Athlete Testimonies:

LaDainian Tomlinson

LaDainian Tomlinson is one of the biggest names in the NFL. The fame, admiration, and material possessions could really get to a guy's head. But Tomlinson is nothing if not grounded. Why? "My faith and understanding the bigger picture-that's why nothing gets me overwhelmed or excited or makes me want to change," he says. Those around him speak of his genuineness, humility, and honesty. Former Chargers teammate and good friend Drew Brees claims that "LT is probably one of the most humble guys you'll ever be around."

What makes the difference in Tomlinson's life is his perspective. When he was saved as a teenager, he began to live out the words of Luke 12:48. The more success the Lord brings to his life, the more he believes He requires from him.

Strength from his mother, Loreane Tomlinson, has also been a necessary support at some low points in Tomlinson's life. She always directs him back to his Savior and His promises. Her constant prayers for her son have shown the strong faith he has seen as an example. His faith, though not always spoken, is one he lives out daily.

Successful. Grounded. Honest. Real. Imperfect. Christian. LaDainian Tomlinson.

Lorena Ochoa

Mexico's Lorena Ochoa has proven she is in the golfing world. However, she is equally determined not to be of the golfing world. For the soft-spoken, 25-year-old women's golf sensation, her faith, her family, and her friends will always be more important than any golfing fame. "God is always very important to me, my family is important, and then there is golf," Ochoa said.

2006 was a breakout year for Ochoa on the LPGA Tour. In addition to six wins on the year, she received Player of the Year honors and became the leading money winner. Despite this success, Ochoa vows her biggest goal for 2007 is not to change the type of committed, faith-filled individual she has become. "Before I play every tournament, before I wake up in the morning, I do it all for God," she said.

Ochoa has begun to use her earnings to help others. She started the Lorena Ochoa Foundation, which has so far helped build a school for nearly 300 kids in Mexico.

She has some advice for rookie golfers. "I tell the new (Tour) players to put God first in all that you do." Good advice for being very much in the pro golfing world without being of that same world.

Lovie Smith

Lovie Smith is a man of stable character-dependable and respectable. His mother, Mae, says she raised him "to be honest...fair, and treat everybody with respect." More importantly, though, she raised him in a Christian home. Smith recalls that going to church was a non-negotiable. Soon, Smith began to believe the things he was taught and own his faith. That is why his strong moral fiber has been such a constant for so long.

From playing football in high school, college, and the NFL, God led Smith to coaching. His brother Willie claims that Smith always said he wanted to coach. He started back at his own high school, coaching the JV team, and moved on to several colleges in the 80s and 90s before ending up in the NFL, now with the Chicago Bears.

Though he did not immediately convince others of his worthwhile standing as a coach, he certainly has now, especially after taking his team to the 2006 Super Bowl. But this all pales in comparison to Smith's real passion. "God has always been the center and focus of my life," he says. "I try to live a Christian life the best way I know how."

Uncommon Challenge