Brian Bryan, Brandon Stowers, and Jarred Sweat , are all members of “The Combat Team”, a missionary group that literally combines martial arts with preaching about Christ and his saving power. The group has been together for the last 18 years and has since travelled to 45 different countries. They are from Oklahoma, U.S.A. and are here today in the country where, throughout this week they will be hitting different schools to profess their Christian faith while at the same time breaking a few things. I caught up with them at the Belmopan Baptist High School. 53 year old Brian Bryan, an 8 degree black belt and also the leader of the group, explained to me a little bit of the work that they do.
Brian Bryan- Leader of Combat Team “We do karate and then we d share our testimony of what God has done in our lives and what He can do in other people’s lives”
Reporter Emanuel Pech: ”Tell me the significance of you guys being a karate group and also professing your faith”.
Brian Bryan: ”The nice thing about being in a karate group, people that would normally come out to a church or would not normally have a relationship with God, would come to watch a karate demonstration. Then, it gives us an opportunity to show what God has done in our lives and what He can do in their lives. It is kind of thinking outside the box. It is God using something a little different to share what God has done in our lives”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: ”So, did the karate came with the Christian or the Christian came with the karate?”
Brian Bryan: ”Well, the karate came first. Then, I became a Christian and then God told me that I would travel around the world doing karate demonstration and sharing His love. The Bible tells me that we are going to have problems in this life; small ones, big ones , but God said that He would help us through our problems. Here is that, we use the bricks and the wood breaking through the problem as an example of what God can do in our lives if we put our focus on Him, not on the problem. We don’t ignore the problem, but we look to Jesus to help us through our problems; He promised that he’d do that”.
Brandon Stowers, 17 year old first degree black belt, is the new guy in the squad, he says this is his first time out of the US.
Brandon Stowers- Member of “Combat Team” “It is really amazing; this is my first time out of the country; I’ve got high hopes for this, but so far I have met some people and seen lives changed. It is really cool”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: ”Were you first a Christian and then you ventured into karate or is it the opposite”.
Brandon Stowers: ”I was born into a Christian home; I have long been a Christian pretty much since I was born, but I’ve also had a passion for martial arts since I was little. So, it is really kind of both”.
Jarred Sweat is the third member of “The Combat Team” on this visit to Belize. He shared his personal story of the path he once walked
Jarred Sweat- Member of “Combat Team” “I knew about God, but I didn’t really know Him. So, I walked away from His goodness for a long time and lived a very rough lifestyle of alcohol and drug addiction, went to jail several times as a young man, but God just continued to pursue me and to never let me go. He’ll never force His way into your life, but He’ll never stop pursuing you. He will always send people across your path”.
Jarred Sweat: “No matter where you are at or what mistakes you have made, or what is going on in your life, God is not mad with you. God loves you very much and HE is going to continue to pursue you; He is going to love all of your life, whether you decide to love Him or not, he is still going to love you; you can’t do anything wrong that will separate you from the love of God, to stop Him from loving you. That is what drew me into the Love of God is that He loved me so much that there was nothing that I could do that will make Him stop loving me. How can you not fall in love with somebody that good?”
The group will be in Belize until Sunday and will be doing their demonstration this coming Friday at the George Price Center in Belmopan starting at 7:00 pm. Admission is Free.