April 6, 2010

Christiantennis.net Egyptian Pro Tennis & Missions Tour

Posted in Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ChristianTennis Israel, Faith, Fellowship, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, Leadership, Scott Paschal Tennis, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 7:11 pm by Scott Paschal

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Anastasia and Hiro, two members of ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team, have been able to email me a few pics, even though the internet is unbelievably slow in Ain Elsokhna-Suiz, Egypt…and I’ve made a little slideshow for you guys!

(I have been blessed to coach Ana (Ukraine) for 3.5+ years and Hiro (Venezuela) 2.5+ years full time here w/ International Christian Tennis Association in Florida.)

I’ve added a few captions to some of the slideshow pictures for you. Also, fyi, know the pictures appeared in a random order. As this is the first time I’ve used this new slideshow feature, I don’t know how to make them appear in the order I’d like them to…but, looks ok anyway! 🙂

After 8 days, the girls are getting pretty physically and mentally worn out…

Aside from adjusting to a 20+ hrs journey (after helping ICTA Outreach at 2010 Sony Ericsson Open for a week!), a new time zone, a new country’s customs, red clay tennis courts, oppression of women nationwide,  and a complete lack of Christians… there is also much smoke in the air (burning trash?), sand gets everywhere (nose, eyes, mouth), and the mosquitoes are out of control.

Anastasia has been sick for 3 days/nights now. Melody has had much difficulty sleeping due to the difficult conditions, and has pain in her shoulder. Hiro seems to be ok, for now, though.

Please keep the girls health and safety in your prayers.

This Russian teen is meeting Jesus in Egypt!

Though it has been difficult for them, the ministry work has been really excellent.

I’ve received their many email updates, and I couldn’t be happier or more excited about the effectiveness of their outreach.

Most of you reading this really have little idea how difficult a trip like this can be even if simply traveling as a tourist.

If  traveling as a pro tennis player with all the burdens and responsibilities to compete and win and improve…it is very, very difficult.

Add to this a calling to help others as a Christian missionary…in a land where you are not welcome at all…and the difficulties/burdens/duties/responsibilities multiply to the point only a few, select individuals can handle it.

God is doing a great work in Muslim dominated Ain Elsokhna-Suiz, Egypt through the willing hearts of Hiro, Melody, and Anastasia.

These are three very, very rare people….

Thanks for your prayers and support,

Coach Scotty

March 29, 2009

Coach Scott Paschal Raising Some Heaven With Christiantennis.net In Miami, Florida!

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:16 pm by Scott Paschal

Roger Federer signed ICTA God is Good Baseball for ICTA Women's Pro Tennis Team Fundraiser

Roger Federer signed newly designed and embroidered ICTA God is Good Baseball Cap for ICTA Women's Pro Tennis Team Fundraiser

Women's Draw and Stadium

Women's Draw and Stadium

ICTA President, Scott Paschal, introducing ICTA Global Outreach to tennis fans.

ICTA President, Scott Paschal, introducing ICTA Global Outreach to tennis fans.

ICTA Global Outreach has a fantastic location near the Grandstand, Beach Tennis, Fila Touring Camps, and Royal Caribbean Cruises!

ICTA Global Outreach has a fantastic location near the Grandstand, Beach Tennis, Fila Touring Camps, and Royal Caribbean Cruises!

Tennis fans worldwide have joined ICTA Membership.  Christian books are travelling worldwide!  A body of believers is gathering!

Tennis fans worldwide have joined ICTA Membership. Christian books are travelling worldwide! A body of believers is gathering!

Melody Snelen, ICTA Women's Pro Tennis Team member, giving away ICTA God is Good fans.  These fans have John 3:16 on the back and information on ICTA's Travel Tour packages to 2009 US OPEN!

Melody Snelen, ICTA Women's Pro Tennis Team member, giving away ICTA God is Good fans. These fans have John 3:16 on the back and information on ICTA's Travel Tour packages to 2009 US OPEN!

View from inside ICTA Outreach booth as people excitedly join ICTA Global Membership

View from inside ICTA Outreach booth as people excitedly join ICTA Global Membership


ICTA Full Time Academy Student, Mark (from Mexico), setting up ICTA Global Outreach booth.

ICTA Full Time Academy Student, Mark (from Mexico), setting up ICTA Global Outreach booth.

Stadium

Stadium

March 27, 2009

Scott Paschal and International Christian Tennis Association @ Sony Ericsson Open

Posted in Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Discipleship, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Fellowship, ICTA, Sports Ministry, Tennis Devotionals, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:38 pm by Scott Paschal

ICTA Founder, Scott Paschal, with new ICTA members!

ICTA Founder, Scott Paschal, with new ICTA members!

I’m having a great time here at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.

ICTA Global Missions is hosting a large-scale outreach offering free Christian materials to over 300,000 tennis fans.

These two ladies with me in this picture are new ICTA members… and I had a great time with them yesterday, and again this morning as they came by ICTA’s booth on their way to watch a match in the Grandstand.

In our outreach booth we offer free Bibles and Christian books. ICTA also offers a free membership to anyone who would like to join.

Our membership has grown by about 150 people the first couple of days.  Engineers, tennis pros, teachers, writers, financial investors, dentists, students and much, much more…  a lot interesting people.

I’m having a really nice time meeting them.

Will send more updates as time allows.  I have internet access here at our booth, but little time to write so far.

Thanks for your prayers as International Christian Tennis Association brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world’s 5th largest pro tennis tournament.

God bless!

Coach Scotty

ballboy4jesus@yahoo.com/386 793 0557/www.christiantennis.net

June 10, 2008

2008 Fall ICTA Tennis Tour Dates: ICTA Women’s Christian Pro Tennis Team

Posted in Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Faith, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, WTA Tennis tagged , , at 11:21 pm by Scott Paschal

God is using our International Christian Tennis Association Women’s Pro Tennis Team is such special ways, and in so many places worldwide! (click pic up to two times to make the pic really large!)

This wonderful, Christ-centered team of professional athletes was once just a dream of mine! Now, wowww… it’s a reality! God is so good!

Fall 2008 ICTA Pro Team Outreaches… Reaching…

  • 5 Continents
  • 6 Countries
  • 10 Cities
  • 11 Pro Tournaments
  • 80+ Days on Tour
  • 275+ Main Draw WTA Players
  • 350+ Pro Tournament Qualifier Players

For people who enjoy following our International Christian Tennis Association Women’s Pro Tennis Team, and for players looking for updates for the 2008 Fall Tour, here is an update….

Our tentative Fall 2008 Tour schedule is available now. The dates/countries are subject to change, but this is a pretty good guide for what’s to come.

The International Tennis Federation, ITF, has not posted details past Sept. about which cities will host the tournaments. At this time, only the countries are known, though we do have an indicator of the potential cities from the 2007 ITF tournament schedule.

Hotel, airfare, and transportation costs, and which churches and/or ICTA members we partner with for possible host housing will all be factored in to help us determine the finalized dates and locations.

If you are a female pro player (or junior capable of competing at the ITF $10,000-$75,000 level) who wants to be on a team, contact me as soon as possible.

You have to apply and be accepted (takes time), you have to pay base training and travel fees (takes time), you have to sign paperwork and release forms (takes time).

If you want to travel simply as a hitting partner or a support team member, you still must follow the exact same guidelines as everyone else. So contact me at least 4 weeks before a tour date, 6-8 weeks is best.

That said, get your paperwork in early :)!

God bless, Coach Scotty

386 793 0557/ballboy4Jesus@yahoo.com

Argentina:

  • Aug 25- Sept 1 City TBA
  • Sept 1- Sept 7 City TBA

Ukraine (Not a tournament, just hanging out at Anastasia’s house)

  • Sept 10- Sept 20 Kiev

Greece

  • Sept 22-Sept 29 City TBA
  • Sept 30- Oct 6 City TBA

USA

  • Oct 7-10 City TBA

Nigeria

  • Oct 12-19 Lagos
  • Oct 20-27 Lagos

USA

  • Nov 3-Nov 9 City TBA
  • Nov 10- Nov 17 City TBA

Pakistan (cancelled: replaced by Argentina and Ecuador!)

  • Nov 20- December 7 City Argentina
  • Dec 8- Dec 18 City Ecuador

Fall 2007-Spring 2008 ICTA Women’s Pro Team Outreaches… Reaching…

France-Israel-Nigeria-USA-Mexico-Canada (click pic!)

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

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 31, 2008

The Lost Art of Discipleship: A Christian Tennis Missionary Stands Up Old School

Posted in ATP Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, christian tennis sport psychology, Coaching Articles, Cults, Faith, Florida Tennis, ICTA, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, International Tennis Ministry, Junior Tennis, Leadership, Parent Coach Relationship, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Teamwork, Tennis Athletes in Action, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Instruction, Tennis Ministry, Tennis Missionary, Tennis Missionary Training Class, Tennis Week, Tennis Week Magazine, USPTA, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , at 1:46 pm by Scott Paschal

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ICTA Founder, Scott Paschal, and his "adopted" daughter from Ukraine, Ana! Scott is Ana's legal guardian.

I’m pretty convinced discipling is a lost art in Christianity.

Discipling, real discipling, takes commitment from both the student and the teacher. And commitment in today’s buffet of quick fix lifestyles is rare.

Most of you who know me also know I’m pretty old school. But, that’s old school in my work ethic and commitment, not necessarily in my teaching styles.

It’s old school in that when I became a follower of Jesus, I read the Bible and worked to do what it said.

As I grew in my faith, I remember finding the Great Commission where Jesus commanded his followers to… “go and make disciples of all nations… and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you….”

I began changing inside. My purpose in this world was brought into clarity. One of my first reactions was to question why not one church I had ever attended had mentioned the Great Commission.

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Ana reached #1 G18 Ukraine and #5 G16 Europe. She has earned a WTA ranking and competes worldwide on the ITF Pro Circuit.

The Great Commission of Christ is at the end of the 28th chapter in Mathew’s letter for those of you clueless, of which, after nearly 10 years as a front line missionary, I believe are most, as was I.

As I read it, Jesus didn’t ask, he commanded.

Many people in the world today don’t like that. They most likely don’t want to be commanded, nor do they much appreciate me pointing out their lack. Jesus to many is usually some mix of religions, ideas, and Bible verses which, when combined, makes a person feel good. Their life revolves around them, they do what makes sense to them, and they cannot be commanded.

I understand. I really do. There is a big question of “What is truth?” in the world, today.

Let me give you an illustration of the confusion faced by today’s youth (and adults!) living in a postmodern world. Let’s say you are trapped and injured in a burning building. Smoke is everywhere. A fireman busts into the room! He see you are trapped under a heavy board, sees your leg is injured, and tells you he is going to save you. What is your normal reaction to this? Probably relief, right!? Sure. That is what my generation would say.

But, let me add to the scenario. Let’s say that as the fireman begins to walk over to you, another fireman rushes into the room. He tells the first fireman to stop! Then, he looks directly into your eyes and warns you that the first fireman is actually the arsonist who started the fire! Instantly, the first fireman points directly at the second fireman and says, “No, don’t listen to him! He’s lying! He’s the arsonist, not me!”

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Winning a Florida jr tournament.

This is the delima, as I see it, that today’s generation of kids are facing.

They don’t know truth.

And the adults around them don’t know how to reach them with truth.

I think God has given us the answer, very clearly!, to truly reaching this lost and confused generation.

I recently spoke to several friends of mine who are in Christian ministry, heavily, about an important subject. I’d like to share one conversation with you which pretty much reflects the direction of the other conversations.

A friend and I were talking one evening and I told him the main problem in Christianity, as I see it from the view God gave me, is people really don’t understand the Great Commission. He listened politely and intently.

Before I spoke further, I asked him if he knew about the Great Commission. He said sure. I then asked him to tell me where it was in the Bible. He said he knew it was in Mathew, but wasn’t sure exactly where. I asked him if he could quote the verse to me. He couldn’t.

Since he couldn’t tell me where it was and he couldn’t quote it, I asked him what he thought the whole thing meant… in a nutshell. He explained it basically meant to go “win souls”…. I then asked him what the word “disciple” meant. He explained it basically meant a Christian. I asked him about what he thought “to disciple” meant. He replied he believed it meant to go win souls, basically make people Christians.

I hear explanations like his a lot from Christians who are not full time missionaries….

I listened politely to his answers on the topic, as I had many times before to many different people, then I felt God calling me to teach… so I did. It’s important for Christianity’s front-line missionaries to reach out to our Christian leaders and guide them into having a strong understanding of the Great Commission.

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Ana's life has radically changed since she became a Christian here at ICTA.

It’s important to teach you, too.

As you can obviously see, I’m not much of a writer, so lean in and hang in there with me while I try to hit the right keys on the keyboard so this makes some sense….

In his Great Commission, Jesus didn’t command his followers to go make Christians.

He said go and make disciples. There is a huge difference between the two in terms of obedience, expectations, pressure, preparation, and ultimately, a successful outcome.

The Greek form of the word “discipulus” means pupil. Pupil, as in student. You can also chew on “discipere,” which means to grasp intellectually, analyze thoroughly.

Jesus is saying… “Go and make students….” He is saying to go invest your life’s knowledge of him in others.

Jesus then goes on to say, “… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” It takes time to teach someone how to obey everything Jesus commanded. Oftentimes, it takes more than passing out a Gospel tract or going on a prayer walk, both of which are vital to seed planting, but not so good when it comes to the real need at hand as pertaining to discipling. True discipling, or teaching, takes time and commitment, which most have spent the vast majority of their lives avoiding.chris-ana-015.jpg

As a follower of Christ, I know I can’t make anyone a Christian.

What I can do is to teach about Jesus. That is where the missionary part comes in. I teach, the Holy Spirit leads them to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

A person following the Great Commission shouldn’t set out on their journey thinking they are going to “win souls” and “make Christians.” You can’t.

If you believe you can, you are quite possibly falling into the lie Satan believed and taught. That is, you can be God. Your mission trip, though filled with hope and expectations, will most likely fall apart, and lots of people on your missions’ team will become angry with each other. Generally, few you meet during your outreach will come to know Christ, and few, whether they accept Christ or not, will become disciples of Christ’s work.

Yes, I said “whether they accept Christ or not, will become disciples.” You do not have to accept Christ to be a disciple or pupil of his life’s work. The hope and prayer is that through teaching pupils, they come to an acceptance. But, that, in all ways, has nothing to do with you, except that you are teaching.

chris-ana-002.jpgThe part my friend mentioned about “winning souls” and “making Christians” is a pretty common theme here in America. It kind of resonates with our competitive culture….

To many Christians, going on a mission trip is like attending a NCAA football game! It’s about winning.

Church people, especially the Baptists down south (of which I am one), love their sports… NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, NCAA… and they love competition. Winning and competing is a culture. But, does that competitive “winning souls” singular focus enhance or take away from missions? My experience with church people on missions is that it takes away.

Mission trips are seen as a football game, not training camp. Church missionaries are often like the “weekend warrior” who blows out his knee playing tackle football with friends, though he does no athletic training in preparation during the week…

Churches and mission leaders often keep a scoreboard of just how many points they’ve scored as they busily try to rack up souls during their big 1 or 2 week long game.

But, is this what Jesus meant in his Great Commission. I submit that it is not.

Though often well intentioned, the focus of church people towards missions is often misplaced. Successful missions outreach, in my experience, is not about “winning souls,” but I will say it can be about competition.chris-ana-012.jpg

That is, competition within oneself and with a team in preparation for excellence. Competition isn’t negative! In fact, properly channeled and purposefully planned competition can be seen as a necessity.

As a coach, I see strategies… strengths and weaknesses. As a follower of Christ, I see the same.

This Sunday, the NFL’s Super Bowl is being played! Coaches have planned, trained, and strategized every day for a year, or years, to get to this point.

chris-ana-001.jpgWhat I would give to see churches and pastors train for missions with such intensity and passion as is accomplished by the coaches and players of professional sports!

Pastors can be seen as the coaches, congregation and missions teams as the players, church support staff as the trainers….

All with an intent to share Christ and to make Satan seen as the opponent on a daily basis!

With strategies and tactics being devised and implemented daily, weekly, yearly by the church within their congregation until every Christian dripped with knowledge, and missions became like breathing the air at the summit of achieving the victory deemed impossible.

If I were coaching Team Satan, I’d spend my time and resources manipulating Christians into not offending others, and I’d force Christians into the closet. I’d make sin cool, I’d constantly split churches, I’d batter the confidence of pastors.

I would know the best way to extend my team’s time in the game would be to slow or stop the spreading of the Great Commission.chris-ana-008.jpg

If I were the coach of Team Jesus, I’d focus on instilling knowledge in my players about the facts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The entire team would learn about every known tactic Team Satan uses to win.

Our playbook, the Bible, would be proven valid beyond doubt and be studied constantly. Spiritual amour would be a lifestyle. Then, we would hone our skills in practice games locally in preparation for reaching the world.

If the focus in missions is on “winning” souls and “making Christians,” I fully believe we will find our efforts continuing to be relatively useless.

The church must get past looking at the Great Commission as a win or lose proposition. Yes, prepare like a champion. Yes, work fervently with amazing passion and excitement, as you truly are working for the God of the universe which, to me, is the definition of joy.

Yet, keep site of the fact that all pro sports teams practice much more than they ever play. Preparation is a main determining factor in success or failure. Missions is not about winning and losing. Missions is about obedience to following Christ’s command as laid out in Mathew 28.

chris-ana-005.jpgIn addition to attending a mission trip, possibly consider creating a mission life!

Jesus to me is clear… he tells us to go out and teach others about him. The coach in me, the missionary in me, and the ministry founder in me clearly understands the need for high quality preparation and a dedication for excellence.

My hope is that the ICTABLOG becomes a beacon for education and change.

Our ICTABLOG readers are like a whose who list… pastors and ministry founders; pro players, tennis coaches, and juniors; tennis industry executives from nearly every tennis clothing and racket company in the world; television and magazine founders and employees; employees from every section of the United States Tennis Association; ICTA members from over 1800 cities in over 60 countries including political leaders, industry executives, military leaders…

… you folks are literally the movers and shakers of the world. Your spheres of influence are large. If you choose to purposefully follow the Great Commission, either by discipling someone near you daily, or by attending a mission trip to a foreign country, or by founding a ministry… if you all discover the lost art of discipleship, the world will change.

Discipling others takes time and commitment. Most in today’s postmodern culture are afraid of both.chris-ana-006.jpg

Not me. I’m old school. I’ve got time because my time is Jesus’ time. My life is his. I took Galations 2:20 seriously.

When Jesus gave me my house and told me to keep the door open for the missionaries and travelers he sends my way, I make sure the door is open. My life is not my own.

All I have in this world is testimony to the fact I have nothing. My health, my ministry, my reputation… are not mine, but his to do with as he needs for his will to be done through my vapor life on earth.

I’m called to build and to disciple. This has included investing my life, my home, my money, of which I own none but am simply a manager of, towards investment in helping those God sends.

The joys and sorrows of investing in people brings the highest highs and the lowest lows. The Judases ordained by God to be in inner circles are very real, as are the Peters and Jameses. Discipling brings satanic attacks and miracles from heaven.

Yet, through it all, God gets the glory and I build up treasure in heaven whilechris-ana-007.jpg learning to walk in obedience and faith.

Personally, I feel incredibly grateful God sent people from 14 countries and 15 US states to the discipleship focused ministry I founded, International Christian Tennis Association, full time for me to invest in.

God has sent me on mission outreaches nationwide reaching over 1,000,000 in attendance at pro tennis events, and allowed me to preach internationally. And God created a missions team comprised of pro tennis players with a heart to reach and teach others about Jesus, the Savior of mankind.

God has brought me friends, and enemies, both of which have been specifically commissioned by him to grow and develop me past my every dream and expectation.

My prayer to you is that today God would begin a great work in you to open your life to discovering the lost art of discipleship.

That pastors will find even greater passion towards missions, such as NFL football coaches have towards competing in the chris-ana-017.jpgSuper Bowl, yet for a reason so much greater. That Christians realize they don’t need to win, but to simply share.

Today’s world needs a strong focused Christianity able to train the world in all that is Jesus.

Today’s postmodern generation of youth needs a big dose of Old School to pick ’em up and carry them towards Jesus.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

Mathew 28: 16-21

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

January 27, 2008

How To Become a Christian…

Posted in Bahamas Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, christian tennis sport psychology, Coaching Articles, Cult Buster, Cults, Demon Possessed, Faith, Hope, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, International Tennis Ministry, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Ministry, Uncategorized, USPTA, USTA, WTA Tennis tagged , , , at 11:40 am by Scott Paschal

When Denise Met Jesus

by Scott Paschal, ICTA Founder

Wow, I really don’t know where to begin.

I’m so excited as I type this!

A native Bahamian lady approached me on the beach to sell me a t-shirt… and she left a Christian.

How wonderful to be used by God; to have Him work through me at such a random time to bring her to a new life in Christ.

I have the best feeling in the world inside of me. I even gave her my favorite Bible. Awesome!

If you have a couple of minutes, grab a coke or something and get comfortable.

I’ll back up a bit and explain how all this happened…

A few weeks ago, I was invited by John Ippolitto, my friend and the owner of Sports Group International, to assist in running a top I.C. U16 junior team tournament being held at an “All Inclusive” top of the line resort in the Bahamas. Team USA, Team Canada, Team Bahamas, and Team Mexico played their hearts out in this action packed adventure in team competition.

As I was given a week free for myself and a couple of guests at this amazing vacation destination resort, I invited two of my fulltime Christian tennis academy students, Marek Czerwinski and Joe.  Marek is #1 B18 USTA.  

Since we were going to be there for a week and would have plenty of down time after matches, ICTA decided turn this into a mission trip to reach the locals in Nassau.

Marek Czerwinski and Joe Beck, two of my academy students, came with me. Though Joe could only stay a few days due to prior commitments. Marek hit with the teams, and Joe assisted me in my daily responsibilities.

One day, while I was sitting on the beautiful beach writing an article, a native lady approached. As she asked me if I would like to buy a t-shirt, I felt compelled to share my faith. I politely declined to make a purchase, then I looked directly at her and told her I needed to ask her a very serious question. She stopped and waited.

I then asked her if she was a Christian, if she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She said no, but that lately she had been attending church and reading the New Testament Bible.

I asked her if she believed in God. She said yes. Since she believed in God, I asked her if she believed the Old Testament was true. She said yes, and then she sat down on the white beach sand next to my chair. I seemed to have caught her interest. The weather was beautiful. Sunny, 80 degrees, light wind coming in from a crystal clear blue ocean. Her name was Denise and she was wearing a red hat and a red shirt. Denise carried a pleasant smile and a caring, patient attitude.

As Denise believed in the validity Old Testament, I then explained to her how the Old Testament was filled with prophesies of the coming Messiah. I decided to follow in Paul’s footsteps to help open Denise’s eyes…

I asked Denise if she chose the city where she was born? She smiled and said no. I asked her if , before she was born, she chose her family? She smiled again and said no. I asked her if it would be a miracle if, before they were born, someone could choose the city in which they would be born ,and also choose the family where they would come from? She said yes and laughed!

I then told Denise that God used his prophets to announce where the Messiah would be born, the exact city, in fact, and which family line He would come from. She nodded quietly. I then told her that I have located not just one or two, but 425 “Old Testament” prophesies which have come true in the life of Christ!

We slowly went through about a dozen of them. Denise’s eyes watered up under her dark sunglasses. I went on to further explain that the odds of just 48 prophesies coming true in the life of one man isn’t just 1 in 10 or even 1 in 100. The odds of just 48 prophesies coming true in the life of one man is 1 in 10 to the 157 power.

She couldn’t comprehend that so I explained…

“Imagine red poker chips side by side covering every inch of this beach. Then, covering every inch of this island. Now visualize every inch of land in America, Russia, and China covered with these red poker chips. Now picture all the land in the entire world blanketed with red poker chips laying side by side. Every bit of land everywhere on earth is covered with red poker chips.” She pictured this and smiled curiously.

“Now,” I resumed, “on the back of one of these red chips is a fat, white stripe. This uniquely marked poker chip has been placed somewhere in the world with the white stripe down. And there is only on chip like it!”

Denise nodded.

“Now Denise, I’m going to give you just one chance to find that marked poker chip. You get just one chance. You can go anywhere in the world to try to find this poker chip, but remember, you only get one chance and you can only choose one chip.”

Denise smiled and said she could never find he poker chip with the white stripe. She said it would be impossible to find it with one try on his beach, much less the whole world!

I laughed and said, ” Well Denise, those are the same odds of someone’s life fulfilling just 48 prophesies! The life of Christ fulfilled over 400!” After I said this I looked around and noticed a small crowd gathering in the chairs around us. They were politely listening.

Denise became very quiet. Her eyes were fixed on mine. She wiped away a tear.

I then asked her if maybe God was trying to reach her today? She said yes. As she believed in God I decided to go a step further. Like Paul, I had established the legitimacy of Christ as the Messiah by his fulfillment of the prophesies.

Now, like Jesus, I wanted to use God’s laws to open Denise’s heart to understanding the need for Christ. This way of ministry I learned from a terrific preacher named Ray Comfort.

I asked Denise if she feels she is a good person. She said yes. I asked her if I could ask her a few questions so we could see if this was true. She agreed.

I asked Denise if she had ever told a lie, no matter how small or how long ago. She said yes. I said me, too. I asked her what that makes her? She said a liar. I asked her if she had ever stolen anything? She said yes. I asked her what does that make her? She said a thief.

I asked Denise if she had ever used God’s name as a cuss word. She said yes. I told her that was blasphemy and it was very serious. Lastly, I explained to Denise that the 7th Commandment of God is to not commit adultery, but Jesus took this a step further and said that if we even look with lust we have committed adultery in our hearts. I asked Denise if she had ever looked with lust, even just once. She said yes.

I told Denise that by her own admission she was a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart.

I asked Denise that when she stands before God on her judgment day, would she be found innocent or guilty. She quietly said guilty, as tears streamed down her face onto the fluffy, beach sand. I asked her if she would go to heaven or hell.

She whispered, “Hell.”

Her eyes never moved from mine. I said, “Denise, do you really want to go to hell?” She said no.

I asked her if she knew what to do to be able to go to heaven. She said no. I then explained how Jesus paid the fine for her sins… breaking the ten commandments. That through the death and resurrection of Jesus, her sins could be forgiven.

I asked Denise if she would like to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She said yes. I asked her to pray. I told Denise she must turn from her sin life, believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to pay the fine for our sins, and He was brought back to life the 3rd day.

This she prayed as she wept.

I asked Denise if she had a Bible. By now a crowd of people had gathered in the chairs around us, most out of curiosity. All were quiet and respectful. Denise said she did have a Bible and she pulled a tiny new testament Bible from her waist pack. It was well worn and about the size of a deck of cards. She stared at her Bible. I told her she needed to read her Bible daily and do what it says.

In my Prince shoulder bag I had bought with me to the beach, I had all my stuff… pencils, paper, books, sunscreen. I also had my favorite Bible. One of my ministry buddies in Alabama owned a Bible I really liked. In fact, I had liked it for a long time and one day I asked him about it. He said he loved it.

It had a soft, squishy, tan leather cover and was a good size to hold easily. His wife sent one to me a week or so later! I was thrilled and I carried this Bible with me everywhere. One day, when I am able to preach, I looked forward to carrying this Bible with me.

Well, I knew my favorite Bible was in my Prince bag as Denise looked at her worn Bible. I reached into my bag and told her I would like her to have my Bible. Though I kind of didn’t want to lose my Bible, I felt God was asking me to give it to Denise. She took it quietly and nodded.

She held it closely against her chest, then she placed it against her face. I saw the leather soak in a tear. I looked around and noticed others had tears in their eyes. At least 30 people had gathered around us. I hadn’t noticed so many. When she first came over it was just me and Denise.

What a wonderful moment in my life. To be used by God in such an unexpected time.

As you read this, please know I am not trying to bring attention to myself. I am not trying to brag or say, “Look at me.” Maybe a few years ago when I was less mature as a Christian, I would have done something stupid like that, but I’ve grown a lot since and I’m working hard to not try to be the center of attention, which, as the baby of the family and a tennis pro, takes some work.

I’m writing about this because I am so excited to see God work at such a random time. And I’m excited because I didn’t shy away from following through on His call.

I am so excited because this doesn’t happen to me very often.

The majority of my time is spent on a tennis court with my students or behind a computer screen building and maintaining what the International Sports Coalition on MSNBC has called “One of the top 100 sports ministries in the world.”

I work 90+ hours a week and seldom have the opportunity to evangelize in person. I coach tennis, I cook for hungry teens, I develop large scale mission trips which reach thousands, I buy and distribute 1000’s of Christian books and Bibles, I train and disciple missionaries… I do many things such as these as I feel I am called to be the support system to help my students evangelize.

Though I love to evangelize and know one day I will be a fulltime preacher, in this season of my life I am called to disciple others and raise the funds to send them into the world to follow the Great Commission.

So as “Mr. Computer” or “Coach Scotty” I seldom am able to have such an awe inspiring opportunity to reach someone for Christ one on one and at such a random time!

On this mission trip to the Bahamas, God opened many doors for ICTA. In fact, Marek and I are still in awe with what happened each day. Both of us watched God work in and through our lives daily to show us He is real and that He is faithful.

I was just sitting on the beach reading my new book by the Newsboys called Shine: Make them wonder what you’ve got; and writing an article for an upcoming newsletter. The weather was perfect, the water crystal clear, the sun was shining., the food at the resort was great… it all seemed so neat. Yet, as nice as it was…

it became so much nicer when Denise met Jesus.

God bless,

Coach Scotty

Editor’s Note: This article was originally written and published in January 2006.

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