Sports open doors
Barret was born in Estevan, SK two hours southeast of Moose Jaw. He and his wife have been married for 31 years and from day one they’ve always wanted to use sport as a platform to tell other people about Jesus. So using hockey they’ve been able to go around the world, as well as in Canada, and seek people to come to know Jesus. Sport is a language that is spoken everywhere. It doesn’t matter what language we speak.
They always coach from the perspective of “Sport is joyful, God’s given us bodies to honor him with, so let’s find joy in the sport and find out the purpose”. They’re here to help raise up leaders not toil down leaders.
Barret goes a lot further by helping young men and young women to understand their purposes and their identity in “Who God is” and what he created them to do, he helps them find joy in that. And when kids do that they love playing their sport, they can play the sport with freedom and they are not tense and nervous.
In Briercrest Christian Academy high school, Barret is helping the players on the minor hockey teams to get ready to play higher-level hockey. More than that, he is helping players to focus on God and to balance their lives physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. They can be the light of the world by using hockey on a much vaster stage.
Barret has more than 30 years of sports missionary experience through hockey coaching, in places such as the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, and Kazakhstan. When Barret and his family got diplomatic visas to the Czech Republic, he knew that God had removed the obstacles and made straight paths for him. It was a really good lesson he gained the power of sport and how sport opened doors.
When he and his team visited Kazakhstan in 1998, they signed an agreement with the government that they would bring teams there to Canada every other year to give them a chance to see what’s like hockey in Canada and learn about our cultures. It was in 2006 that Barren brought a Kazakhstan team to Saskatchewan in the middle of winter and played with Moose Jaw and Regina teams. This guy was the player who made commitments to the Lord with several families on the team in Kazakhstan. After a couple of years of walking with him, Barren was so glad to see that he became a really professional hockey player on the national team in Kazakhstan. And this is him when we played in the world championships in 2019, he gave me his jersey. This could be like a fruit 25 years later.
In 2001, they had some scary experiences in Kazakhstan. They got robbed and a bunch of stuff. But when they were there in Ester, they did a drama performing the death and resurrection of Jesus. There was in the form of Soviet power so there was the image of no talking about Jesus. Even then, there were hundreds of people responded to the gospel that day.
Another powerful thing is when he takes a team to other countries in the world, he gets them out of their comfort zone to sit down with players from other countries. Kids see the struggles of the people, they begin to understand world politics and dynamics. When they come back here, now they become reflective when they think “I’m spoiled. I need to give more to my church, I need to give back to my community, I need to volunteer more, I need to give more serious on my faith”. The experience in Kazakhstan in 2001 changed Dave’s life. Dave was 18 years old at that time. He saw so many people were chosen by God and lost his mind and think “ Wow, we can come over here to make this difference what we do same back home. That’s the difference we can make here.” That’s why he can open his places like here to the people traveling on the No1.