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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Klein, Spani speak to local students

  • Collin Klein and Gary Spani spoke to the Moundridge and Inman communities Sunday about their faith.
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  • Collin Klein and Gary Spani spoke to the Moundridge and Inman communities Sunday about their faith.
    The event was organized by the Moundridge Fellowship of Christian Athletes as an effort to increase student interest in the program.
    Klein is a former Kansas State University quarterback, a Heisman Trophy finalist and is anticipated to be selected in the NFL draft this weekend.
    Spani was a 2003 inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame and a former linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs.
    Also attending was Shalin Klein, wife of Collin and daughter of Spani. She is a former basketball player for K-State.
    All three spoke to about 50 local Fellowship of Christian Athletes students during a meal Sunday evening. Afterward, Collin Klein and Spani spoke to a larger community audience.
    “I feel it was a great event for the community and our students,” Vania Winsor, Moundridge Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor, said, adding students were still talking about it days later. “I think it was a positive thing for them.”
    During the meal and discussion time, the guests answered various questions.
    Spani gave advice regarding women in today’s world, as he is the father of five daughters. He also discussed standing up for what’s right.
    Collin and Shalin discussed their relationship and journey to marriage. Shalin stressed, in a relationship, it is important to know where a person’s heart is.
    “It was neat for the kids to be able to get their perspective on some things,” Winsor said. “They get to see there are role models out there who don’t do bad things, and I think that’s really important.”
    During the larger community event, both Spani and Collin Klein discussed how their faith in God has changed their life for the better.
    For Spani, his football career was and continues to be a platform to share his faith.
    “We’ve got to stand up in our faith,” he said. “It’s not easy in today’s world.”
    He used the example from the Bible of how David, a small shepherd, defeated Goliath, an enemy combatant, with just a sling and a stone.
    “Just take what you have and use it for God,” he said. “We’re all called to take what we have and stand up in our faith in hard times.”
    Klein shared the links between his athletic and spiritual life.
    “As I heard more of what a follower of Christ looks like, I started to develop a habit of doing things for the wrong reasons,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’m going to do all the right things and get all the right results.’”
    Page 2 of 2 - However, as his football career at K-State progressed, he wasn’t getting the results he wanted — time was running out for him to be a starting quarterback. He thought he had surrendered his plans to God but realized there was more to give up.
    “That’s when I finally broke, and that’s when I really said, ‘Lord, whatever you want.’ At that point, I learned what surrender really looked like.
    “I look back and I know, if those things wouldn’t have happened, I wouldn’t have been prepared,” he said. “God is preparing you for something. It’s not a success story. It’s a God story.”
    Tiffany Huxman, a senior and president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said the athletes’ messages moved her and she thought they moved everyone who heard it.
    “I was reassured that God has a plan for me, and you can do anything with Christ,” she said.
    The family’s visit came about because the son of a Moundridge teacher works with the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as Spani.
    Winsor said their visit helped spark additional interest in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
    “I hope it can be an outreach, and I guess we’ll see in the future,” she said. “You never know what seeds are planted. Hopefully, it will do the things we want it to do.”
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel

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