Mo Isom Shares Redemption Story At 15th Annual FCA Champions Dinner

WELCOME … FCA Area Director Rex Stump welcomes those in attendace to the annual Champions Dinner.


The Archbold Evangelical Church once again welcomed the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Champions Dinner on April 14th.  Since the inception of the Buckeye Border Fellowship of Christian Athletes office the goal of Area Director, Rex Stump, and his staff is to have Jesus Christ represented in all schools in the area.  What began with three schools in two counties has grown to 50 schools, in 5 counties in Ohio, and 2 counties in Michigan. 

The vision of FCA is to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.  The mission of FCA is to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.

The purpose of the Champions Dinner is to recognize what God is doing in NW Ohio and SE Michigan, as well as honor those students who are doing an outstanding job spreading the gospel through their planning and leading the FCA Huddles in their schools.

Although the Champions Dinner was originally designed to be a fund-raising event for FCA and its programs such as the annual Summer Leadership Camp, the main purpose has always been to make tickets available at a reasonable price so that students can be part of the celebration.  Local businesses and citizens also assist in this purpose by donating tickets or holding fund-raisers of their own to defray the cost of attending the banquet. 

The event always provides inspiration and entertainment to those in attendance.  Over the years BBFCA has been able to secure a wide variety of speakers.  The list has included both college and professional athletes who are very open with their witness to God, Christian Comedian Kenn Kington, as well as former local athletes Brock Mealer and Brad Hurtig who have overcome incredible physical challenges and given all the credit to God.  This year those in attendance were fortunate to hear the amazing story of Mo Isom.   

Following a welcome from Stump, Delta senior student-athlete, Abby Freeman, provided the invocation. 

Brookview Farms provided an outstanding tailgate style dinner.  Those in attendance enjoyed the meal of barbequed chicken, Hawaiian sausage, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, potato chips, and cookies. 

The program began with Bryan students Katelyn Darrow, Keith Huard, and Isaac Laramore demonstrating what an FCA Huddle looks like.  The Huddle format often consists of an opening ice breaker, lesson, bible readings, an activity, discussion, and typically closes with prayer.

Rex Stump then explained what “Team Time” is.  Typically Stump, or other members of the FCA staff, and even local pastors/volunteers, come to a school team before or after practice.  During this time the team participates typically participates in a team building activity that incorporates biblical principles.

Several students who attended last year’s Leadership Camp then to the stage to share their experiences.  The common theme was that the students had a great time.  Many of them mentioned how the camp helped them to be more confident in their ability to lead as well as growing spiritually and making new friends.

Stump then shared a story of the contagious impact that FCA can have on schools and teams.  As many people may have noticed at local sporting events, teams often gather together at the completion of the contests to pray.  These assemblies are typically led by student-athletes who are also FCA Huddle Leaders.  On one occasion one of the players who usually leads the prayer for Wauseon asked a rather shy cheerleader from his school, who also attends FCA to lead.  The girl led and did an outstanding job.  The next week as the team was playing Delta, the player from Wauseon asked a player from Delta who was also in FCA at his school to lead.  The boy obliged.  Then Delta went to Bryan next, and the Delta boy prayed again.  Stump emphasized this is the ripple effect that FCA can have.  Its stories like this that makes Stump love the ministry of FCA.

The time had arrived for keynote speaker, Mo Isom, to address the audience.  For those unfamiliar with Isom, she is a New York Times bestselling author, a nationally sought-after speaker, and a zealous voice rising up for her generation. In her younger years, she was an All-American goalkeeper for the LSU Women’s Soccer team and the first female to train with and try out for an SEC men’s football team.

While on the surface it appears that Isom has lived the dream, she shared a very different story.  According to Isom, “FCA provided a profound impact my life and faith walk”.   Isom shared what she loves about FCA is how it utilizes sport and school to open the door to Christ and see the student for the heart that they carry. 

Isom explained that she grew up in a God fearing, Christian home.  She acknowledged that her parents worked very hard to instill in her what it meant to be a Godly woman, but her type A, driven and focused personality made it hard for her to believe she needed help from anyone else, including God.

Although Isom attended church regularly, she used the term “Faith by inheritance” to describe herself growing up.  She was a Christian because her parents were, and attended church because her parents did.  Isom admitted that while in high school she attended FCA only occasionally.  She acknowledged while she knew a lot about God, she didn’t really personally know God. Growing up in the “Bible Belt”, Isom said it was comfortable for her to be a Christian, but grew up with the mentality of, “Church on a checklist, a cross on my necklace, and I hope I can just punch in this ticket the day I die and show God just how many times I showed up for different things”. 

In her transition for middle school to high school Isom admitted she wanted to control her life.  She struggled trying to do it all, achieve athletically, academically, modeling, building relationships, and socially.  After a short time Isom realized she had very little control.  She also battled with stereotypes.  Being six feet tall entering high school she was described as the “Huge girl”. 

From high school and into her college career, Isom’s life was riddled with great personal tragedy.  In high school she battled depression, eating disorders, abusing diet pills and energy drinks, and self-harm.  She described herself as being great at “Faking fine”.  Although Isom admitted she only attended FCA irregularly in high school, she felt this was where the initial seeds of coming to know God were planted.  She noticed that those who regularly attended FCA were different and had such a positive outlook and attitude.

In her senior year of high school Isom felt things had turned around for her. She got a scholarship to attend LSU to play soccer.  It was at this time she came across a piece scripture that changed her life.  According to Isom the scripture read, “Come to me if you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”.  It was shortly after discovering that verse when Isom felt the strength and courage to open up to her mother and explained the demons she had been battling.  Isom felt a weight lifted from her and was so grateful that her mother got her the help she needed with a counselor and nutritionist, but more importantly instilled in her that only way for her to be fully healed was to seek God.

With her life seemingly back on track, Isom headed off to LSU.  She shared that although her first year was challenging and filled with temptation that she began to give God the glory for her life. Isom described her freshman year as amazing. “My second game ever as a freshman I lined up to take a routine free kick after a hand ball and scored a 90 yard goal! It was surreal.  We wound up on SportsCenter top plays and also got other national recognition.  All my athletic dreams were coming to fruition.  I thought if this is what it means to be a Christian, I give God the glory and he rains down the blessings, what have I been doing?  This is fantastic!”

Just when Isom seemed to be on top of the world, her life came crashing down.  “I remember going home for Christmas break after that freshman year on cloud nine.  I felt untouchable, invincible!”  One night that all changed.  While Isom was at her parent’s home, her father never came home.  The family searched for him, but couldn’t find him.  He didn’t answer his phone and didn’t come home that night.  The next morning Isom’s mother discovered her husband had emailed her a suicided letter.  Letter in hand, the family left the home and went to his office try and stop the attempt.  It was there that three police discovered he had put a gun to his heart and committed suicide. 

January 3, 2009, was the day her father committed suicide and also the day Isom ran as fast and as far as she could from God.  She had lost all hope in God. 

Two weeks later Isom headed back to LSU.  Once there she faced depression, anxiety, promiscuity and what she described as, “Any sin sized piece she could find to fill the God sized hole in her heart.”

Once again, Isom noticed that is was the FCA people at LSU that kept coming around, just like in high school when she was struggling.  She said they were able to see past the mask she was putting up.  They kept asking how she was doing and coming around long after others stopped.  She recalled faces at funeral that she didn’t know and wondered why they were there. Later she discovered that they were in fact FCA leaders from LSU.  Once again, Isom didn’t really want much to do with them, or FCA, but acknowledged that this was more seed planting in her faith walk. 

According to Isom about a full year later she was headed back to her home in Atlanta from Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving break.  It was on that trip home that Isom thought she understood why her father did what he did, and felt that suicide was a viable option for her as well.  Isom shared her heartfelt cry to God.  “God if you are so real you have to do something.  I’m angry, I’m resentful, I’m frustrated, I’m exhausted, I’m worn thin.  Nothing as played out like I thought it would.  If you are real God, reveal yourself to me or just wreck my life and end it. I don’t want to live like this anymore!” 

Isom then exclaimed, “He will respond!”  As Isom was headed down the interstate at about 80 mph, she said God answered her.  Isom explained that she continued to cry out to God.  The steering wheel on the Jeep she was driving began jerking.  At that point she realized the vehicle was in the center median and the tires were caught in the grass.  Isom frantically attempted to get the Jeep back under control.  Instead the vehicle shot straight across the interstate.  It hit an embankment, flipped three times, and ended upside down in a ravine.  It was 1:30 am.  Isom was alone and physical broken suffering from broken ribs, damaged lungs, liver, jaw, face, and brain.  When Isom regained consciousness she was upside down hanging by her seat belt.  According to Isom it was at that time as she hung by her seat belt near the Alabama/Georgia State Line that she felt the Holy Spirit and presence of a living God flooded into the wreckage.  At the most physically broken state of her life, Isom claimed she heard God say to her, “Be still and know that I am God!”

That day she gave her life to Jesus.  After she recovered from the accident she returned to LSU.  Once again the FCA members were the first to come to her door.  From that day forward Isom shared that she was able to have a new outlook on life and resist the temptation to return to her sinful lifestyle.  “Suddenly all the seeds that had been planted by those FCA people, those Christians who were actually living differently. Who carried a lightness and a joy, were there to provide an accountability for me.  They became my best friends, and many still are today!” 

Isom went on to share that she lost many people who she thought were friends when she wouldn’t return to her sinful ways.  However, she gained not only friends, but family from the FCA members.

FCA is an important part of Isom’s life still today.  Throughout her presentation she lauded the positive impact that FCA has on students today.  She closed by challenging the students in attendance to go out and plant the seeds and be harvesters for God!

Following Isom’s heart wrenching and inspiring speech, the attendees were invited to invest in the mission of FCA and its students.  Thom Giguere asked to crowd to consider pledging to become FCA Home Team Members.  He used the analogy of giving the cost of a cup of coffee, or a meal a day to FCA.  Giguere added that if a financial gift to FCA wasn’t possible to please consider volunteering to help FCA or even praying for FCA.

Former FCA Huddle Leader North Central Graduate, Emma Zenz, then addressed the audience.  Emma is now a freshman at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  She attributes her calling into Youth Ministry to be due in large part to her experience in FCA.  She challenged the students and adult to accept God’s call minister to Him in any way they can. 

The moment had now arrived for the students to receive their well deserved recognition.  A total of 94 students from 50 schools were honored as FCA award winners.  Each student introduced themselves as they arrived upon the stage.  They each received a t-shirt, certificate, gift cards from different local eating establishments, as well as receiving a rock with a cross engraved on it. 

SPEAKER … Keynote speaker Mo Isom shares her story of redemption to Champions Dinner attendees.


Before leaving the stage each student was challenged by Stump to go out and plant the seeds for the harvest in their schools and on their teams.  He challenged them to not give up and to remain strong and courageous in their mission.  To keep working an encouraging others, and continue the ripple effect wherever they are.

Prior to a posing for a large group photo, Rick Straley led everyone in the closing benediction and thanked everyone for coming.

Although the Champions Dinner generated funds to assist with the mission of the Buckeye Border FCA, the organization is still short of the goal of providing the funding necessary for the upcoming Leadership Camp and other financial needs for the year.  The camp will be held from July 13-17 at Camp Michindoh in Hillsdale, Michigan.  To find out more information about the Buckeye Border FCA, the Leadership Camp, to participate or sponsor the upcoming FCA Golf Outing, or to make a pledge, one that could help make the vision of FCA possible, please visit the organization’s website at www.bbfca.org or contact Rex Stump directly at 419-583-7013 or by email at rstump@fca.org.

The Archbold Evangelical Church once again welcomed the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Champions Dinner on April 14th.  Since the inception of the Buckeye Border Fellowship of Christian Athletes office the goal of Area Director, Rex Stump, and his staff is to have Jesus Christ represented in all schools in the area.  What began with three schools in two counties has grown to 50 schools, in 5 counties in Ohio, and 2 counties in Michigan. 

The vision of FCA is to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.  The mission of FCA is to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.

The purpose of the Champions Dinner is to recognize what God is doing in NW Ohio and SE Michigan, as well as honor those students who are doing an outstanding job spreading the gospel through their planning and leading the FCA Huddles in their schools.

Although the Champions Dinner was originally designed to be a fund-raising event for FCA and its programs such as the annual Summer Leadership Camp, the main purpose has always been to make tickets available at a reasonable price so that students can be part of the celebration.  Local businesses and citizens also assist in this purpose by donating tickets or holding fund-raisers of their own to defray the cost of attending the banquet. 

The event always provides inspiration and entertainment to those in attendance.  Over the years BBFCA has been able to secure a wide variety of speakers.  The list has included both college and professional athletes who are very open with their witness to God, Christian Comedian Kenn Kington, as well as former local athletes Brock Mealer and Brad Hurtig who have overcome incredible physical challenges and given all the credit to God.  This year those in attendance were fortunate to hear the amazing story of Mo Isom.   

Following a welcome from Stump, Delta senior student-athlete, Abby Freeman, provided the invocation. 

Brookview Farms provided an outstanding tailgate style dinner.  Those in attendance enjoyed the meal of barbequed chicken, Hawaiian sausage, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, potato chips, and cookies. 

The program began with Bryan students Katelyn Darrow, Keith Huard, and Isaac Laramore demonstrating what an FCA Huddle looks like.  The Huddle format often consists of an opening ice breaker, lesson, bible readings, an activity, discussion, and typically closes with prayer.

Rex Stump then explained what “Team Time” is.  Typically Stump, or other members of the FCA staff, and even local pastors/volunteers, come to a school team before or after practice.  During this time the team participates typically participates in a team building activity that incorporates biblical principles.

Several students who attended last year’s Leadership Camp then to the stage to share their experiences.  The common theme was that the students had a great time.  Many of them mentioned how the camp helped them to be more confident in their ability to lead as well as growing spiritually and making new friends.

Stump then shared a story of the contagious impact that FCA can have on schools and teams.  As many people may have noticed at local sporting events, teams often gather together at the completion of the contests to pray.  These assemblies are typically led by student-athletes who are also FCA Huddle Leaders.  On one occasion one of the players who usually leads the prayer for Wauseon asked a rather shy cheerleader from his school, who also attends FCA to lead.  The girl led and did an outstanding job.  The next week as the team was playing Delta, the player from Wauseon asked a player from Delta who was also in FCA at his school to lead.  The boy obliged.  Then Delta went to Bryan next, and the Delta boy prayed again.  Stump emphasized this is the ripple effect that FCA can have.  Its stories like this that makes Stump love the ministry of FCA.

The time had arrived for keynote speaker, Mo Isom, to address the audience.  For those unfamiliar with Isom, she is a New York Times bestselling author, a nationally sought-after speaker, and a zealous voice rising up for her generation. In her younger years, she was an All-American goalkeeper for the LSU Women’s Soccer team and the first female to train with and try out for an SEC men’s football team.

While on the surface it appears that Isom has lived the dream, she shared a very different story.  According to Isom, “FCA provided a profound impact my life and faith walk”.   Isom shared what she loves about FCA is how it utilizes sport and school to open the door to Christ and see the student for the heart that they carry. 

Isom explained that she grew up in a God fearing, Christian home.  She acknowledged that her parents worked very hard to instill in her what it meant to be a Godly woman, but her type A, driven and focused personality made it hard for her to believe she needed help from anyone else, including God.

Although Isom attended church regularly, she used the term “Faith by inheritance” to describe herself growing up.  She was a Christian because her parents were, and attended church because her parents did.  Isom admitted that while in high school she attended FCA only occasionally.  She acknowledged while she knew a lot about God, she didn’t really personally know God. Growing up in the “Bible Belt”, Isom said it was comfortable for her to be a Christian, but grew up with the mentality of, “Church on a checklist, a cross on my necklace, and I hope I can just punch in this ticket the day I die and show God just how many times I showed up for different things”. 

In her transition for middle school to high school Isom admitted she wanted to control her life.  She struggled trying to do it all, achieve athletically, academically, modeling, building relationships, and socially.  After a short time Isom realized she had very little control.  She also battled with stereotypes.  Being six feet tall entering high school she was described as the “Huge girl”. 

From high school and into her college career, Isom’s life was riddled with great personal tragedy.  In high school she battled depression, eating disorders, abusing diet pills and energy drinks, and self-harm.  She described herself as being great at “Faking fine”.  Although Isom admitted she only attended FCA irregularly in high school, she felt this was where the initial seeds of coming to know God were planted.  She noticed that those who regularly attended FCA were different and had such a positive outlook and attitude.

In her senior year of high school Isom felt things had turned around for her. She got a scholarship to attend LSU to play soccer.  It was at this time she came across a piece scripture that changed her life.  According to Isom the scripture read, “Come to me if you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”.  It was shortly after discovering that verse when Isom felt the strength and courage to open up to her mother and explained the demons she had been battling.  Isom felt a weight lifted from her and was so grateful that her mother got her the help she needed with a counselor and nutritionist, but more importantly instilled in her that only way for her to be fully healed was to seek God.

With her life seemingly back on track, Isom headed off to LSU.  She shared that although her first year was challenging and filled with temptation that she began to give God the glory for her life. Isom described her freshman year as amazing. “My second game ever as a freshman I lined up to take a routine free kick after a hand ball and scored a 90 yard goal! It was surreal.  We wound up on SportsCenter top plays and also got other national recognition.  All my athletic dreams were coming to fruition.  I thought if this is what it means to be a Christian, I give God the glory and he rains down the blessings, what have I been doing?  This is fantastic!”

Just when Isom seemed to be on top of the world, her life came crashing down.  “I remember going home for Christmas break after that freshman year on cloud nine.  I felt untouchable, invincible!”  One night that all changed.  While Isom was at her parent’s home, her father never came home.  The family searched for him, but couldn’t find him.  He didn’t answer his phone and didn’t come home that night.  The next morning Isom’s mother discovered her husband had emailed her a suicided letter.  Letter in hand, the family left the home and went to his office try and stop the attempt.  It was there that three police discovered he had put a gun to his heart and committed suicide. 

January 3, 2009, was the day her father committed suicide and also the day Isom ran as fast and as far as she could from God.  She had lost all hope in God. 

Two weeks later Isom headed back to LSU.  Once there she faced depression, anxiety, promiscuity and what she described as, “Any sin sized piece she could find to fill the God sized hole in her heart.”

Once again, Isom noticed that is was the FCA people at LSU that kept coming around, just like in high school when she was struggling.  She said they were able to see past the mask she was putting up.  They kept asking how she was doing and coming around long after others stopped.  She recalled faces at funeral that she didn’t know and wondered why they were there. Later she discovered that they were in fact FCA leaders from LSU.  Once again, Isom didn’t really want much to do with them, or FCA, but acknowledged that this was more seed planting in her faith walk. 

According to Isom about a full year later she was headed back to her home in Atlanta from Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving break.  It was on that trip home that Isom thought she understood why her father did what he did, and felt that suicide was a viable option for her as well.  Isom shared her heartfelt cry to God.  “God if you are so real you have to do something.  I’m angry, I’m resentful, I’m frustrated, I’m exhausted, I’m worn thin.  Nothing as played out like I thought it would.  If you are real God, reveal yourself to me or just wreck my life and end it. I don’t want to live like this anymore!” 

Isom then exclaimed, “He will respond!”  As Isom was headed down the interstate at about 80 mph, she said God answered her.  Isom explained that she continued to cry out to God.  The steering wheel on the Jeep she was driving began jerking.  At that point she realized the vehicle was in the center median and the tires were caught in the grass.  Isom frantically attempted to get the Jeep back under control.  Instead the vehicle shot straight across the interstate.  It hit an embankment, flipped three times, and ended upside down in a ravine.  It was 1:30 am.  Isom was alone and physical broken suffering from broken ribs, damaged lungs, liver, jaw, face, and brain.  When Isom regained consciousness she was upside down hanging by her seat belt.  According to Isom it was at that time as she hung by her seat belt near the Alabama/Georgia State Line that she felt the Holy Spirit and presence of a living God flooded into the wreckage.  At the most physically broken state of her life, Isom claimed she heard God say to her, “Be still and know that I am God!”

That day she gave her life to Jesus.  After she recovered from the accident she returned to LSU.  Once again the FCA members were the first to come to her door.  From that day forward Isom shared that she was able to have a new outlook on life and resist the temptation to return to her sinful lifestyle.  “Suddenly all the seeds that had been planted by those FCA people, those Christians who were actually living differently. Who carried a lightness and a joy, were there to provide an accountability for me.  They became my best friends, and many still are today!” 

Isom went on to share that she lost many people who she thought were friends when she wouldn’t return to her sinful ways.  However, she gained not only friends, but family from the FCA members.

FCA is an important part of Isom’s life still today.  Throughout her presentation she lauded the positive impact that FCA has on students today.  She closed by challenging the students in attendance to go out and plant the seeds and be harvesters for God!

Following Isom’s heart wrenching and inspiring speech, the attendees were invited to invest in the mission of FCA and its students.  Thom Giguere asked to crowd to consider pledging to become FCA Home Team Members.  He used the analogy of giving the cost of a cup of coffee, or a meal a day to FCA.  Giguere added that if a financial gift to FCA wasn’t possible to please consider volunteering to help FCA or even praying for FCA.

Former FCA Huddle Leader North Central Graduate, Emma Zenz, then addressed the audience.  Emma is now a freshman at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  She attributes her calling into Youth Ministry to be due in large part to her experience in FCA.  She challenged the students and adult to accept God’s call minister to Him in any way they can. 

The moment had now arrived for the students to receive their well deserved recognition.  A total of 94 students from 50 schools were honored as FCA award winners.  Each student introduced themselves as they arrived upon the stage.  They each received a t-shirt, certificate, gift cards from different local eating establishments, as well as receiving a rock with a cross engraved on it. 

Before leaving the stage each student was challenged by Stump to go out and plant the seeds for the harvest in their schools and on their teams.  He challenged them to not give up and to remain strong and courageous in their mission.  To keep working an encouraging others, and continue the ripple effect wherever they are.

Prior to a posing for a large group photo, Rick Straley led everyone in the closing benediction and thanked everyone for coming.

Although the Champions Dinner generated funds to assist with the mission of the Buckeye Border FCA, the organization is still short of the goal of providing the funding necessary for the upcoming Leadership Camp and other financial needs for the year.  The camp will be held from July 13-17 at Camp Michindoh in Hillsdale, Michigan.  To find out more information about the Buckeye Border FCA, the Leadership Camp, to participate or sponsor the upcoming FCA Golf Outing, or to make a pledge, one that could help make the vision of FCA possible, please visit the organization’s website at www.bbfca.org or contact Rex Stump directly at 419-583-7013 or by email at rstump@fca.org.


© 2019, Kent Hutchison. All rights reserved.

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