Taekwondo athlete relates to talents parable

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tim Ellsworth, editor of BP Sports and director of news and media relations at Union University, covered the 2012 Olympics in tandem with Baptist Press' London bureau. Baptist Press will publish features about Christian athletes in the Olympics, recap results of their competition and cover Baptist initiatives to share the Gospel during the Summer Games and in London's rich cultural milieu.

LONDON (BP) -- Paige McPherson may be the one on the mat in the taekwondo competition during the Olympics, but her family in the audience is also a huge part of her success.

That family also looks quite a bit different from most.

"We were actually called the 'rainbow family,'" McPherson said.

Paige's parents, Dave and Susan McPherson, of Sturgis, S.D., adopted five children from around the world. Paige, 21, is half Filipino and half African American. She has a brother who is Korean, a sister from St. Lucia and two other siblings who are part Native American.

For Paige, her family is a compelling likeness of the Gospel -- how God has called people from all nations and races and adopted them into His family.

"It's a picture of how gracious and how merciful Christ is for us," she said.

McPherson -- who completes for the U.S. Friday (Aug. 10) -- began taekwondo as a youngster. Since her older brother Evan is Korean, and since taekwondo is a Korean sport, their parents decided to let him participate. When McPherson was 7 years old, she decided she wanted to join in as well, and her younger sister Hannah also began taking lessons.

Her love for the sport grew, in part because it was such a family affair, but also because McPherson had a knack for it.

"I definitely know that I was given a God-given talent," she said.

She cited the parable of the talents in the Bible, in which a man going on a journey entrusted his property to his servants. One wasted his talent, but the others invested theirs and produced a return. McPherson said she always liked that story and she knew she didn't want to waste her gifts.

"The Olympics have always been my dream, to win gold, and to say I didn't do it on my own, but I did it for the glory of God," McPherson said. "God has been so good to me, because He's actually allowing me to fulfill my dreams now."


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