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Ulster Rugby Players at Portstewart Baptist Church.

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Portstewart Baptist Church hosted an evening with three key players on the Ulster rugby side last Sunday.

Ruan Piennar, Paul Marshall, and Weihahn Herbst, all spoke about the early influences on their careers and how their Christian Faith has influenced them not just in their lives but out on the field. Ruan said how he always prayed before a match, ‘that God would protect him and give him wisdom, plus, I always pray that we might win too!’ the event hosted by Portstewart baptist Church was aimed at helping people to discover that that faith can make a difference whatever field of life we may be working in.

Whilst at the event, Ruan Pienaar, flanked by his team mates opened the churches ‘New To You Store’  in part of the church premises which once housed a very different kind of “spirit” – a former liquor off-licence. Senior Pastor John Lewis said the new venture has been named “Eikon”, which is a Greek word for “image”, and it will be operated by volunteers Mon-Sat from 10am-4.pm. Our aim is to sell good quality pre-owned clothes and children’s wear and in doing so continue to serve the community here in Portstewart and the North Coast.

Ruan is a South African scrumhalf who joined Ulster in 2010 from the Sharks’Academy. He is the son of a former Springbok fullback, and made his debut for the Springboks in 2006. He was a member of their 2007 World Cup squad, and remains an important member of the Springboks. He also has a 2009 Tri-Nations title under his belt. Paul Marshall is a Belfast-born scrumhalf who is lively in his work around the fringes of play.

He was raised in a Christian home and made a commitment to Christ at the age of 10. He says he didn’t really understand the commitment he made until his final year in secondary school when he heard about the death of a former team mate of the same age during a rugby game.He made his debut with the senior squad in 2006, and won his international caps for Ireland against Italy, United States and Canada in 2012-13. He has signed a three-year contract with Ulster to keep him on the squad until 2017. 

Wiehahn Herbst is another South African who joined Ulster in 2014. He came through the Sharks’ Academy and has strong Christian beliefs. Each one of the men inspired the many people who came to the Sunday evenings service staying on for a long time afterwards to speak to the many young people who wanted to know more about them. 

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