Students representing the various schools gathered at Field of Faith each touch part of a book, symbolizing their unity and “playing from the same playbook of faith.”

A young boy listens to FOF speakers from his dad’s shoulders.

Several high school students from a variety of area schools shared testimonies of their journeys of faith at the annual Fields of Faith event at the Union High School football field in La Porte City.

The local event is part of the national Fields of Faith movement, a project of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Union student Grace Walker shared her goal of being a missionary, and told about her trip to Haiti last summer. She also spoke about how her faith has helped her through difficult times including her brother’s stroke at age 25. Other students spoke about overcoming the challenges of abuse, the challenge of being born to parents in jail, as well as the challenges that athletes face.

Carlie Hoppe shares her story of faith following a fire in which her family lost everything.

Grace Walker spoke of her mission work in Haiit and how faith helped her overcome other challenges.

Adult speaker Mike DeJong told the audience how that despite being raised by parents who had sent him to a Christian school in western Iowa, he eventually chose a life that included smoking, alcohol and drugs. He shared his story of how faith helped him to replace those choices with more positive ones.

Union has had an FCA huddle for the past several years. A few students and staff at Vinton-Shellsburg are working to organize one at VS.

Participants included several students and a few adults.

Lauren Harrigan sings as students file in for the annual Fields of Faith event at Union.

Student Lauren Harrigan of Union sang a few songs as the students gathered near midfield. Along with Grace Walker, UHS student Carlie Hoppe also spoke, sharing the story of how losing everything in a fire recently affected her faith, and how she overcame the challenges of recovering from the fire, and the depression that followed it.

Several Center Point-Urbana students, along with many from Linn-Mar and North Tama’s BASIC group, also spoke. NT BASIC leader Craig Greiner served as MC.

Carl Gonder, the Eastern Iowa Area Director of FCA, attended the Union event, as he has in previous years. Gonder, the son of legendary WMT sports broadcaster Ron Gonder, who did play-by-play for U of Iowa sports games for decades, has observed the growth of teen ministry as well as individual personal development of the faith of any students.

“I think more kids every year are being touched by the Lord in a variety of ways,” says Gonder. “Because it has become more ‘real’ to some students, they have become more bold in sharing their faith and in sharing how God has changed their lives or helped them through difficult circumstances. There were some really powerful testimonies at this year’s Fields of Faith event at Union High School. I’m excited to see how the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and events like Fields of Faith are being used to impact the lives of many young people throughout Eastern Iowa.”

Knox Blocks donation

Knox Blocks: Elisha Palmer accepts a donation from UHS Post-Prom member Krystal Schmitz for another Owlet smart sock system.

The Union community continues to rally around the family of Knox Palmer, the infant who died of SIDS at age three months last December. Knox’s parents, Mark and Elisha, have begun a campaign to raise awareness of SIDS as well as raising funds for Owlet baby monitoring systems, which include smart socks that can tell if a child is experiencing a medical problem such as as low oxygen levels. So far, with the help of the Owlet company (which matches 2 Owlet systems for every one the Knox Blocks Foundation pays for), 550 parents have received the Owlet socks for their babies. During Wednesday’s FOF event, Union Post-Prom member Krystal Knight presented Elisha Palmer and Knox’s siblings a check for the purchase of one more system.

The name “Knox Blocks” was inspired by a young boy who gave Knox that nickname after he was born. See more about Knox Blocks HERE.

See some videos of the speakers at the Union FCA Huddle Facebook page HERE.

See more photos HERE.