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Shields Used to Share God’s Word at Sochi

Shields Used to Share God’s Word at Sochi

Posted by Shields Of Strength on 10th Apr 2014

Shields of Strength began with God’s word and a water ski handle in 1997. Since then, shields have spread across the globe, providing encouragement as a simple reminder to new and established Christians alike. Shields of Strength have gone to the battlefield and the football field, and now they will be in Sochi.

Equipped with 200 shields, Athletes in Action (AIA), Cru’s (formerly called Campus Crusade for Christ) athletic ministry, is serving at the 2014 Winter Olympics. During the games, they will minister to coaches and competing athletes by providing spiritual, emotional, and mental support in the multi-faith center of the Olympic Village.

Team member and Olympic Chaplain Carl Dambman has been ministering to Olympic athletes in both the summer and winter games for the past 33 years. He said a dozen AIA staff and volunteers will distribute the shields to athletes who are seeking God’s word.

“The world’s eyes are on heroes of the sports fields, and we want to strengthen and encourage them as people watch them relying on God as their Creator, their Savior, and the One who gave them the talents to perform,” Dambman said.

“If the Shields of Strength can help them in their walk with the Lord, then we’re all for partnering with whoever wants to lift up Christ.”

Kenny Vaughan, founder of Shields of Strength, said that the company has donated over one million of the three million shields they produced to individuals, the U.S. military, churches, and ministries such as Athletes in Action. Both Vaughan and Dambman find that the organizations’ new partnership works well.

“Our missions align well because we can give them a tool to help them share Christ through a one-on-one relationship,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan added that he understands the fear and pressure that Olympians experience during competition. While trying to win a U.S. Nationals for the water ski long jump, he described a comparable feeling that he was insufficient. – more –

“The unique thing about an athlete, especially in the Olympics, is that they are prepared for pressure,” said Vaughan. “But until that moment when you should be disciplined, it’s then when you find yourself saying, ‘God I need you.’ Right then is when you’re even weaker than you realized.

“Athletes in competition think if they have enough courage, they can overcome fear. But really that thought is the trap of life. And it’s not courage, but love that overcomes fear. It’s the courage to love that makes us courageous. That’s the message of God’s word, and Athletes in Action is taking advantage of this opportunity to share that truth.”

During his time of doubt and fear, Vaughan’s girlfriend (now wife), Tammie, wrote scriptures on his ski equipment, which, through God’s power, found their way into his heart and eased his fears. This led Vaughan to inscribe verses onto dog tags and wear them underneath his shirt.

From that first shield, Shields of Strength has grown to also include women’s jewelry and other accessories, like key chains and athletic tape. Seventeen years later, the company hopes that the shields can help Olympians as they face the same trials during competition.

“Love doesn't always guarantee a win in life; it just ensures we compete with all we have and that gives us a better chance to win," Vaughan added.

About Shields of Strength:

The Shields of Strength concept came about in 1997 as a simple reminder of the power that was in God’s word. As the daily reminder of God’s word moved from simple words written on sports equipment, to life-changing words written on his heart, the Shields of Strength founder realized others needed that reminder as much as he did.

Years later, Shields of Strength has been written about by the Associated Press, Fox News, CBN, etc. The company has made more than three million shields, all with the prayer they would serve as an effective reminder of God’s word. Shields of Strength has donated hundreds of thousands to our military and other ministries. The shields have become one of the most worn emblems by the US Military. These scriptural items have been used by churches as outreach tools, hospitals for encouragement, athletes for courage. Shields of Strength’s mission is for lives to be forever changed by scripture.