Lane Knost is just the type of person which fits the mold for Athletes in Action.
The former Williamstown wide receiver recently joined a dozen individuals on a nine-day mission trip to Mexico. They visited two campuses highly regarded in their country for football.
The Universidad de las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) is a private university located in San Andres Cholula, Puebla. Knost and the rest of the American contingent also traveled to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, and spent time with students at the Monterrey Institute of Technology.
"American football is growing in Mexico," Knost said. "The schools we visited could potentially compete with teams in the United States. They like to play. They're learning and learning fast.
"The coach at UDLAP is like the Nick Saban of the United States. We were able to give them insight and the perception of why football is so big in America."
Knost made quite an impression with his peers with the way he stepped forward and delivered the message Athletes in Action (AIA) is trying to instill. The platform for Athletes in Action is to help people answer questions of faith and point them to Jesus.
"We had to be careful because we weren't allowed to openly share the gospel unless someone asked us a question," said Tyler Warner, a former placekicker at Parkersburg High School and Marshall University who accompanied the group to Mexico. "Lane was able to incorporate his story and sort of twist in the gospel a little bit without then really noticing or letting on to us."
The speech required a translator, but Knost managed. He also practiced with the Mexican football teams, running routes and teaching them the finer points of being a receiver.
Knost became involved with AIA after meeting Warner during a presentation at the Elite Sports Center. With two semesters remaining at Kentucky Christian, Knost is pondering the idea of joining the organization on a more permanent basis.
One method would be through STINT-ing (Short Term International Assignment) and spending up to a year in another country. Returning to Mexico would be one option.
"I would be on campus as a minister and work with a sport," Knost said. "I would be a football guy trying to reach through to the players."
If the decision turns out to be Mexico, Knost might want to brush up on his Spanish even though he was picking up the language as the trip came to a close.
"I had a C-plus in Spanish in high school - I wished I would have paid attention a little more," Knost said. "There were key phrases I knew and picked up. The people there were able to help me. They are so patient. They are family-oriented and care for one another.
"I loved it in Mexico. If that is what God is calling me to do, I'll do it. Being there was eye-opening. They definitely need some men over there to help them spiritually. If I'm the guy to do it, I'll do the best I can."
On the football field, Knost is nearly fully recovered from his hernia surgery earlier this year. In the fall, he will be entering his fourth year of starting for Kentucky Christian.
Last year, expectations were high following a 7-4 campaign which left the Knights ranked in the top 25 in the country for NAIA. However, a rash of injuries at quarterback forced the team to use six individuals at the position and by season's end they finished 3-8.
"Offensively, we struggled so much we didn't have a guy who could stay healthy at quarterback," Knost said. "This year, our top two quarterbacks are back. Plus, our spring game was really encouraging."
Academically, Knost turned in his highest grade-point average to date during his junior year. As for his senior year, he has plenty of soul-searching in store.
"I'm thinking about STINT-ing overseas or in Mexico and being a light over there," Knost said. "I've been praying about that and seeing what God wants me to do. Someday, I would like to join Athletes in Action whether it is through campus ministry, STINT-ing or joining staff.
"I have another year of college and this year will tell a lot."
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org