USA (MNN) — The National Special Olympic Games draw to a
close today in Lincoln, Nebraska. There, Shepherds Ministries athletes have met
success in several different areas.
This year, Shepherd's Cindy Weitzell said they had three
athletes participating in the games. Daniel Frania and Butch Riley are both on
Wisconsin's basketball team, while Shelia Kates participated in team and
doubles bocce ball.
In addition to these athletes, Weitzell said 35 residents
from the Catalyst program came to cheer on the athletes, as well as Tracy
Lackey and Brooke Compton, Shepherd's staff who coordinated the event.
"We've been the loudest when it comes to cheering our
teams on," said Weitzell
Gordon Hodge, one of the residents, said he has loved his
experience at the games: "It's been a very good experience. It's very
exciting, and there's a lot of familiar places you can go and see. But overall,
it's a different experience for all of us from Wisconsin."
Hodge is not a rookie to the games. In 2006, he accompanied the athletes, cheering Riley on throughout his events. Hodge
also participated in the world games in 2004-2005 in Japan, winning three gold
medals in snow shoe racing.
As the athletes attend the closing ceremony today, they
celebrate their victories at the games. Kates won a gold bocce ball for team
bocce, while Frania and Riley's basketball team made it to the semi-final basketball
But they also met success spiritually. Hodge said, "We've
been a shining testimony for Christ. And all the coaches and all of the other
basketball team members from different teams have come up to us and said we're
a very good testimony to them. So, we're not ashamed."
Also, Weitzell said Riley has witnessed to his teammates and
coach throughout his visit to Lincoln.
Now as the Shepherds olympians take their fond memories of the games back to
Wisconsin with them, pray for their safe travels. Pray also that their words
and actions will resonate in the hearts of those who met them, reflecting Christ.
Visit the Shepherds Web site to learn about their Catalyst
and other programs.