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The Religious Affiliation of Champion Fisherman
From: Ervin Shaw, "Jay Yelas: Christian Fishing Champ" webpage, posted 22 June 2003; in "Christian Testimonies" section of "The Truth . . . What Is It?" website (http://poptop.hypermart.net/testjy.html; viewed 7 November 2005):
Professional bass fishing champ:
October 14, 1987 is a date I (Terry Chupp on-line in Team Jesus Ministries, Winter 2002-2003) shall never forget. At LaGrange, Georgia, at a BASSMaster tournament, at the Fellowship Of Christian Anglers (FOCAS) meeting, Jesus called me to serve Him as an evangelist. My purpose was to share Him with the tournament pros and anyone else I could.
In 1990 at Lake Havasu, Arizona, I was paired with a young angler whose skills and abilities were such that all I could say was "wow".
Over the next three years I was able to cultivate a friendship with him. He and his wife started coming to the FOCAS meetings. In February 1993, Jay Yelas and his wife Jill gave their hearts to the Lord Jesus. On may 23, 1993, I was blessed to baptize both of them at the Six Mile Baptist Church at Hemphill, Texas.
Since then Jay has been with me to share who Jesus is to him at more than 30 places. Most recently, he was the celebrity host at our Team Jesus Tournament in Gadsden, Alabama.
Two weeks prior to the event, Jay won the Angler of the Year title with the F. L.W. organization and was not only requested, but expected to compete for the gold medal in The Great American Games. He declined because of his commitment to Team Jesus.
After our event in Gadsden, I told Jay that our Lord was going to bless him. "Because of your faithfulness to Jesus and your keeping your commitment to me and Team Jesus, you are going to win the BASSMasters Classic."
Two weeks later at the Classic, I was seeking sponsors for our tournament trailer. I told scores of people on Thursday and Friday that Jay was going to win the Classic (World Championship) worth $1,000,000. I returned home on Friday evening and on Saturday, July 27, 2002 Gloria and I were part of a live TV audience of more than ten million watching as Jay won the event. When he was interviewed, the first words that came from his lips were: "I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for putting me in position to win." Now you talk about proud parents, (He's my son in the Lord) Gloria and I were literally weeping tears of joy.
You never know how much your sharing Jesus with someone can mean and what someone that you lead to Christ may become.
Update: born about 1966, Jay caught his first fish at age 2 and yearned to be a professional angler all of his life. He has written an autobiography and recounts personal struggles prior to giving his life to Jesus. In 2003, he is the reigning Bass Masters Classic champion, angle of the year on the B. A. S. S. Pro Tour, and angle of the year on the FLW Tour. This is a triple win never before accomplished in pro fishing!
Webpage created 7 November 2005. Last modified 7 November 2005.
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