by tennis coaches. Both now have voice!)

Would you walk by and pretend you saw nothing? Would you call the police or emergency rescue for help? Would you bash in a window and allow the heat to escape? Be honest.

Most decent people would want to help.

But, what about those people who refuse to help. Sicker still, what about those people who receive some sort of enjoyment from seeing others hurt. And, what if the people who refuse to help or the people who gain enjoyment from the pain of others are in positions of power?

Unfortunately, this type of sickness is happening all over the global tennis industry. I know because over the last nearly decade I’ve compiled a list of graphic abuses forced on under age children in tennis by Satanists, homosexual and heterosexual pedophiles, famous tennis coaches, atheists, tennis academy owners, pro tennis players….

In tennis, there are people who are in difficult situations worldwide. You’ve often heard me speak up about under age kids being harmed.

You’ve heard my opinions and you’ve seen me back up my words with action. Change is happening in tennis… as you can plainly see from my last blog entry about how the WTA is now finally demanding criminal background checks on all WTA player coaches…

… which won’t even come close to fixing everything and isn’t nearly everything I wanted, but it is a start and does send a global message throughout women’s sports….

You’ve seen me screaming from the rooftops and soapboxes in places worldwide. Honestly, though, who gives a rip what I say. I’m obviously a nobody. I’m just one voice in millions of tennis voices. In no way am I THE authority on anything… nor is my opinion greater than yours.

The real question is, what does the Bible say?

What does the Bible teach us about those who are helpless. Has God given us any clues as to how He wants us to protect and preserve the rights of the abused.

Let’s take a look…

” The people who lived there were powerless; they were frightened and shunned. They were like grass in a field or weeds growing on a roof when the hot east wind blasts them.” Isaiah 37:27 (TEV)

nigeria-trip1-031.jpgHow do we recognize the face of a powerless person?

Again, let’s look to the Bible… and notice the guy from Cyrene…

“The soldiers led Jesus away, and as they were going, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, who was coming into the city from the country. They seized him, put the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus.” Luke 23:26 (TEV)

(Melody Snelen being cheered up by local Nigerian youth in Benin City after losing 2 hr match to eventual Finalist, Nowack. All here are faces of the abused. Melody now has voice!)

Back in Jesus’ day, people from Cyrene most likely had black skin, thus were basically considered less than equals to the locals. Notice the guards took Simon because they could see he was not local (of their status)!

1. The powerless are many times considered second class citizens

“… a man from Cyrene who was coming into the city from the country.”

2. The powerless many times have no one to protect them.

“… and they seized him…”

3. The powerless feel they are trapped and have no way of escape.

“…put the cross on him and made him carry it…”

Who are the powerless around us?

“Jesus said, ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to see me.’ ” Mathew 25: 35-36 (MSG)

1. Many children around the world… born and the unborn.

“But if you give these children a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of a lake with a millstone around your neck.” Mathew 18:6 (MSG)

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG)

2. Those discriminated against… by minority, race, social status.

“Don’t look down on me because of my skin color…” Song of Solomon 1:6 (TEV)

“You then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Romans 14:10 (NIV)

3. Those that are trapped due to illness, low income, or abandonment.nigeria-trip1-406.jpg

“Destruction is certain for those who issue unfair laws. They deprive the poor, the widows, and the orphans of justice. Yes, the rob widows and fatherless children!” Isaiah 10:1-2 (NLT)

(Rach and Mel w/ local physically handicapped Nigerians trying to stay alive in 3rd world conditions)

” ‘At that time I will put you on trial. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the aliens living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Malachi 3:5 (NLT)

Bringing hope to the powerless.

“God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” 1 Corinthians 1:27 (NLT)

1. Reaching out to the powerless with compassion.

“You insult your maker when you exploit the powerless; when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.” Proverbs 14:31 (MSG)

nigeria-trip1-011.jpg“When I am with those who are oppressed, I share their oppression so that I might bring them to Christ.” 1 Corinthians 9:22 (NLT)

(Ana w/ Nigerian youth after winning qualifier match for the first of two ITF Pro tournaments she won in Benin City)

2. Speak out for the powerless with conviction.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)

3. Standing up for the powerless with courage.

“Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and to prosecute all those who exploit them.” Psalms 82:4 (MSG)

Truth to stand on…

There is only one person who can truly set people free.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for you and me.” Romans 5:6 (NIV)

The challenge: Will we be willing to respond to those God places before us?

God bless,

Scott Paschal

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.

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(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.

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(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