July 2018 Newsletter


There are so many amazing things to report that God is doing in and through Idols Aside that for this update the team thought we could just send a few of the highlights listed below.

An email cannot contain the words to express our excitement over the movement we are seeing within local church partners whose pastors have caught the vision of reaching the fatherless within their congregation! We are also seeing pastors equip and encourage their people to go and reach fatherless within their congregation members personal relationships. PRAY with us for continued passion and revival in these partner churches as we see over and over in scripture promises to those who “defend the fatherless”!

A few highlights from Florida:

The month of May brought the opportunity to host both girls & boys retreats at IAM Ranch! At the girls retreat new women mentors/Ladies for the Least served along IAM Staff and a new mentor as well as Athlete Partner Jeff Carlson served the young men. Each retreat brought incredible, intentional gospel foundation time to these young people and we praise God for every seed planted and sown in their hearts!


Meet the Bucs BBQ at IAM Ranch – fatherless youth attended from Lake Wales Care Center and Lake Wales High School. Calebe Benenoch, Austin Johnson, and Leonard Wester from the Tampa Bay Bucs gave their testimonies. Jeff opened and Mark closed with a call. Amazing time with over 20 decisions to follow Christ!


Girls Basketball Clinic at Ardella Baptist Church - 25 young ladies from all over Polk County were in attendance. Coaches – Frank Lopez, Gregg Mays, Christian Stewart (FSU Women's Basketball Stand Out), Kayla Young (GJHS Girls Basketball Coach), and Tocarra Williams (Texas A&M Stand Out and WNBA). Food was donated by Justin Kranitz and Chik-fil-A. Worship was led by Kristen Hamrick. It was an incredible, fun, high intensity, high gospel event that could not have ended any better way than with worship of a deserving Father!


Fishing Outing with Capt. Blake Smith – 2 fatherless Fort Meade youth were able to haul in 6+ large mouth bass on beautiful Lake Kissimmee! A dream day for a 2nd time retreater and a first time retreater.


Boys Retreat at Eagle Lake Lakehouse in Winter Haven – 4 fatherless young men from single mother/foster home – Mentors – Jeff Shills and Dr. Phil Abbott. Such an amazing Holy Spirit filled weekend as all 4 young had the opportunity to learn how to ski from a certified ski instructor. Strong foundational quiet times as we were able to discuss fear and obedience in our Christian Walk as portrayed in the story of Gideon from the OT.


Boys Basketball Clinic at Heritage Baptist Church – 32 young men from all over Polk County. Coaches – Frank Lopez, Gregg Mays, Brandon Giles (Polk State Men’s Head Basketball Coach), and Quentin Boatwright (Discovery High Boys Head Basketball Coach). A HUGE thank you for food donated, once again, by Justin Kranitz and Chik-Fil-a. Such a fun high intensity day! Heavy Gospel with testimonies from both Coach Lopez and Coach Giles! Eternity changing decisions were made to follow Christ; most for the first time and many re-dedications.

A few highlights from Kentucky:

Idols Aside Ministries was excited to partner with Darryl Strawberry on May 10, 2018 to come in and visit the Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club of Paducah! Darryl did an amazing job of sharing his personal story of struggles and victories with the youth in attendance challenging them to rise above any circumstances of life that could be holding them back from being their best. He told them that he had tried all the best and the worst of what life has to offer and only ONE thing filled the eternal sized void in his heart... a relationship with Jesus Christ! Each and every youth in attendance that day stood saying they wanted surrender their life to Christ and become all that He created them to be!


The partnership with the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club continues to grow and strengthen! Please pray for the IAM Team as we have an open door to go in and share the gospel with more than 100 youth there multiple times each month! There is an incredible opportunity for eternity and life changing decisions to be made each time we step into the doors there!


Idols Aside Ministries teamed up with Southland Baptist Temple on May 12, 2018 to bring eight pro bass fisherman from the FLW tour to Paducah. Guests in attendance were treated to a free catfish dinner as well as a program that involved fishing tips from some of the best on the tour! The pros did a great job sharing tips and stories, but each one also shared their testimony of a transformed life after surrendering their heart to Jesus Christ. The evening ended with FLW Chaplain, Captain Blake Smith giving each person their the opportunity to commit or re-commit their life to Christ... a call that 23 people answered!


Mark has had the opportunity to partner with our local FCA and was honored to speak at their camp in Paducah this summer! Praise God for opportunities to link arms and share the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ!


Idols Aside Ministries was privileged to host former L.A. Lakers “Ironman” A.C. Green for an event at Lone Oak Middle School on May 26, 2018. All local aspiring basketball players were welcomed, and the youth in IAM’s programs had a personal invitation to attend at no cost to any of them. A.C. shared an inspirational message to the entire audience emphasizing that all of the fame, recognition and accolades have never once brought him the satisfaction in life or peace that giving his heart to Christ has brought! Thirteen people in attendance that day made decisions to follow Christ. It was an impactful event for all involved!


This season in Kentucky also brought the opportunity for taking IAM youth Horseback riding with new outdoor partners as well as making some FUN deliveries to the youth who “harvested game” during some of the Fall and Winter events! EACH opportunity God gives us to spend time with these youth both challenges us and encourages our hearts to see all that God is doing in them. PLEASE continue to pray that we don’t miss one opportunity to show them Christ’s love!!


Our Nationwide #Fatherlessnomore campaign will be launched very soon!

Please pray that pastors and churches will be receptive to this and God will be preparing hearts to hear of this incredible need and determine to be used by God to change the fatherless culture we see in our country today!

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