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Thursday, March 23, 2023

U.S. family moving to Mérida full time, devoted to sports evangelism

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Sports Crusaders, an evangelical mission based in Missouri, is sending a family to live full time in Mérida to run a sports camp. Photo: Facebook via Sports Crusaders

A Missouri couple is devoting themselves full time in Mérida as missionaries, with a Christian sports camp as their vehicle to reach young people here.

Mandy and Tyler Asbury are leaving their jobs behind this week to devote their lives to the Sports Crusaders mission of “sports evangelism.”

The pair has served on church mission teams in Puerto Rico and Mississippi after disaster struck, and have traveled to Mérida the last three summers with short-term Sports Crusaders teams. Part of the Missouri Baptist Convention, the organization has engaged over 49,000 “campers” in 24 years, according to their website.

“God really began to place an awareness for the need for Sports Crusaders to be in Mérida full time,” Mandy told the News Tribune.

She was president of the Missouri Baptist Credit Union and he was foreman for a heating and cooling company. But the call to Mérida was strong.

“It was a hard decision to leave (my) job,” Mandy said. “We are also older than the typical missionary family. Most people our age are focusing on retirement and college funds. We know that God will provide for those things, however.”

The move will provide more quality time together for the family, without so many demands, Mandy said.

The pair has three children, ranging in age from 9 to 18. The eldest will pursue an associate’s degree through online classes and the other two will be homeschooled. They will also go from being a three-car family to one with a single 12-passenger van, which will be used for the sports camp and transporting local children to medical clinics.

Sports Crusaders is not new to the scene, setting up short-term basketball and volleyball camps in Mérida for 12 years. They have plans to introduce American football in the future.

After planting a church in Mérida, the Asburys will be involved in helping with a second church in a nearby small community where no Protestant churches exist.

Learn more about the Sports Crusaders mission in Mérida at their blog, where they accept donations to keep their mission going.

Sources: The News Tribune, Sports Crusaders website and Facebook page

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