Monday, September 23, 2013

Football Fellowship at Mexico Baptist

Travis Gilbert looks at his parents, Brad and Valerie Gilbert,
 as he thanks them for his upbringing in faith.
Former NFL offensive lineman Shawn Harper was the guest speaker at last night's annual Football Fellowship hosted by Mexico Baptist Church. Rocket QB Travis Gilbert also spoke, giving his testimony to more than 200 in attendance.

Harper played collegiately at Indiana University and spent eight years as a professional football player, mostly with the Colts and Rams. He bench presses more than 500 pounds, but says God had a greater plan for him than the NFL. He is now a faith-based speaker who travels across the country giving his testimony. He also is a spokesperson and board member for the Salvation Army.

He admitted being a poor student in high school and quipped that marrying the valedictorian of his class helped him put better sentences together.

"As a child I had a drug problem," he told those attending the event. "My mom drug me to church every Sunday. She drug me to church every Wednesday and every Sunday night, too."

Although he says religion has been a part of his life since childhood, he didn't really trust that God was in control until an injury threatened his pro football career.

Gilbert discussed his evolution as a Christian in front of a packed house that included his high school teammates and coaches.

"It takes a strong person to stand here in front of their peers and talk about those things," said Nathan Boone, a member of the church.

One United, a local praise band, was also part of the program as was a meal provided by the church located in rural Crittenden County.

Shawn Harper and his son pose with the Rocket football team and cheerleaders.