BTSCelebs: Who is Chaplain Marty? What is your mission at Purdue University?
Chaplain Marty: Martin Dittmar, born in North Liberty, IN. Worked in student ministry since 1977. Spent the last 26 years working with students at Purdue University. In 1996, Coach Tiller and his staff came from Wyoming to Purdue. They asked me to Chaplain the team. Coach Keady heard of this and asked me to serve his team and then it snowballed throughout most of the athletic program at Purdue. Outside of the athletic program, I am on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. FCA is the largest sports oriented ministry in the world. In Indiana alone, FCA has a presence in 305 public and private schools with over 900 volunteers. I love working with such a respected sports ministry like FCA.
At Purdue, FCA desires is to present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in the relationships they have and encouraging all to find good fellowship in a local church.
There are many people in need in the USA, why did you choose to use your ministry in Haiti and not a local city?
FCA does ministry all around the world, including the USA. Unique circumstances many years ago opened a door for us to take students to Haiti on mission trips where we worked with a ministry called, Double Harvest. While at Double Harvest, we develop a close friendship with the hospital administrator, Fabiola Valery. After the earthquake, Fabi developed a deep burden for children who had lost their parents. She prayed for the opportunity to open an orphanage. With no visible resources, she decided to drive up into the mountains. She ended up east of Mirabalais, stopping in town called Lascahobas. There she met the Magistrate (Mayor) who heard her burden. He asked her if she was truly serious about beginning an orphanage. He showed her a beautiful piece of property (7 acres). She said this is wonderful, but I have no money to buy such an incredible place. He said, I don’t want to sell it, I want to gift it to you if you are serious in your intentions. From this amazing beginning, many former Boilermakers were compelled to get involved with Fabiola and Ephraim Orphan Project. After two years, we plan a dedication in June of the new building and will be moving the children we have been caring for in temporary housing up to the beautiful setting in the mountains.
INTERESTING FACT: The property right next to Ephraim has been purchased by some former IU students and with the help of others, including a large church in Kokomo, are building a school in which kids from the area, including the Orphans, will be able to find a good education.
Why should someone get involved in FCA?
FCA helps Purdue athletes to develop the inside (heart) and the character of the person. The athletes’ faith in Christ is what gives them the power to do this. We want our FCA athletes to understand key values through FCA that will contribute to success in their lives: Integrity (Proverbs 11:3), Serving (John 13:1-17), Teamwork (Philippians 2:1-4) and Excellence (Colossians 3:23-24).
How many athletes from Purdue return to help your FCA chapter after they go pro?
We have had many athletes come to Haiti with us in the last 6 years. Kyle Adams was our first Pro-athlete to return. He spoke with Geno Hays and Dane Sanzenbacher at the Bears and got them to join him this time. Both of them have told me that they plan to return with us again soon! I hope that other pro athletes will come to Ephraim and experience the joy of seeing these wonderful children and how their needs are being met, physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. To be honest with you, my great joy is to see what this experience does in the lives of our Purdue students and student athletes even more than what it does in the lives of those to whom we go to serve. These students and student athletes return changed people. They have an appreciation for all that God has given them and they live with a greater passion for others right here!
You recently returned to Haiti with Bears’ Kyle Adams and two other “pro football guys”, who were the other 2 guys and what was it like working with these guys again? Will they continue be apart of your future projects?
Geno Hayes and Dane Sanzenbacher (now with the Bengals). Both these fellows weren’t sure what they were getting into. Both of them are sold on Ephraim and what we are doing there. Both of them plan to return very soon with us and have spoken of recruiting others to join in. I personally enjoyed meeting both of them and we have become good friends as a result of the trip.
Describe the future of FCA Purdue in one sentence:
Lord willing, FCA will continue to be here for Purdue athletes to help them build strength of heart and mind and contribute to the overall success, in a small way, behind the scenes, of Purdue athletics.
Click the following link to learn more about the Ephraim Orphan Project: www.ephraimorphanproject.org
**BTSCelebs sends a special thanks to Chaplain Marty for the exclusive interview and images.**