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California Angels

Carmine Giardina

I grew up in the church kind of going through the motions, not really getting much out of it. Throughout middle school, high school and college I was identified by baseball, that is what people knew me by. I was always kind of a "good kid" I was a believer but didn’t live for Christ. The only reason I didn’t drink or party too much in High School was 1 my future in baseball and second I knew my parents would kill me if I did.

Going into college I was a stubborn cocky kid, because I had success before and though I did this on my own and I didn’t need anyone helping me. Man I was wrong. My college career was a disaster, baseball was bad, I started partying, to try and fill that void. I would run to Christ in my time of need, whether it was when I had a bad breakup or a bad game then go back to my ways.

I was lucky enough in 2010 to get drafted by the Los Angeles Angels and play professional baseball. Looking back on those times in college I truly believe God was faithful to me while I was unfaithful to him. I got into proball and had some good Christians on the team that I started hanging around and growing in my faith. I would even post verses as my Facebook status to try n show people I was changing, pretty much Google popular verses. But I would show all this on the outside but would still party, had a girlfriend where I was and it wasn’t a Godly relationship. And pretty much living the way I was before.

During my first season in proball I injured my shoulder at the end of the season, so they sent me to Tempe, Arizona where our spring training facility is to rehab. At the time I was really angry, I was upset that I wouldn’t be able to go home hang with my friends, go out in South Tampa, etc. But that was the start of what really changed my life.

 In Arizona, my first roommate was a strong Christian. He was engaged with his now Wife they had a pure relationship and were getting married soon and it was awesome to see the true bond that they had. I saw that and wanted to know what that was like. So him and I started reading in the mornings and I started going to church with him. Ended up getting hooked up with FCA at Arizona State University, started going to that every week, As well as meeting up with another former teammate and going through a discipleship book with him. I noticed my life started to change and started to feel closer to Christ. But I found my self when I went home for Christmas break 2010 I was back with my old friends and fell back into my old ways.

After break I got back to Arizona and I felt like I was living better again started going to a pro athlete bible study and learned started growing more and more.

We had a speaker come in and talk to us and the message was "How will you be remembered?" I couldn’t think of any other way to describe myself but as a baseball player and that was really scary to me, I wanted more. So took a week trying to find out who I was and I couldn’t. I didn’t really think of it much more but it still bothered me.

I went in to spring training feeling that I was living my life for Christ but I still wasn’t. I was pumped for spring training I was like man I’m ready for this year I have Jesus in my life (which I truly wasn’t all in) it’s going to be awesome. Then boom my first live batting practice, my elbow pops, I remember sitting in my locker asking God why are you doing this to me. Now I know. God took the one thing away from me that was keeping me from him. He took baseball out of my life. I feel like he has tried so many times, with minor injuries, then failure, then a shoulder injury, all of which I didn’t miss much time playing. But this, I was gong to miss a minimum of a year.

After I realized this my relationship with Jesus took off, I understood what it meant to live for him. I was going to different Bible studies I was just on fire for Jesus. With out baseball that’s all I had and I realize its all ill ever need. I have felt his presence; I have a "relationship" with him now. Before I was kind of like a fan hey I really like you but I’m not committed to you kind of deal. I am just so grateful for the opportunity that I have and the platform that I have by playing sports. I just want people to have that relationship and know there is so much more to life than sports!

That’s where I am now. "All in" 100% committed in my faith, and hopefully I will be remembered as a man of God, not just a baseball player. I wish I had this so much earlier in my life, but I believe God puts you through things so you can grow. God gave me a scar on my elbow to show me where I was and that he has healed me. Every single person has scars whether it’s internal of external, God can and will heal them.

Carmine Giardina