Coaching Hearts

In Leon’s three years serving as a chaplain at Ottawa University, he’s seen God do amazing things. 

With a background in football and strength training, Leon was perfectly positioned to minister to the football team at Ottawa U. However, when he first arrived on campus, the football coach was resistant to his presence. Leon found it difficult to connect with the football players until a tragedy struck the team. One of the football players passed away two weeks into the first semester. This extremely difficult situation opened the door for Leon to minister to the team. He was able to pray with the players and just listen to them talk, which many of them hadn’t been able to do easily before. Though many of the players weren’t Christian, they accepted Leon’s prayers and were grateful for how he came alongside them to support them in their grief. 

With the football players more open to his ministry, Leon started a program that he wanted to be more than just a standard Bible study. He called it Christian Discussion Group, and built it to give the guys a platform to talk and ask and answer questions in a way that they don’t feel judged. This program took off as many players joined.

The discussions were powerful. They would cover a number of different topics that stirred the guys’ hearts, including subjects like pornography, sin, respect, and Jesus, and Leon consistently saw the players wanting to come back after each conversation. The discussions got more intense and interesting, and the players began taking it into their own hands to talk about what interested them. 

One football player was especially stirred up by all of these conversations and was convicted by what they were talking about. After a discussion time with a number of people, he came back the next day and wanted to speak with Leon. The two of them met, and Leon noticed something odd. “He had this overwhelming sense of weight on him,” Leon said. “So I walked him through scripture, told him the gospel, and saw this hunger in his face. I said to him, ‘Do you want to accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour?’” The player said yes, and Leon prayed with him. “I literally saw this peace just drop on him,” Leon shared. “The peace covered him. It was so evident — it just blew my mind.” 

In recent weeks, Leon has been amazed by the reception he’s seen to the discussion group. “The guys are talking to other guys about the stuff that’s happening in this group, so more guys keep coming out. We keep getting deeper and deeper into things. Last week, discussions got so intense and active and alive that I saw three pockets of guys all having different discussions. I just stood back in awe of what the Lord was doing. It was awesome. God is stirring the hearts of these men.”

Gospel Presentations 13,557
Decisions for Christ 487
Varsity athletes in the process of discovering Christ 270
Christians trained & discipled on campus 228
Pro-Team chapels 372
Attendees of Pro-Team chapels 2,655
Pro-team Bible studies 311
Attendees of Pro-Team Bible studies 1,828