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The Book on Eli

Von Mitchell

Eli Baier stands six-foot-four and has the wingspan of a condor. He is the second-oldest child in a family where love reigns and eight may not be enough. He is a 4.0 student and a three-time All Western Slope League First Team selection in basketball at Delta High School. But none of these factors tells the full story of Eli Baier.

 

Family

Eli’s parents, Ernie and Teresa Baier, are strong family people with a passion for God. They have instilled solid values in the hearts of their eight children.

“I would say that the top three lessons I’ve learned from my parents are balance, dedication, and faith,” says Eli. “I’ve learned balance from my dad because he works hard every day but still has time for the family or to work on cars when he comes home. I’ve learned dedication from my mom because she works hard all the time raising eight kids. And I’ve learned faith from both of them. They have shown me by example how to live a life of faith, and they’ve pushed me to go further in my own faith.”

 

Focus

When Eli Baier came to Delta High School as a freshman, he was determined to be more than your average Baier.

“I set three goals when I entered high school,” says Eli. “One: I wanted to be good as an athlete and as a student. I wanted to bust the mold of just being a jock. Two: I wanted to meet lots of new people and be able to help them. I wanted people to be able to trust me. And three: I wanted to live for God and stay strong in my faith.”

Four years later, Eli has accomplished his goals. It hasn’t always been easy. Eli suffered three shoulder separations while playing football and basketball at Delta High School, one in his senior year. This put his final season in jeopardy, but his “game” was far from over.

 

Faith

“I was sad about being hurt,” says Eli candidly. “I wondered, Why is this happening to me? I worked so hard, and now this obstacle is in my way. But I opened my Bible and found strength in God. I found peace. I began to view the injury as an obstacle to overcome so that I could become closer to Christ. I knew God could bring something good out of this.

“My dad told me to find other things in life for which to be thankful, and that helped. Instead of viewing my injury as a disappointment, I was determined to use it as an opportunity to deepen my faith and to set an example for others.”

Though Eli finished the season in a limited capacity, he garnered All-Conference honors for the third straight season. Yet, he made his true mark on the hearts of the people who watched him live his faith. And that’s the book on Eli, an extraordinary teen.

 

DIG DEEPER

What situation in your life has caused you to wonder, Why is this happening to me? Read Romans 8:28. Do you believe that God can take the bad stuff in your life and bring good out of it? Read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37–47 to see what God did in this young man’s life. How does your situation compare?

Von Mitchell , a teacher and coach at Delta High School in Colorado, found it a privilege and a joy to coach Eli in basketball.

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