Sarah Beckham [+ -]
Sarah has an undeniable passion for seeing hearts set ablaze with the love Christ. This passion has fueled her to always take massive leaps of faith. Fortunately these leaps of faith have led her to work full-time for SportQuest and be right in the perfect will of God. Sarah traveled on her first SQ Expedition to Belgium in 2011. In 2012, God called her back to travel with SQ to Belgium and London. The following year, Sarah’s role with SQ grew to a greater capacity when she accepted a leadership role and served as a summer intern and Expedition leader for the 2013 SQ Indy and SQ Belgium projects.
Sarah attended Mount San Antonio Community College, in SoCal, from 2011-2013. While attending Mount SAC, she was a two time State Champion with the Women’s Basketball team and received her Associates of Arts Degree in Communication. After being offered many college athletic scholarships, she was planning to transfer to a four-year university, complete her Bachelor's Degree and continue her collegiate basketball career. However, God had different plans! She turned down the scholarships, left the sunny hills of Southern California, and answered the call to work full-time with SportQuest in Indiana for a year. Throughout the year Sarah will not only be in training for effective, kingdom building sport ministry; but she will be athletically training with SQ staff member George Milsap in hopes of obtaining another basketball scholarship and returning to school in Fall 2014.
Debbie Cutshall [+ -]
Debbie counted on church and sports as her way out of a broken and rough family life. Debbie has always had a passion for sports. She played every sport possible through junior high and high school, but chose volleyball as her main focus. Debbie received a volleyball scholarship to King College in Tennessee. Debbie excelled in her volleyball collegiate career at King where she received NAIA and NCCAA All-American awards, various Player of the Year awards, and many more notable accomplishments. Debbie’s #14 jersey was retired in 1995 and in 2008 she was inducted into the King College Hall of Fame. While volleyball was a passion at King, she had a bigger passion for missions and participated in mission trips to inner city Philadelphia, PA and Kiev, Ukraine. It was this passion for missions that fueled her future life in sport ministry.
Debbie was the head volleyball coach at Milligan College from 1995-2002. While at Milligan, Debbie took a team to the NAIA Tournament and received Coach of the Year awards. In 2002, Debbie decided to put her coaching career on hold to focus on her now growing family at home.
Debbie’s SportQuest journey began in the summer of 2005. She traveled to Belgium to help lead the volleyball team. After that summer, Debbie stayed in contact with Kent and Michelle Susud through updates and always felt a strong connection with SportQuest. Debbie traveled to Baton Rouge in 2012. It was then that God began to work and prepare her heart for a future with SportQuest. In the spring of 2013, God revealed how He was paving a way for Debbie to be full time with SportQuest. At that time, she was working to complete her MA in Sports Man agement through Liberty University. In the summer of 2013, with her degree and extended knowledge in hand, Debbie traveled to Baton Rouge and Indianapolis with her family in tow. Thus beginning her SportQuest journey with her family.
Debbie currently lives in Tennessee with her husband Terry and they have five children, Mackenzie, Jeremiah, Ella, Mollee, and Cooper. Debbie’s passion is to follow God fully and serve Him. Debbie loves her family and is excited to see where God is leading their family as she serves full time with SportQuest. Debbie primary focus with SportQuest will be on high school and college recruiting and partnerships for the SQ Expeditions along with developing effective coaching strategies for the SQ sport camps. She brings much experience and first hand knowledge to the team.
Tony Gongaware [+ -]
Born in New Mexico but raised outside Chicago, Illinois, Tony grew up playing every sport that involved a ball. An avid athlete, at a young age, Tony developed a love for sport and a love for God.
In the summer of 2010, Tony traveled with SportQuest to Belgium and had a life changing experience. He stated, “Watching how sports were able to transcend all cultural differences as a means of sharing the Gospel was incredible!”
Tony’s passion for using sports as a platform for ministry comes from his own story of Jesus’ saving grace in his life. As a high school athlete, he let sports become his only source of identity. But when his physical abilities were taken away from him for a year because of a bacterial infection in his lower back, he came to the realization that trusting in anything other than Christ was an empty hope. Tony feels so blessed that God is now allowing him to use the same thing he once treated as an idol to reach people for Jesus.
On June 22, 2013, Tony married his best friend, Steph. They love doing anything active together. Tony has a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Education from Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. He worked for almost three years as a Youth Director at Vermont Street United Methodist Church in Quincy, IL. While Tony is willing to jump in and play just about any sport, his favorites are definitely golf and baseball.
Tony brings much strength to the Indy office team including a strong work ethic and organizational giftedness. He has his hand in all three SQ Initiatives: SQ Expeditions, the PWP Scholarship Program, and the 4th Musketeer.
Joy Leichtfuss [+ -]
Joy is originally from San Diego, California and coached our first volleyball team to Belgium in the summer of 2001. Joy has been a part of SQ since shortly after her return, convincing her energetic, outdoor-loving husband Seth to leave San Diego and move to Lawton, OK to become the first full-time staff to join SQ founder Kent Susud. Joy represents the heart of the ministry as she passionately lives a life of faith, willing to go wherever God leads. Joy's an unshakeable dreamer with a lengthy to-do list for her life. Her hearts desire is to someday live among an unreached people group and translate the Bible into their spoken language.
Joy has led SQ trips to California, Belgium, and Greece. After spending several summers in Belgium, Joy fell in love with the Belgian people and in 2006, she and Seth moved to Belgium as SQ missionaries. While in Belgium, Joy served as the follow-up director for SportQuest Belgium. This included writing curriculum to be used for various youth programs and Bible studies throughout Belgium, organizing and leading small group Bible studies, and working closely with partner churches to raise up new leaders for future youth ministry.
Joy has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from San Diego Christian College, and played volleyball there. Joy loves her family and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart Seth and her two boys, Levi (July 2005) and Ethan (Jan. 2008), and her girl, Juliana (May 2010). She enjoys playing volleyball, reading, writing, and studying languages.
Seth Leichtfuss [+ -]
Seth, a.k.a. BIG KAHUNA (the best dude on the beach), was born in the OC and raised in Southern California. Seth joined the SQ team back in 2002 with his wife Joy. Somehow Joy convinced Seth to move from sunny SoCal to southwest Oklahoma to become the first full-time staff to join founder Kent Susud.
Since 2002, Seth has led SQ ministry projects to Indiana, California, Belgium, Greece, and Ireland. Seth recently returned to Southern California after five years in Belgium. While in Belgium Seth's passion was to see young people become committed followers of Christ. With a heart for discipleship, Seth led Bible studies with local youth and organized SQ projects throughout the year in multiple cities, sharing Christ through sport. Most importantly, Seth tackles important details like finding the best Frituur in all of Belgium. Seth has a true servant’s heart and a unique ability to solve complex challenges. He loves to laugh and make others laugh.
Seth has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from California State University, San Marcos. Seth is the proud father of two boys, Levi (July 2005) and Ethan (Jan. 2008), and one girl, Juliana (May 2010). In addition to surfing, Seth enjoys snowboarding, rock climbing, basketball, photography, and playing guitar. Since living in Belgium, Seth has learned Flemish and sometimes even acts like a Belgian, especially when it comes to eating chocolate and waffles!
George Milsap [+ -]
A former Division I College Basketball athlete, George brings experience and passion to SportQuest. George and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Camron (9) and Arianna (3) and live in the Indianapolis area. George is the founder of Foundations Sports Training & Fitness (FSTF) and partners with SportQuest in the area of basketball and fitness training. FSTF works with individuals, families, organizations, businesses, schools, ministries, and government programs in the areas of personal development including but not limited to athletic training, personal training, physical, health and nutrition education, and sports management. George works with all ages and level of athletes, from the brand new to the seasoned pro. He has trained athletes preparing to play at a professional level. George's passion comes from the understanding that before a person can become a high level athlete, they must first establish a foundation by building and training their mind and body to excel on the playing field and beyond.
George has led basketball camps with SportQuest in Indianapolis (2011, 2012) and Moldova (2012.) He has a huge servants heart and a desire to see youth succeed and reach their ultimate potential. George is also working with SportQuest to develop an Indianapolis based basketball academy that will develop athletes physically, mentally and spiritually. Some of the many certifications George has secured include: S.P.A.R.Q. Amateur/Pro Sports Basketball Skills Trainer, National Endurance Sports Training, N.E.S.T.A. Certified Circuit Trainer/Instructor, Weight Management Specialist, Functional Training Specialist, ASFA Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Specific Trainer and Child Obesity Specialist.
Carmen Minten [+ -]
Carmen was born and raised in Belgium. She received a Bachelors degree in Marketing in 2013, and one year later, a teaching degree. After these academic accomplishments, her one remaining desire was to serve the Lord. For this reason, she traveled to America to serve as a full time volunteer with SportQuest for five months. Carmen's academic background and expertise will serve as a huge benefit to the Indy office during these five months.
Carmen first learned of SportQuest in 2012. In the summer of 2013, she joined the SportQuest team as an athlete to serve in the Belgium project. Immediately, she was impressed by the way SportQuest brings young people together. Her passion and understanding of using sport ministry to share the gospel and unite fellow believers was ignited.
Carmen loves to dance and friends and family are very important for her. Her only desire for the future is to serve the Lord and to bring young adult Christians together.
Kris Patel [+ -]
Born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Kris moved at the age of 11 years old to Lisbon, Portugal. Kris is the textbook definition of a "Third Culture Kid" – slightly misplaced, while perfectly at home in a variety of countries. Kris eventually moved to Connecticut, then to Georgia, then to Texas, and most recently to Indianapolis, IN.
After traveling with SQ in 2005 and 2007, Kris took the plunge and joined the SportQuest team in November of 2007. Kris traveled to Belgium from 2007-2010 encouraging SQ teams, loving on kids, leading worship, playing basketball, missing 3 pointer after 3 pointer, and doing what he does best…building friendships that will last a lifetime. Kris, the ultimate relationship builder, has yet to meet someone he wouldn’t call “friend.” Not a day goes by without Kris praying for and encouraging our SQ alumni and team members. Kris has an amazing testimony on the cost of following Christ. He is extremely loyal and committed to the Lord and SportQuest.
Kris serves as the SportQuest Playing With Purpose Scholarship Coordinator and Alumni Director. Most recently Kris has helped establish the Golf program within SportQuest. He co-led the first ever SQ golf team to Ireland in 2011.
Kris graduated from Hardin Simmons University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. While attending Hardin Simmons, Kris played Varsity Golf. In addition to golf, his hobbies include playing and watching sports, strumming his guitar, writing and listening to music, and "kickin it" with friends.
Casper Steenkamp [+ -]
Casper is more than just a friendly ghost. In fact, he’s a born and bred South African with a crazy passion to make disciples of all nations through the language of sports, specifically the worldwide known language of tennis. He actually first came to the States because of his talents on the tennis court, playing for Texas Tech University and then Abilene Christian University. After graduating, he believed God told him to quit playing tennis even though he had a desire to play professionally since he was a young child. He obeyed God at this time. However, after years of prayer and an intense month of sports ministry leadership training in Egypt that changed his life, Casper was called to get back on the court.
Kent Susud [+ -]
We know him affectionately as "The Tractor." A visionary, advancer, and mobilizer to the core, Kent walked away from a promising career in 1998 with a prominent sports marketing and travel company to follow a dream that God placed in his heart. As the founder and leader of SportQuest Ministries, Kent’s vision, leadership, encouragement, and passion keeps everyone motivated and “on mission” for God.
After traveling the globe to over thirty countries (including twenty-seven stops to Paris, France), Kent has developed a keen cultural awareness. He has the ability to fit into practically any country and people group and embrace people from all nations. Kent works diligently to pursue and deepen relationships that God has placed around him. His God-given wisdom and discernment allows him to accurately foresee problems and solve them in a loving, God-honoring way.
What some see as barriers, Kent sees as challenges to be overcome. Kent has a God-sized heart for ministry. He is committed to the calling that God has placed on his life to inspire and equip high-potential, high-impact sport ministry leaders around the world to fulfill their God given vision. He humbly serves and unselfishly gives of his time, talents, and treasure to further the Kingdom of God.
Though Kent is busy wearing many SportQuest hats, none are more important than donning his "husband and dad" hat for his beautiful wife and best friend, Michelle, and their three children: Jacob (2001), Luke (2002), and Holland (2006).
Michelle Susud [+ -]
Michelle is married to her best friend and partner in ministry, SQ founder, Kent Susud. Michelle wears the Director of Administration, HR and Finance hats for SQ. She also owns her own Juice Plus+ Virtual Franchise. But most importantly, Michelle’s favorite role is that of a domestic engineer. She joyfully fulfills this role by being a loving and devoted wife and a proud mother to Jacob (2001), Luke (2002), and Holland (2006.)
Danielle Thomas [+ -]
Danielle is a self-proclaimed professional juggler (of activities, that is). After growing up in Kentucky, she felt called into missions and went to Milligan College (a Christian liberal arts school) in Tennessee. After graduating from Milligan in 2010 with degrees in Humanities and Sociology and a minor in French, she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to begin working on a Masters/PhD in Sociology. She has no clue how God is going to use a Sociology PhD on the missions field, but she knows He will!
Danielle is proud of her nerdishness as well as her athletic history. She played soccer and softball in high school and intended to play softball in college before losing her scholarship to injury. Although her competitive sports career came to a premature end, she has been travelling with SportQuest since 2006 and has discovered a passion for sharing the gospel through any means possible, but especially through sports!
Besides school, Danielle has become a member at The Chapel on the Campus in Baton Rouge and a Bible study leader in their small groups and Young Professionals ministry. She babysits for several families regularly, does A LOT of schoolwork, exercises sort-of regularly (swimming and biking mostly), and spends as much time as possible building relationships and being social. She is amazed each and every day that the Lord helps her find time and strength to balance academics, a social life, and her relationship with Christ, and that He continues to open doors for her to pursue missions. She is learning that a calling into missions is a calling to live each and every day faithfully and missionally. Since 2006, Danielle has travelled with SportQuest twice to Ireland, once to Belgium, and twice to Indianapolis, and she interned in the Indianapolis office for several weeks one in the summer of 2011. Through SportQuest, the Lord planted a vision in Danielle’s heart to see the gospel carried to the nations AND to her local community, and she is SUPER EXCITED to be coordinating a SportQuest project in Baton Rouge for summer 2012 (and hopefully many more years to come!)
Kevin Verstraeten [+ -]
Growing up in the small country of Belgium, Kevin quickly realized his passion for sports. He started playing basketball when he was nine years old and little did he know; this would be the portal to so many amazing experiences in his life. At the age of 15, his best friend, Wouter, invited him to attend a basketball camp. He attended his first SportQuest Basketball camp in his hometown city of Genk. Determined to defeat the American coaches in their own sport, he worked hard every day to show off his skills and prove his greater abilities. The second day of camp he received the Camper of the Day Award and a high school t-shirt from the camp coach, Rance (this same shirt still hangs in his room today.) From this point on, Kevin sparked an interest in getting to know the camp coaches and understand what was so special and different about these people. On the last day of camp at SportQuest Night, he discovered the one thing these athletes had that he didn't - it was Jesus!
When the SportQuest team shared the Gospel that night, they invited those who wanted to know Christ to come forward. Kevin was the only camper to courageously stand up and acknowledge his need for a Savior. He bravely walked up to his best friend Wouter and together with the SQ coaches, Kevin prayed to receive Christ. This would be the start of an incredible journey for Kevin.
During the following year, Kevin experienced a great deal of injuries in basketball and struggles in life. That next summer, God pulled Kevin back to the summer SQ camp. Throughout the week, he began to experience healing in his life. Miraculously, his own brothers also started asking him questions about Jesus. It was at this moment that God broke Kevin down completely and revealed the purpose for his life; sharing Christ's love through sports.
Since 2003, Kevin has never missed a SportQuest summer outreach. Over the past few years, Kevin has served as a Basketball Team leader and participated in the inaugural Indianapolis and Lubbock SQ outreaches. In 2010, Kevin was invited to serve as an intern at the SportQuest office in Indianapolis. He began his supposed year-long internship in July 2010.
A week after he moved to America, Kevin met the love of his life, Jenni, and in February 2011 they were married. To Kevin, this was a sign that he was going to continue to work for SportQuest as a full time team member. So when given the opportunity, he gladly accepted. In August 2011, Kevin received his green card! Kevin enthusiastically shares his story with athletes interested in joining a SQ outreach. He serves as the SportQuest Expeditions Coordinator.
Rance Bland [+ -]
Rance and Stacy were married in 2006 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the past six years, they have served as youth pastors at City View Christian Fellowship in Lubbock, Texas. In 2012, they joined the SportQuest team full-time and will move to Belgium in June 2012.
Stacy Bland [+ -]
Rance and Stacy were married in 2006 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the past six years, they have served as youth pastors at City View Christian Fellowship in Lubbock, Texas. In 2012, they joined the SportQuest team full-time and will move to Belgium in June 2012.
Sarah Elshout [+ -]
Sarah grew up in Tongeren, the oldest city in Belgium. She graduated from the University of Hasselt in 2007 and received a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics and later, another master’s degree in Healthcare Management in 2008. While studying, Sarah was an avid soccer player. Sarah currently works at the University of Hasselt as a teacher and researcher. Her evenings and weekends are filled with spending time with her husband, leading her church youth group and working for Sportquest. Sarah has a knack for perfection and operates in absolute certainties. Her amazing attention to detail keeps the SportQuest Belgium team operating effectively, efficiently, and professionally.
Sarah enjoys soccer, squash, snowboarding, skiing, traveling, worship and spending time with her friends. Sarah first joined SQ as an athlete in 2006, then served as an assistant team leader in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, Sarah jumped into the deep end to serve as a team leader in Belgium. Sarah continues to play an important role on the SQ Belgium leadership team in operations and communication with the partnering Belgian churches.
Kurt Maeyens [+ -]
Everybody in Belgium knows Kurt Maeyens, and to know him truly is to love him. Kurt, husband of Fokkeline and father to 4 children (Liesbeth, Samuel, Nathan and Eunike), first met Kent in 2000, and an instant bond of friendship was formed. Kurt is a full-time missionary in his own country, and he has been instrumental in helping carve a niche for SportQuest in Belgium. He has also guided the formation of the SportQuest Belgium Team which runs all of the daily operations of SportQuest in Belgium. In addition to his work with SportQuest, Kurt works as a youth pastor for the Evangelical Church in Aalst. He is also active as a regional youth worker in Belgium, and helps to train youth pastors and youth workers. Although Kurt leads a very busy life, he is always available for counsel or prayer when you need it. We are blessed that Kurt is part of our team!
Jennifer Rhea [+ -]
A woman of (seemingly) few words, Jennifer's heart, deep love for God, and her desire to serve Him wherever He calls her, led Jennifer to move to Belgium in July, 2011. An unapologetic Okie, Jennifer loves all things Oklahoma, which include an undying devotion to her Alma Mater, the Oklahoma University Sooners. She graduated from OU with a degree in Health and Exercise Science. A native Lawtonian, Jennifer first traveled with SportQuest's basketball team in 2000 to Ireland as a high school Senior. Once SportQuest got in her blood, she never could be quite free of it. Over the next eleven years she traveled on six more SportQuest Expeditions. She even found herself working for a year in the SportQuest office after graduating from college. In 2010, Kent approached her about serving long-term in Belgium, and after much prayer and preparation, she dove in. Jennifer has filled a much-needed role in the SportQuest Belgium team, and her Flemish is rapidly improving! When she is not studying Flemish, drinking coffee, or searching for a place to watch OU sports online, you can find Jennifer practicing guitar.
Christiaan van Dorp [+ -]
Known affectionately as the Beast from the East… East Flanders that is, Christiaan has grown up with SportQuest in Belgium. In 2005 at the tender age of 15, he started his SportQuest career, first as a participant in the sport camps, and now leading teams. Christiaan is also a youth leader in his church and has helped co-ordinate SportQuest projects and follow-up in Geraardsbergen (aka G-town) and Brakel. As a member of the SportQuest Belgium Leadership team, he is responsible for communications with Belgian SportQuest athletes.
Costa Rica Team
Cesar and Irela Rodriguez [+ -]
Cesar grew up playing sports but dedicated himself primarily to the game of volleyball. As a young person, volleyball became a god in his life. However, during his first year of college, a coach shared with him about a God who had a wonderful plan for his life. In 1997, Jesus completely changed Cesar.
Cesar went on to complete his degree in physical education and sports. At the time, he didn't realize that his college degree was part of God’s plan to prepare him for sport ministry. In 2002, God showed Cesar how he could use sports to glorify the Lord. Then in 2004, God also gave him a beautiful wife and partner in ministry. Together, for the past six years, Cesar and Irela have been serving the Lord in full-time sports ministry in their country of Costa Rica and all throughout the Latin American region.
Cesar and Irela have two passions: to share God's love with children and young people through sport and to disciple young people and train and equip the next generation of leaders in Latin America to continue in sports ministry in every country and every city. They have two children, Matias (2008) and Lucia (2012).
Mike and Shannon Grinder [+ -]
Michael & Shannon have been happily married for the past five years. Their new addition to the family, a baby boy Josiah Ishmael, does not stop smiling! Michael & Shannon met while studying at Simpson University in Redding, California. They both have a passion for different cultures and people groups around the world. Before getting married, they had a race to see who could visit the most countries. Now they travel together and enjoy the new adventures of expanding the Kingdom of God together.
Shannon wears multiple hats; one as an elementary educator and another as a wife and mother. She has taught both in the states and aboard in Korea and Palestine. Her passion for travel sparked an interest to serve on mission trips to Mexico, Philippines, and Ukraine. Now instead of educating young mischievous minds, she is a full-time, stay at home mom to Josiah. She hopes to teach again in future but is thankful for this season of life.
Mike stays busy playing basketball and coaching but his greatest love comes from being a husband and father. Mike's passion for athletics has taken him around the world. His first exposure to sports ministry began with a basketball trip to Uganda with AIA. Since then he has toured and played in Brazil, New Zealand, England, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine, Guatemala, and Macedonia. For the past two and a half years, Mike and Shannon lived in Palestine where Mike served as a coach and worked with local organizations to develop basketball programs.
Mike and Shannon will move to Moldova in September 2012 to work alongside Nick & Uliana Morari to develop a basketball academy that will serve Moldova and eastern Europe.
Nicolai and Uliana Morari [+ -]
A new addition to the SQ family, Nick and Uliana join us from their hometown of Kishinev, Moldova. With a desire to influence the influencers, Nick and Uliana will develop SQ in Moldova with a ministry to professional athletes, coaches, and officials. In addition to their work at the professional level, a strategy is being developed to partner with local churches and reach the youth in Moldova through sport camps and clinics.
Nick and Uliana make the perfect team with a heart for discipling new believers in the world of sport. Uliana studied and played volleyball at the Academy of Economic Science, while Nick graduated in 2001 from Moldova Bible Seminary. During Nick’s second year attending Bible Seminary, he started "The Race" sports ministry at Kishinev Bible Church with the focus of evangelism and discipleship for children and youth. In 2002, Nick brought his sports ministry under the umbrella of Athletes in Action (Campus Crusade for Christ) and his ministry expanded to reach adults in the professional and semi-professional arena. In 2003, Nick and Uliana met during the first Athletes in Action conference in Moldova and were married in 2005. Nick and Uliana have two children, Nicolai (3) and Anastasia (1).
Having traveled the globe as ministers through sport, Nick and Uliana understand that in any language, many athletes hide behind titles and achievements. Their purpose is to help these athletes discover who they were created to be by sharing the love and grace of God.
Lawson Sampson [+ -]
Lawson suffered terribly as an orphan while growing up in Nigeria, at times death seemed better than life. However, God in His infinite mercy sustained him and kept him alive because His purpose for bringing him into the world was not yet accomplished.
Andriy Petrenko [+ -]
Andrey Petrenko is a former professional soccer player who received a calling to work in sports ministry when he was 18 years old. Andrey trained in South Africa with the International Sports Leadership School from July 2010-October 2010, where he developed leadership skills, received training in effective team building, and immersed himself with God’s teachings of obedience, humility and selflessness.