Robert & April Brooks 642 Calann Drive, Elyria Ohio 44035
UPDATE: February/March 2016
Mom’s Night Out: April was presented with the opportunity to speak at Mom’s Night Out at Hope Church in Brunswick Ohio on February 4th. April spent the evening sharing a message entitled “Story Time For Moms” based on the truths of Romans 15:4. She related how the elements that make up a “good” story (characters, setting, plot, conflict and resolution) are often used in our lives to glorify God in our roles as parents and encouraged the women to remember that God is the Divine Author of all of our “stories”. Not only can He can be trusted to write our stories, but He has given us His words in the Scriptures to guide, encourage, and teach us along the way.
Super Bowl Breakfast 2016: With the off season in full swing, we are as busy as we are during the season. Although most of our time is not spent with the players or the coaches, we have taken advantage of opportunities to partner with other ministries to reach people with the gospel. We continued our relationship with our church family at Hope Church in Brunswick Ohio as they hosted our third Super Bowl Breakfast in four years. The breakfast is designed for men to have a time of fellowship while they enjoy a catered breakfast. At the end of the outreach, the gospel is shared in a way that affords them the opportunity to make a decision for Christ themselves. There were over 100 men in attendance including Hope Church Sr. Pastor Jim Garber. We enjoyed the food, Browns trivia questions, NFL video highlights, giveaways. Near the end of the outreach, I invited very special guest Dick Shafrath for a live interview. Mr. Shafrath is a Cleveland Browns legend who blocked for all-time favorite Cleveland Brown running back Jim Brown. It was a great privilege spending time with Mr. Shafrath this past year when he visited the Browns facility to have lunch with Jim Brown. During one of the lunches I was invited to, I discovered that Mr. Shafrath was a Christian. After sharing my role as team Chaplain, Mr. Shafrath wanted to know how he could help and I thought the SBB would be the perfect opportunity to have him come share his testimony. He shared his life story from being a farm boy in Wooster Ohio, to playing for Ohio State, to becoming a World Champion with the Cleveland Browns. Most importantly, he shared that he came to Jesus as Lord and Savior at the age of 70 (he’s 79 right now). The morning closed with a gospel presentation anyone who hadn’t made a decision for Christ was invited to pray and receive Him at that time. Although we have not heard that anyone gave their life to Christ, we’re sure that the outreach had an impact and God was glorified. We plan on partnering with our friends at Hope Church again next year for this outreach.
ODCS Basketball: I took on the challenge of coaching both the 5th & 6th grade boys’ basketball teams this year at Open Door Christian Schools (ODCS). Our son Caleb was a member of the 5th grade team so he was thrilled that his Dad was going to coach the team. Although football was my main sport, I have learned a few things about basketball and my passion is to motivate young athletes. Each practice began with a team devotion lesson and prayer followed by a rigorous practice filled with drills (shooting, defense, rebounding). Both teams had great success during the season with the 6th grade team finishing with 7 wins and 2 losses while the 5th grade team finished undefeated at 9-0. “Proud” doesn’t begin to describe how I felt about each of the kids in how they played but also how they responded to learning how to play for God. The boys were great students and I couldn’t be prouder of the boys for their effort, attitudes, and character. We are thankful for the opportunity to expand the influence of the AIA ministry to ODCS.
Wedding Bells: Spencer and Brittany were a couple who attended our couples Bible study for two years in Cleveland. However, Spencer was released from the team at the beginning of last season. They dated for years and were actually newly engaged at the time they left Cleveland. During the season they asked April and I if we would take them through premarital counseling and for me to perform the wedding ceremony. After much prayer and explaining to them the conditions by which we would agree to help, we said yes. Since they were in New York, our premarital counseling sessions were done via skype. April and I took them through Preparing for Marriage by Dennis Rainey for 5 weeks. They did a great job of experiencing a Biblical view of God’s design and intentions concerning marriage and agreed to apply theses principals in their marriage. April and I were flown to Saratoga Springs, NY on Friday, March 12th for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding ceremony on the following day. The ceremony went well and I was able to give a Christ-centered message near the beginning. This was done per Spencer and Brittany’s request. They said that they wanted their family and friends to hear a little of what they had learned from the Bible studies over the years with us in Cleveland. I shared that the couple had learned that true happiness is only found in a relationship that pursues God. From that, one can experience the peace of God, which comes from the presence of God, and lead to the discovering the promises of God. All of this is only found in an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. It was a privilege and honor to be included in this couples wedding day. We wished them well and reminded them that we will make ourselves available to them throughout their journey of marriage.
Grafton Adult Men’s Prison: Chaplain Ron Smith of the Grafton Ohio Prison gave me the opportunity to come and speak at their midweek Church service. Since there was room in the schedule on Tuesday nights, the invitation was accepted. Having worked in corrections for 5 years, I had the experience of working with prisoners before and welcomed this opportunity. Upon arrival, I met with a group of leaders accompanied by Chaplain Smith for prayer. The group prayed for God’s presence in the service and that many would attend. After two songs performed by the prison band, I shared a message from Mark 10:46-52 on circumstances, opportunity, and choices. At the close of the service, the invitation was given and we closed the service in prayer. The hope is that the message was clear, that their hearts were drawn to the gospel, and that the lost would surrender their lives to Christ. There were about 60 inmates in attendance of which I was honored to shake hands with and meet personally after the service. Chaplain Smith invited me back to serve as often as I desire, and my hope is to go back soon to speak again and bring a few believing team members with me.
Palm Sunday: We celebrated our first Palm Sunday at our new Church (Hope Community Church) with 12 Baptisms. Among the 12 was our ten year son Caleb. April and I are proud of his decision to follow Christ in Baptism and for his public profession of his faith. We also enjoyed the privilege of praying over our son and loving on him before the baptisms began. He wrote and boldly read his testimony in front of the congregation before he was baptized. You can see pictures and a video of this portion of the service on April’s Facebook page (April Dow Brooks). Caleb is the third of our five children to be baptized. Praise the Lord for our son and his faith in Him!