“It’s almost like this is church,” said Donn Truax at Darling Field in Gloversville, NY on Wednesday. “Getting outside the four walls, ministering to the people, just like Christ did. He met people where they were at and shared the love of the Father with them.”
Truax and his wife Cynthia are directors of Change of 1 Ministry, which held a free two day soccer clinic last week on Wednesday and Thursday which was attended by approximately forty boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12. The program was staffed by Truax and six volunteer coaches and several other volunteers. The kids played soccer skill building games and scrimmages at the clinic, as well as learned a little about the faith of biblical figures and how it relates to success on the athletic field.
A former soccer coach at Fulton Montgomery Community College and former professional player with the Charlotte Eagles, Truax said he sees his soccer talents and ministry calling as interwoven.
“Eventually I learned the two go hand in hand,” said Traux. “God gives us talents in order to use it to glorify Him…He gifted me to play soccer. But he also wanted me to use it as a tool, a useful tool to witness and share the gospel.”
During the clinic, Truax asked the kids to think about what qualities it takes to get into a sports “Hall of Fame” as well as what it takes to live a life of strong faith.
“Today we talked about two individuals, Abel and Noah,” said Truax. “Abel was willing to sacrifice and give his very best. As an athlete that’s what’s required of us. Soccer players have to commit to the coach and give your very best and be able to sacrifice for the team. Noah – they thought he was crazy. He had this pursuit and passion to do something that most people wouldn’t. Just like people thought I was crazy for wanting to be a professional soccer player. But I know that was what God had given me the opportunity to do and I pursued it.”
The Change of 1 Ministry began in 2009 and primarily operates at 60 North Main Street in Gloversville, and is open daily to offer help to people facing homelessness, or struggling with addiction or mental illness. According to Truax, the ministry provides spiritual encouragement while helping those in need connect to specialized services for their problems that are available in the area.
Recently, the ministry partnered with Gloversville Free Methodist Church to operate a youth program at the old YMCA building at 33 Bleecker Street in Gloversville. The church recently acquired the property and has been working to re-purpose it as a community center.
In addition to outreach events like the soccer clinic, Change of 1 also organizes an annual “Back to School Bash” event at which backpacks filled with school supplies are given to children in need. The backpacks are donated by local churches and this year will be distributed on Auguest 26 at the Bleecker Street location from 5pm to 7pm.
According to Truax, partnering with local churches is key to the overall vision for the Change of 1 Ministry.
“We really want to see the body of Christ, the believers, coming together to serve and reach out to the community,” said Truax. “And that’s really what our ministry is about. It’s not about us, it’s really about Kingdom work.”