I was born in Sydney then our family moved a few months later to Mudgee, 3.5hrs north west of Sydney. Mudgee is a wine and honey town of about 10,000 people and I grew up just outside of town.
Looking back on only the first 30 years of my life I see an incredible story unfolding, a story I never imagined (although that's what the bible says will happen to me … and you. Eph 3:20). International travel, outrageous encounters with God, divine opportunities to spread the gospel, a daily relationship with the creator of the universe, what a pleasure to be part of God's almighty plan for this world and to be called His son!
Growing up I played sport every Saturday (mostly hockey and cricket, although there is a long list of sports I have played in some league or other) and we attended church each Sunday. After finishing Year 12 I moved away from home to attend University. I studied a double degree of sports and recreation/journalism in my four years at university.
During my last year at univeristy I was challenged in what to do after graduating. I wasn't interested in pursuing sports journalism although because I hadn't any other direction felt it was important to finish my degree. With a growing faith and developing relationship with God I decided to check out missions and see where that would lead.
I ended up applying for a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and was accepted into a school in Brisbane.
February 2006 I started this journey with about 20 foreigners and 1 other Aussie. The following 6 months radically transformed my life as I learnt the incredible fact that God is my Father and wants intimate relationship with me! This 6 months was a healing, releasing and challenging time and during my school I felt God strongly call me to remain on staff.
Following my DTS I went home for two weeks and in this time prepared to take on a staff position with YWAM. In this time I had to secure enough support (faith finance) to sustain me for my expenses because financially YWAM is a faith based organisation. God provides!
I began leading the sports focused DTS and was blessed with the opportunity to do this for a number of years. During this time we engaged students from around the world who wanted to learn more about sports ministry and it was during one school I asked Well-Being Australia's Dr Mark Tronson to share (Australian cricket chaplain). It was through a Google search I found out about Mark and he quickly responded to my email to say he'd love the chance to share.
Following this Mark and I got to know each other more as he mentored me into a chaplaincy role with the AIS in Brisbane (Australian Institute of Sport), as I became one of the first young Comment writers and am now a Sport Panellist. I stepped away from the Comment writing after about two years but am pleased to be able to take on this role as a Panellist.
To back up a bit, after the first DTS I staffed, my future wife Genevieve (Canadian) and I got together. We married in winter in February 2008 in Canada, spent a few months in Canada and then continued with YWAM.
During our time with YWAM we were also involved in several different ministries and were on the centre's eldership for a number of years. On ANZAC day 2009 our first child was born, our daughter was born just after Christmas in 2010 (at the time of the Brisbane floods) and then our third and only Canadian born child was born September 2013.
Canada is now home after finishing up with YWAM at the end of 2011. I became a permanent resident and was working with the Canadian Diabetes Association for about of 1.5 yrs. I am now employed in a good position in the private sector. While I would like to be involved in full time ministry in the future right now I'm excited for where I believe God has my family, because there is no better place to be!
It wasn't easy leaving YWAM and adjusting to a life outside of full time ministry but through those challenges my faith has continued to grow. Life with the Lord continues to be an adventure and I would encourage anyone to seek first the kingdom of God and His plan, taking up the cross daily and following Him, wherever that leads and whatever challenges we face.
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 mentors young writers and 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