Well I hope I have articulated well enough up to this point how great this past year has been but in my opinion words still make it hard to grasp all that has happened. After growing up in Houston, going to Texas A&M, and then moving to Austin I have had to learn how to communicate life with my community and family separated by cities and sometimes states. It is a hard but beautiful thing to have support and friendships literally scattered across the United States. All that to say there have been a lot of pictures taken, many much needed skype conversations, and countless phone calls to stay connected.
As cheesy as it may be I do believe that pictures are worth a thousand words. So in order to save you from my attempt of explaining 2012 in thousands of words, here are some photos to give you a glimpse of all God has done!
To my financial partners– put simply but honestly- these pictures wouldn’t be a reality without you. Thank you for choosing to bless my life and enhance His kingdom with your finances. It has been life changing to partner with you. Your financial commitment will not return void. In fact, it has already changed lives here in Austin. Thank you.
To my prayer warriors– prayer has truly transformed my walk in this past year. There were countless moments knowing no where else to go but to my knees. The comfort I felt knowing you were there with me is unexplainable. Your prayers have changed lives here in Austin. Thank you.
Enough of my words. Let the pictures of life in 2012 speak for themselves.
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So first where this crazy journey all began…for a little bit more background of what TCS is and how I got there read here. One thing is for sure these four women, pictured below, played a huge role in the past year of my life and in the crazy ways God has been using Total City Sports in Austin.
From left: Lesley Heard (TCS Volleball Club Director), Katie Romeo (TCS 15s Coach), me! (TCS 16s Coach), Geanine Gregory (TCS 16s Coach), and Aubrey West (TCS 15s Coach)
In a nutshell this crazy far fetched idea of creating an affordable volleyball club for girls in East Austin was talked about and dreamed about among this group. Lesley Heard had been working with TCS previously and spearheaded the vision for TCS Volleyball Club to become a reality. A few weeks later on a Sunday afternoon in October we held a tryout… and believe it or not girls showed up. This was the first of many ways God provided for TCS and confirmed the mission we were on. These ladies were the beginning of that and we have learned more than we ever imagined walking through this mission together. I wouldn’t change the great and hard moments for anything. Read more here!
These are my girls! The TCS 16s team.
December 2011-May 2012: TCS Volleyball Club Season
Here is just a little glimpse of what was accomplished in the inaugural 2011-2012 season of TCS Volleyball Club:
- 25 Players from Central & East Austin attended tryouts in October 2011
- Fielded 2 teams with 20 girls and 5 coaches – TCS 15s & TCS 16s
- Teams included players from Reagan, Lanier, LBJ, Travis and McCallum
- Each team played in 8 tournaments from December 2011 to May 2012
- Finished 3 tournaments with winning records
- TCS 16s advanced from 36th to 4th in the Central TX Power League Tournament Series rankings
- Two players received The Eric Solie Foundation scholarship totaling $455
Total City Sports 2011-2012 Season
It was truly an honor to walk alongside these girls through our first season. It was a night and day difference in their volleyball skills, attitude, and work ethic from our first practice to our end of the year banquet. Seeing a team unify and start turning losses into wins is what any coach would desire, but the mission of TCS goes far beyond just one season.
Bigger than turning a losing season into a winning one…
Better than any stat or ranking…
How 5 coaches all of a sudden had 20 little sisters. This is what made it worth it.
The faces in the picture below is why Total City Sports exists.
Facing life with these girls. Seeing their character and hope change. Getting to share Jesus with them. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
May 2012: TCS Volleyball Banquet
This is Danielle and me at the the TCS Volleyball end of year banquet. Danielle quickly became “Dani” to me and by the end of the season I was calling her my sister. Dani was a middle blocker for the TCS 16s team.
As the coaches called up each player and talked about their character development across the season we saw the faces of their parents light up. For some parents we had never seen them so encouraged as we reflected on their daughter’s personal growth as an athlete and leader.
Dani’s growth on the court as an athlete was substantial over the course of the season as we saw her become a more aggressive and smarter volleyball player. However, the real change for Dani was in her leadership and mental aspect of the game. At the banquet Dani took a moment to thank the coaches and talk about the season. She shared that volleyball had always been an outlet to let out anger and the coaches helped her work through this for the first time. This is just a glimpse of her story but there is so much more to it and so many more like it.
The banquet held a special place in my heart because this night was very similar to banquets I had in high school. But this time the roles were reversed – getting to stand as a coach and affirm these girls in who God had created them to be was an honor for me. Thank you to my coaches and mentors that poured into my life in high school, specifically in moments like this. You helped me see value in the things that mattered and helped me find my identity where it should be found.
TCS Volleyball Club: End of Year Banquet
March 2012: Verge Conference
In the midst of the crazy club volleyball season I got to experience an incredible conference that Austin Stone puts on called Verge. Words can’t describe the motivation I had after hearing from church leaders, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and community development specialists all with one thing in common- pursuing the mission of God for the sake of the gospel. This conference is one of many ways I received crazy development while serving as an intern. Talk about drinking out of a fire hydrant…
Watch this video to get a better glimpse of Verge and maybe even attend Verge 2013!
May 2012: Crossfit Renew
Throughout the spring as club season was in full swing and summer programming was being prepared the Director of Total City Sports and my stud boss Chris Allman (in the red shirt) was working on another project as well. The St. John neighborhood has one of the highest obesity rates in the city of Austin and Chris saw CrossFit as a way to engage the neighborhood and start making a difference Getting to serve under his leadership while seeing this little dream come to life has been incredible. Yet another great example of the staff I have been surrounded by, their heart to take the gospel to the city of Austin, and how God is allowing them to us their giftings to do so. It is awesome.
Read more about CrossFit Renew here!
May 2012: 1st Advisory Board Meeting for Total City Sports
Total City Sports experienced yet another first in the spring as we held our first Advisory Board meeting in the history of Total City Sports. The six members of the board serve as a huge encouragement and an incredible source of wisdom for the mission of TCS today and its future development. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures from this night but getting to discuss the vision of TCS with these men and women was a beautiful reminder of the body of Christ living on mission together as we seek after the restoration of Austin. Such an encouraging and exciting night for Total City Sports!
May 2012-July 2012: Summer Programming- Player Development Program
As I am putting together this timeline I am realizing how 2012 was a serious year of innovation for Total City Sports. Not only did we see the creation of a volleyball club and CrossFit program, but our summer programming underwent a huge face-lift as well.
Total City Sports started in 2009 as a summer sports camp at Reagan High School. Over the past few years minor changes were made to structure of the summer camp but overall TCS remained as a one location, multiple sport, open to the community summer camp. God worked in some big ways those three summers but as the TCS staff started praying for summer 2012 a new direction was placed on our hearts.
Out of that new direction came the TCS Player Development Program (PDP). In Matthew 28 Jesus calls his followers to go out and make disciples. Making disciples is what the Austin Stone and The For The City Network pray is the product of everything we do, whether that is from the sermons preached on Sundays or the community-focused programs like Total City Sports. Our hope was that the design of PDP would do just that. Make disciples.
As we shaped the Player Development Program we decided to start small and offer only volleyball and football for our first summer. One of the big differences in PDP from other summer programs was that TCS sought out students to be a part of our program through recommendations from their coach and teachers. Thus started the grassroots campaign for summer 2012 PDP. Lesley and I spent the month of May visiting almost every middle school and high school in east Austin sharing the vision of TCS Player Development Program. I can’t begin to explain the countless encouraging conversations we had with coaches, athletic directors, and teachers all across AISD that not only shared the same vision as PDP but more importantly expressed a great need for such a program. Hearing this kind of response after months of brainstorming and praying for our summer… to say the Lord was faithful is such an understatement.
The structure of PDP consisted of two practices a week and then a third night completely dedicated to leadership development. This structure offered us a platform to not only build a unique coach and player relationship through sports but also gave us an opportunity to dig deeper as we shared a meal and opened the Word of God with our PDP students. The Lord truly blessed our PDP programs this summer with solid coaches that volunteered their time three nights a week to invest in the lives of these students. The volleyball program lasted eight weeks and had 15-20 girls attend consistently. We saw mentor relationships develop between the coaches and players that have continued beyond the summer and a new depth in conversation reached as we studied the Word of God and applied it to our lives.
The Austin Stone Story Team came out and took some pictures at a PDP practice this summer and ended up writing a story about my journey with TCS. Read the story here!
TCS Player Development Program
August 2012: 1st Annual Total City Sports Golf Tournament
As you can tell so far in the timeline it has been a year of crazy and exciting firsts for TCS. There have been many moments where the TCS team juggled multiple projects but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. To put it best in 2012 we truly got to see God’s blessing fall on TCS in more ways than we could count. With so many new programs and anticipating only more growth in the coming months we were at an exciting point in the history of TCS. It became clear in order to keep up with the demand it was time to get more people involved and on board with the mission and vision of TCS. This discussion led to brainstorming for Total City Sports first fundraiser!
I had the privilege of being the chair for our first fundraiser, the Total City Sports Golf Tournament. Learning to lead a committee of volunteers and plan an event like this was an incredible challenge and opportunity for me. HUGE shout out to the Shannon and Ty Woodruff, Todd Plunk, Jamie Ivey, and the TCS staff for helping make this day happen. This committee voluntarily gave of their time weekly starting in April all the way through the event in August. Their selflessness and commitment to the planning of this event made my job easy and enjoyable! This fundraiser wouldn’t have been a success without the generosity of some incredible sponsors and over 70 participants playing in the tournament. The 1st Annual TCS Golf Tournament definitely serves as a memorable day in my year! Plan on joining us for our 2nd Annual TCS Golf Tournament in 2013!
Total City Sports Golf Tournament: August 31, 2012
Team OK STATE!
Everyone lined up ready to go!
TCS Team- so thankful to work with them!
Chris Allman, Director of TCS
1st Place Team
September 2012 – September 2013: Women’s Development Program (WDP)
Throughout the spring I started praying about applying for a program within the Austin Stone Institute called the Women’s Development Program (WDP). Even before I decided to intern at the Austin Stone, I had heard about WDP and had hoped to someday be a participant. I am currently finishing up my first semester in the program, and after only three months I can’t even begin to scratch the surface on how this program has affected my life. You can read more about the program here, but I’ll attempt to give you an idea of the program in my own words.
WDP and MDP (Men’s Development Program) meet together for the first half of class on Wednesday nights for a theology lecture based on our readings from Systematic Theology that week. For the second half, WDP and MDP split and our time has been spent on hermeneutics, which is a big word for learning how to properly study and interpret biblical text. My bible group has been studying the book of Galatians this semester. In addition to all of this, through WDP I have the opportunity to receive up to 18 hours in transferable credit through Southern Seminary because of their partnership with ASI, which I am personally pursuing.
Those are the logistics, but at the heart of this program it is designed to push you to know and study God in a new and deeper way than you had before. It equips you with a strong foundation in theology and a love for the Word so that you can be sent out confidently to share the good news of the Gospel. This program has produced these things in me while also causing me to wrestle with God through some hard things this semester. I am thankful for both outcomes because through both I have gotten to know the character of God better and my sinful heart is continually falling more in love with Him.
WDP setup on Wednesday nights
“The Women’s Development Program exists to produce women who know God, love the gospel, and live on mission. Our desire is to equip women to be grounded in the personhood of God, have hearts that are continually transformed by the gospel and as a result live in their true identities as ambassadors for Christ.” – ASI website
Currently in 2012: Praying for 2013
Whew.. what a year. Serving on the Total City Sports team this past year and being under the leadership of The For The City Network and the Austin Stone staff has redefined my perspective on what being a disciple of Christ is. If you read my blog entry RESTORATION and then months later WORTH IT and now my recap of 2012 hopefully these will give you a better grasp on all I have seen God do and change in my life.
In short… I have lost more of my self in 2012.
But somewhere along the way loosing myself led to saving myself.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Looking on to 2013 I have felt called to take a step forward and move from a part-time position into a full-time role at the Austin Stone. I have felt confirmed over the past year that I should continue pursuing development in the area of women’s equipping, which is why I don’t hesitate to raise full-time support for 2013. After discussing some specific ideas for growth within women’s equipping at The Austin Stone, I was ready to jump on board and help make these ideas become a reality.
Starting in February, I will serve full-time as an intern under Fabienne Harford, the Director of Women’s Training at Austin Stone. I am beyond excited about this opportunity and feel like it is an appropriate next step to seek what the Lord has for me. This position will allow me to help lead and create some new programs for women’s training as the team explores new ways to help women get connected. I will also continue to get training and development in a teaching environment by apprenticing for some classes in our Get Trained ministry.
My involvement with TCS will consist of investing in the mentoring relationships I currently have with TCS athletes. In addition, I will be assisting with some spring programming and helping create a leadership development component for our TCS club volleyball program.
Serving alongside the staff of the Austin Stone for the past year has enriched my life and given me valuable insight into the nuts and bolts of church ministry. This experience has been monumental for my development and pursuit in ministry. I have also seen the difficult realities of working within a church be approached with grace, truth, and compassion by the staff of the Austin Stone. I can’t think of a better environment to be developed in than serving alongside this kind of leadership.
For my current financial partners– Thank you for joining this journey with me for the past year. Words will never be able to thank you enough. I am looking forward to sharing more with you and thanking you face to face hopefully soon. I ask that you begin to pray for what your role might look like moving into 2013 and specifically that you would consider extending your financial commitment and possibly increasing your monthly partnership. Your faithfulness to me over the past year blew me away and regardless if you are able to continue in your support or not I will forever be thankful for the year you partnered with me in 2012. Looking forward to talking with you.
For my current prayer warriors– Pray. Pray. Pray. As I continue on this adventure it has been clear to me that the distractions and spiritual warfare have increased. Pray for the strength to persevere and to strive for His direction and ultimately His glory. Your prayers strengthen my faith and motivate my steps. Thank you.
For NEW partners! – If you are interested in partnering with me financially or in prayer as I step into this new position in 2013 then I would love to talk to you and meet you face to face if possible! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you in advance.
How to partner now?
Visit the partner page for more information and sign up for online partnership here!
What a year! I am even more excited for what is to come. Thank you for blessing my life.