Tae kwon do Opens Hearts to the Gospel

  • by Jessica Cline
Photo by Guy Gerrard

Curiosity drew a crowd to the basketball court. Black belt David Lopez was demonstrating tae kwon do -- a sport quickly gaining popularity in Guatemala. At the end of the presentation, David explained the gospel.

But the presentation flopped.

"Most Guatemalans are open to the gospel," says Cristobal Chamale, director of Guatemala Athletes in Action, Cru's sports ministry. After talking with the boys, David and Cristobal realized the gospel didn't interest them.

But learning -- not just watching -- martial arts did. So David and the boys made a deal: Once a week he would teach them tae kwon do if they would also listen to a Bible presentation.

Each week before David instructs the boys in martial arts, Edgar Ruiz leads the group through AIA's Total Athlete curriculum. "They teach that the body's power and strength comes from God," says Cristobal. Only three students attended the first class. Now 38 come.

One student, Anibal Patzan, used to be involved in a gang. "I didn't just find [tae kwon do]," says Anibal, 18. "I found God. Now I am a friend of God."