Spiritual preparation for the Special Olympics

By April 23, 2010

USA (MNN) — While the 2010 Winter Olympic Games are long over, residents of Shepherds Ministries are gearing up for their own sports competition.

The 2010 National Special Olympic Games are taking place in Omaha, Nebraska from July 17 to 24.

Daniel Frania, Sheila Kates and Butch Riley are three athletes who all qualified for the national games. To qualify, they first had to perform well at the national and state competitions. Then, their coach Cindy Weitzell nominated them for the national games. The three then were chosen from athletes nominated nationwide.

Both Frania and Kates are first-time competitors this year in their events of basketball and bocce ball, respectively. Riley qualified for softball in the last games, but this year he is playing basketball.

While every athlete hopes to take the gold, these three are following the Shepherds model to be good sports: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

For them, keeping a good attitude is more important than winning because they are also going to the games to represent Christ.

Weitzell said, "I think we're all praying for opportunities. The biggest thing that is going to be the light in Nebraska will be their life and the way they live it, and the attitudes that they have. I have seen great changes in all of them."

In addition to their attitudes being an example, these three and other Shepherds athletes plan to verbally witness to their competition.

Whether they win or lose, Kates said, "I'm praying that everything will work out for God's glory."

Pray for bravery among these athletes and others as they prepare for the games and share Christ's love. Pray that it will not only be a memorable experience, but also a Christ-honoring one.

Check out Shepherds' Web site to learn more about these and other athletes, as well as updates and more prayer requests.

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