With the London Olympics just six months away Olympic Ministry Award Receiptent Mark Tronson, the chairman of Well-Being Australia is writing a weekly series of articles leading up to this world gala event which encapsulates the nations of the world in sport, politics, economics, culture, benevolency and religion.
Nelson Cook, who initiated the sports ministry 'Coaches of Influence' thirteen years ago in Los Angeles, hosted Australians Mark and Delma Tronson in February 2009 for five days of full-on ministry and he's been 'reflecting' on this remarkable ministry.
Nelson Cook and Mark Tronson have known each other since 1984 when Mark was engaged in a USA sports ministry study tour and visited Dallas where Nelson Cook was the Texas director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
In 1988 Nelson relocated to Los Angeles to take up the role of Californian FCA State Director; a role he relinquished in order to concentrate on raising his three young daughters when his first wife Stephanie tragically died from a brain tumour in 1995.
Terry Franson, a friend
"The workload I had in that director's position was beyond what a single father could cope with," Nelson Cook explained. "On top of that, I was myself grieving, and also trying to support the grief of three little girls who had lost their mother. As a result of seeking the Lord to help provide an idea to resolve my situation, I visited Terry Franson, a friend with spiritual wisdom,"
Terry Franson has been an Olympic USA Track Coach, and under contract has coached the Nigerian Olympic Track Team, had been a 'wisdom consultant' to Nelson Cook over many years.
"My idea was to establish a sports ministry for Christian College Coaches (University and High School level) in the Los Angeles area and Terry Franson immediately came on side saying this was well overdue," Nelson Cook noted.
Since that initial meeting, Nelson Cook has established a faith funded ministry for 'Coaches of Influence' and he ministers to Christian sports coaches in the huge competitive world of college (university) and high school sports in Los Angeles.
A week of ministry
For that entire week Nelson Cook invited Mark and Delma Tronson to speak to numerous coaches' lunches and breakfasts (including one Church men's breakfast), as well as meeting many other coaches in one-to-one meetings and a number of 'Professional Sport' coaches.
Coaches are the unsung heroes at USA college and high school levels. They have to contend not only with enormous work loads, but also unbelievable pressure from the education system as well as all their family commitments.
"The operational aspects of 'Coaches of Influence' was an eye-opener to me," M V Tronson recalled. "I especially noted the value the coaches place on the prayer network that Nelson Cook distributes by Email, where very specific prayer needs in trust are spelt out and then crossed off as prayers get answered."
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html