After a silver medal in the 1998 Goodwill Games, a number 2 world ranking and almost 150 boxing matches, Ebo Elder turned professional in June of 2000. From 2000 - 2001 Ebo amassed 16 wins and no defeats, however, after losing in his 17th pro fight, he left the sport for 3 years. In late 2003 God called Ebo back into the sport and he had his first fight back in January of 2004. Within 12 months Ebo earned a #5 world ranking, IBO, NABO and WBO Intercontinental Championships and a world title shot against the undefeated, undesputed, lightweight champ, Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz. After training in Las Vegas for three months Ebo's childhood dreams were only a week away, when the Diaz camp opted to cancel the fight.
After several months of desperatly trying to reschedule the fight with Juan, Ebo was given a last chance offer to make Juan fight. Ebo would have to fight the #1 ranked, Lakva Sim, in a "title eliminator", where Juan would have to fight the winner. After a hardfought loss to Lakva, Ebo believed that God had abandoned their boxing efforts and he decided to leave the sport.
Then, a couple of months later, Ebo received a phone call from "The Contender" reality show producers, where he was asked to compete on their show. Although Ebo initially declined, his wife Amy told him to do it. As one of the smallest fighters on the show and somewhat unprepared, Ebo believed that God was going to perform a miracle for the whole world to see. It would be a modern day "David and Goliath" senario, on reality TV.
Well, things did not go as planned and Ebo lost his first fight to Mike Stewart. As difficult as this loss was, Ebo humbly accepted defeat. In the post fight interview Ebo confidently said that his loss was not the end of anything for him and that God would work this adversity out for his good, quoting Romans 8:28.
Months later, at the end of 2006, Ebo decided to fight again and was scheduled to fight on the Ricky Hatton vs. Juan Urango card in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 20, 2007. Less than three weeks before the fight, while speaking at a New Years Eve youth event at a church in Sharpsburg, Georgia, God told Ebo that he would never box again. Ebo was to leave boxing and enter into a life of ministry. This was not Ebo's plan, so he argued with God and refused to surrender his will. Twenty-four hours later the sovereign will of God prevailed, as Ebo's fight was cancelled, his management and training team dissolved and his boxing career was immediately over. God had spoken.
So, Ebo began to do the only thing he knew to do. With no "official" ministry experience and no Christian education, he began to call churches of the denomination he currently attended, telling them the story and asking them if he could have the opportunity to come speak at their church. Even though Ebo didn't require anything to come speak and would speak to anyone at their churches, everyone said no. They said that they would need to hear a cd of him speaking first. Since Ebo had only spoken to a few small congregations and had no recordings, he suggested that they record him at their church, but had no takers. After three weeks of cold calling churches, leaving voice mails and getting rejected, Ebo began to doubt God's calling in his life.
Then, God interviened. Ebo received a myspace message from a man named Phillip MacIntosh. He said that he and his dad, Mike MacIntosh, pastored a church in San Diego, California. They had watched one episode of "The Contender" and saw Ebo lose, but that his relationshp with the Lord was very evident from his witness. That was all that mattered to them and they wanted him to come speak at their church.
Ebo eagerly accepted the invitation, but believed that Horizon Christian Fellowship was probably a small, "start up" church. After getting to California and showing up for their Saturday night "Loud and Clear" service, Ebo became unmistakably aware that he was wrong and that God was in control. Horizon Christian Fellowship was founded in 1974 and is a church with over 3,500 attenders. As impressed as Ebo was, God was up to something much, much bigger. God was radically interviening into Ebo's life, changing the course for him, his family and their ministry, forever.
It wasn't too long after that when Ebo began getting calls from Calvary Chapel churches all over the country and Reality (then known as Ebo Tribe Ministries) took off. Within months Ebo was speaking to congregations of over 5,000 and seeing God bring many unsaved into the kingdom and even more growing in Him. Ministry was going great, but after about two years Ebo began realizing that the attenders of Calvary Chapel were more knowledgeable of God's word than he was. Ebo knew this was unacceptable and sought counsel from a Calvary pastor in South Carolina, asking him how he could learn the Bible as quickly as possible. The answer was simple. "There's no better way to learn the Bible than to teach the Bible," was Pastor Scott's response.
Ebo decided right then that on his next available Tuesday night, he would start a home Bible study. After flipping through his calendar, Ebo was amazed to see that his next available Tuesday was his 30th birthday! What seemed to be coinsidence was much, much more. You see, coinsidence is when God remains anonymous!
In scripture, a man's 30th birthday is very significant. Not only is a man required to be atleast 30 years of age to become a rabbi (teacher), but both John the Baptist and Jesus began their public ministries at about 30. With this "coinsidence" God nudged the shoulder of Ebo and said, "You're right where I want you. Be still and know that I am God." So, on December 23rd, 2008, Ebo began a home Bible study in the gospel of John, landmarking and launching his future of rightly dividing and teaching God's word. After a year, and journeying through 8 chapters of John, an average of about 30 people were coming to the home study. Then, on December 9, 2009, Ebo was ordained as a minister of the gospel at Calvary Chapel Heartland in Warner Robins, Georgia.
As excited as Ebo was from the growth of their home study, Ebo was led to move the study to a local sports training facility and focus it on the high school youth of Newnan and Peachtree City, Georgia. This ministry soon came to be known as BrickHouse Student Ministries. Five months later, with a sizable group of teens attending, the school year came to a close. Within a week, Ebo and his family moved the two hour drive to Warner Robins, Georgia to serve at Calvary Chapel Heartland as the youth pastor and assistant pastor to Steve Sandoval.
During the next year Ebo grew in teaching ability and spiritual maturity, serving faithfully and ministering to the teens of CCH. Then, June 2, 2011, after exactly one year of serving at CCH, the Lord clearly led Ebo and his family back to their hometown of Newnan, Georgia. After moving back to Newnan, Ebo and his family would start a home Bible study and minister to a small group for roughly 6 months while continuing to seek the Lord on the next step for their family and ministry. During the months of June and July 2012 the Elder family began a 7,000 mile tour traveling from Atlanta, GA through Orlando, FL, Augusta, GA, Williamstown, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Richmond, VA, Memphis, TN, Paris, TX, Belen, NM and Black Canyon City, AR, ministering in churches and youth detention centers. After stopping in La Habra, California July 18, 2012 they would base Reality there while leading the college ministry at Calvary Chapel La Habra for the next 10 months. This would prove to be an invaluable season for Reality, birthed by, led by and enabled by the Lord. In April of 2013 the Elder family was led back east where Reality is now based in the Knoxville, Tennessee area.
The future for Reality is proving to be more exciting than ever anticipated, and we can be sure that God has good plans on the horizon. Please keep us in your prayers, that God would be glorified in and through us and that His kingdom would be advnaced. If you would like to keep up with the activities and ministry of Reality, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, requesting to receive our newsletter. Blessings to you and yours!