This is Athletes in Action’s eight year taking a track team to the Canary Islands (archipelago of Spain). The past seven years have been spent developing relationships between athletes of the Islands and of the U.S.
As a track team, our mission is to build spiritual movements through the platform of track and field. This means that as a team, we live and share the gospel in the context of sport. As we do this, we trust God to work in the hearts of the local athletes we meet. Over time, we believe that God will raise up new disciples in the Canary Islands who will also disciple others. Our vision is to see a Christ follower on every athletic club on the islands.
We don’t attempt to reach the islands alone. We partner with another ministry* that mobilizes people from all professions to share Christ worldwide. What our partners have found works best is reaching people of the Canary Islands through sports. Since their methods align with our mission and vision, we’ve teamed up to do ministry together. Eight years ago, we developed this partnership and have been returning every year since.
The Canary Islands is a place where most people do not accept the gospel quickly. Instead, it takes several years of faithful ministry to see new followers of Jesus. In the two years that I (Joel) have traveled there, I didn’t see any new followers of Christ. But we have certainly seen God at work and doors have opened for spiritual conversations. The fruit of the harvest usually comes after the team leaves, when the resident missionaries follow-up with conversations that the team started.
In addition to reaching athletes of the Canary Islands, my staff team and I minister to the athletes who come with us. Each athlete has said “yes” to not just sharing the gospel, but growing in their own understanding of the gospel. We focus on equipping these athletes to grow in relationship with Jesus and to multiply their life into others. It’s one of our goals to equip these athletes to make disciples on their teams, campuses, and for the rest of their lives.
I invite you to follow our blog to stay up to date on how to pray for us during our time in the Canary Islands!
-Joel, Project Co-Director for the team
*name withheld for security reasons