Gary Vermette had no idea what God had planned for him when he left Canada to visit Phoenix in 2010. He and his wife Linda were vacationing in Arizona, but he was also training for the Arizona Ironman in November. During one of his open water swims, Gary met Debbie Foster and her daughter Amy, who was also training for IM Arizona. “I was introduced to FCA Endurance quite by accident,” Gary said, “Debbie causally mentioned to me and my wife that their FCA organization was going to hold an Ironman Prayer on the weekend of the event and that we were invited.” As Gary walked away from that conversation, God was already working in his heart. “That night I started thinking about them, and the idea of going to Ironprayer kinda stuck with me.”
After his initial conversation with Debbie, Gary started to notice a change in his life. “I found myself starting to pray to God, which I hadn’t done for so many years. I asked Him to forgive my multitude of sins that I had committed in my life. I had not gone to church for almost 50 years, and only a few times in those years did I say a couple of prayers.” Despite being retired and living in financial abundance, Gary still felt as though something was missing in his life. “I was now retired, able to manage financially and my life seemed to be just cruising along fine, but I felt that void. I started praying that night, and I told God that I was sorry I had avoided Him for so long but I wanted to start all over again.” Gary could feel God moving in his heart, so he told Debbie he would attend IronPrayer the weekend of the race.
IronPrayer impacted Gary in incredible ways, and he was able to experience God’s grace and love with a group of believers for the first time in decades. “I was surrounded and holding hands with a group of strangers that I did not know, but I felt such a goodness emanating from the group. As we prayed together, I felt this kind of presence inside me that I had never felt before, and I left there feeling humbled to have been able to take part in prayer and listening to testimonies.” After IronPrayer, Gary approached his race in a new way. “I found myself praying to God during the race.” Gary’s prayers were answered, as he was able to complete his first Ironman race without pain. “I never experienced cramps and was able to run strong the whole way. God had looked after me and I felt elated.”
After the race, Gary decided that the purpose for his racing simply had to change. “I was racing for myself, hoping for medals and trophies,” Gary said, “It was only after submitting myself to God prior to the IM Arizona that I changed my attitude about my sport.” Gary realized that, as a follower of Jesus, he was called to compete for Christ rather than his own glory. “The FCA-E creed helped me take the focus off myself and redirect it toward Jesus. I don’t care about medals and winning anymore, I just race every race with Him and am thankful with any results that come my way.”
Since Gary accepted Christ, he has experienced a lot of changes in his life. “I have joined a church with a great bunch of Christian friends, and I now have accountability in my spiritual life. I pray and praise the Lord every night, and I read the Bible on a daily basis. I have great faith in the Lord now, even when I don’t understand certain things.” Gary has also noticed that his relationship with Jesus is starting to impact others around him. “My wife has now joined me in the Christian faith, and guess what? I’ve got a couple of people I’m working on also. If successful, they might keep going and spread the word and help other people too!” Because someone took the initiative to invite Gary to IronPrayer, his entire life was changed, and he is now helping to further God’s kingdom in Canada. “Never underestimate the power of a few kind words or actions,” Gary said, “you might be starting a whole chain of events that will draw other people to God.”
Thu, March 17, 2011
by FCA Endurance