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British Skateboarding Expert led Chinese Youths to Victory and Faith

01-09-2018
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This year, a sport that Americans have long enjoyed is now growing in popularity among Chinese Millennials: skateboarding.

In many Chinese cities, Millennials get together on weekends to practice and perform "skateboarding dance."

It has drawn attention from an overseas expert, too.

James Tyson was born and raised in the United Kingdom. From a young age, he was passionate about skateboarding. It gave him identity and purpose in life. 

While Tyson was young, his only desire was to learn how to improve his skateboarding skills.

"I wanted to get better," he recalled. "Even though I was in school, I couldn't concentrate on the studies. My mind was full of skateboarding. I felt the sense of freedom and open expression."

Born into a Christian family, Tyson found skateboarding was more satisfying than religion.

"The temptations were around me," he told CBN News. "I tried to leave after a while, but the next day, I couldn't resist the peer pressure. I was part of the group. We were cool people."

Although Tyson experienced some challenges, he believed he could use his skateboard to escape his problems. He didn't realize, however, that he needed more in his life than just skateboarding – until an accident left him injured.

During his slow recovery, Tyson began to ponder the meaning of life.

"I thought my life was a joke," he said.

In the midst of his misery, a female friend came to visit Tyson and shared how God had called her to oversees mission work. Tyson was deeply touched and decided to quit all his bad habits. He packed up his belongings and decided to do the same.

Tyson moved to Nan Ning where he's now lived for more than 13 years. He and his family started a skateboard ministry, and with other Christians, he teaches young Chinese how to win skateboarding contests. More importantly, they bring the Chinese youths to Christ.

"I love these Chinese youths. They are very talented. I want to train them to become better. And I don't want them to repeat the mistakes that I made in life. Only God could provide the true freedom," he said.

Tyson's' best friend, Super Chou, came to Christ through the ministry. He now designs skateboards with biblical images.

"After witnessing James' godly behavior, I knew God could change me, too," Chou said. "I accepted Jesus to protect me from evil. We need to live with purity and true freedom."

More people have joined Tyson and his team. Most of them are Chinese Millennials. Chou and Tyson are the leaders of their Bible study. Over the years, they have baptized several young Chinese.

"Skateboarding will be the next hottest game among the young people around the world," Tyson predicted. "I would like to invite more people to join us – my team and I could sharpen their skills."

"More importantly, they need to know following God is the coolest thing we can all do in life!" he declared.

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