A number of years ago, as leaders at GoodSports International Camp finished off the last of the pizza and headed for a church service in the small Slovak town of Devinska Nova Ves, one camper tucked himself in among them. The other kids had left for the day, but not Roman Mozsi. Yet when the service started, Roman lit out like a shot, disappearing into the dusk.
"I didn't think much of it at the time," says camp director Tom Johnson. "I just assumed it was all a bit too much for him, because he wasn't used to it."
As it turns out, Roman preferred hanging out with the crowd of contented Christians over returning to the chaos at home. His father frequently wandered away from the family for weeks at a time, only to come home drunk and looking for a fight.
Back at the church, as camp leaders were in the midst of prayer, Johnson looked up and was surprised to see that Roman had returned. He stood solemnly in a clean white shirt, which replaced the baseball T-shirt he had worn all day.
"He had run home to change," says Johnson, shaking his head at the memory. "He told us he didn't think what he had on before was good enough to be in a church where people were praying."
Roman's parents had grown up under Communist rule, which had little tolerance for religious practice, public or private. So when Roman's mother began bringing him to GoodSports, she wasn't looking for salvation for her son, only a port in the storm. But Roman found much more than that.
Continuing An Old Missions Tradition
Sports ministries have blossomed in the past century. Today, there are hundreds of international sports ministries, ranging from niche ministries (Motor Racing Outreach, Christian Bowhunters of America) to those with a broader vision (England's World ...