Showing Christian love and support can make a difference. People notice, and you never know what the results will be. Take this example from one of our area Lutheran high schools:
It was the 2013 playoffs for high school football. Arizona Lutheran Academy (ALA) in Phoenix had had a great season, earning the right to host its first two playoff games on campus. The first school they were playing was Hopi High School from northeastern Arizona.
Little did they know that tragedy would strike during that game. Charles, perhaps the best player for the opposing team, collapsed on the field. “Everyone was confused because no one appeared to have hit him,” says Kurt Rosenbaum, ALA principal. They got Charles to his feet, and he took a few steps before collapsing again.
The next day, Sunday, several ALA coaches and administrators went to the hospital to see how Charles was doing. They also collected gift cards to area restaurants from ALA parents for the family while Charles was in the hospital.
Charles died two days later. Cause of death was inconclusive, but it was probably related to head trauma from a previous game. ALA’s athletic director went to the funeral to support the family. “It was a sad event because there was no Christian hope,” says Rosenbaum.
Meanwhile the ALA community also was dealing with the tragic event that happened in front of a large number of students and fans. “People rallied to the cause. We had a donation that allowed extra counseling services. We also had a special chapel service that helped focus everyone on what is the hope and lesson we can take from this,” says Rosenbaum.
Soon it was time for the second playoff game. With all the media coverage, the entire area knew about what had happened in the first game. ALA planned a small ceremony before the game, beginning with a special prayer. A few minutes into the game, Rosenbaum learned that Charles’ sister had made the trip to ALA because she wanted to address the crowd at half time. Rosenbaum asked the football teams to stay longer when half time began. “Then she made her statement,” he says. “It was a beautiful expression of thanksgiving and support for what ALA had done for her family. There were many teary-eyed players and parents that night.”
He continues, “I feel that this was a great opportunity for the Christian family at ALA to share their love and light with others. . . . We know that this sharing of love and light made a connection with Charles’ immediate family as his father commented on that directly with appreciation at the funeral service. . . . It touched all of us here in a very deep way.”
Volume 102, Number 1
Issue: January 2015
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