Spring 2018 Semester Review

May 2018 Newsletter copyMay 2018 Newsletter copy1To print this story as a PDF, please click the link May 2018 Newsletter

Thank you for your investment in Lipsomb Athletics Spiritual Formation. Non of this is possible without your faithful prayers and generous support!! We are thankful for YOU, and that you are such a significant part of our team!!

For any questions or to learn how to be more involved, please contact Chris Klotz at cpklotz@lipscomb.edu

Growing Through the Storms of Life

There are many natural challenges and struggles that a college student-athlete goes through. A natural disaster in their hometown however is not something common for students to process. As a result of Hurricane Harvey in Houston Texas, Hurricane Irma striking the coast of Florida, and Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico all this year, for several Lipscomb student-athletes they have been forced to process, struggle, learn and grow.

“Natural disasters are strange in the sense of being incredibly negative, but bringing out the absolute best in people. Though the hurricane in Houston was detrimental for thousands of people, it was amazing to see people who would normally never interact, be willing to give the shirt off their backs to someone who needed it more. This world we live in can appear to be so corrupt and broken, but in those moments I gained hope for humanity. Being so far from home during such a horrific time was hard, it was actually harder than hard, but the support system here at Lipscomb and through my volleyball team made each day a little easier.

The unknown was and always seems to be the hardest part. “What if it doesn’t stop raining? What if the creek overflows? What if the water gets into the house?” These real thoughts didn’t have answers at the time, and the only way to get through that was to understand that there was nothing else I could do or change. Life is so fragile and this was yet another reminder of that. Perspective is everything and it could always be worse. I’m grateful that my family is fine, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the support I had through the difficult time of uncertainty.”  Megan SullivanVolleyball

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“Some things that I learned through the Hurricane in Houston were that I should never take anything for granted. I lived in that house for pretty much my whole life and whenever I saw it after the hurricane it was completely destroyed. I never thought about how much I would miss it until it was gone. A big thing I learned was just not taking anything for granted especially your house. The next big thing I learned was whenever a natural disaster occurs it’s very important that the community comes together and helps the people affected. After the hurricane happened, a church nearby donated 10,000 dollars and it helped my family so much. They also got some engineers and architects to come and help rip out the floor and walls and just get the reconstruction process to go by easier. I hope I never have to go through another disaster like that but if it happens I want to be able to help out the community in any way I can just like they helped my family.” Simon Holden-Soccer

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“The feeling of helplessness is one of the worst feelings. You are not in control and there is nothing that you can do to help the situation at hand. This is how millions of people felt during Hurricane Harvey.  My family and my childhood home were safe and did not flood, but unfortunately so many of my close friend’s homes were destroyed. It is hard to understand how God could allow such a thing to people that are so good. That thought ran through my mind a lot along with anger and sadness. Sadness for the animals abandoned, the memories captured as pictures were destroyed, and the complete devastation of my home city of Houston, Texas.

Looking back now I still feel some of these emotions, but what I also realize is that Gods plans are way bigger then our own. (Proverbs 19:21). Houston will forever be changed after hurricane Harvey. We truly have to have faith in God and realize that His plans always surpass ours.” Maddie PhillipsVolleyball

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“The first thing I learned when the hurricane in Puerto Rico happened was how truly scary it is. Not being able to communicate with your family is something you never really think about until something like this happens. It’s like your whole world stops and you can’t do anything but wonder how your family is. I was part of the lucky few who managed to get in contact with my family after the first couple of days but I know of friends who went weeks and months without knowing anything about if they were safe. It’s the little things that we forget to appreciate. We take so for granted the little thing.” Josh MartinezBaseball

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“I always appreciated my beautiful island of Puerto Rico and my family but after the hurricane, different kinds of feelings surfaced. I felt sad that the island was destroyed, heartbroken that people were left devastated, and angry that there hasn’t been an immediate answer. Every time I heard of any situation going on around the world, I never put myself in the situation, and I honestly never tried to. But now I understand. I went days without speaking to my family, praying that they were ok. It was nearly impossible to get some family members to Florida because of flight and health issues. And it has been even harder to get a response from the government in regards to housing and electricity. I realized that we aren’t as big as we think we are, a truly humbling experience. And even though I realized that I am minuscule in the grand scheme of things, my God is the Creator of the universe and there is nothing too big for Him. I learned to lean on him when I felt confused or sad or hopeless. I trusted in Him and saw His hand throughout the lives of the people of the island. I also realized how great the people are. No matter what, we still smile and laugh and sing and dance because we know that God is in control. A beautiful mix of Puerto Rican pride and faith in God.” Marcella Emmanuelli- Volleyball

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Thank you for your faithful prayers and generous support as the rebuilding efforts in these locations continue. If you would like to be involved in a Lipscomb Relief Mission Trip, please contact Chris Klotz at cpklotz@lipscomb.edu for more information.

#Adulting: STILL Trusting The Process, by Brianne Hoglin, Lipscomb Track Alumni

It’s been a year since Brianne graduated and first shared with us a year ago about #Adulting.  Her conclusion after her first year out of college?…

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About a year ago I sat in Ezell chapel listening to a panel of women describe their own transitions out of college and into the “real world.” I sat with anticipation for my own next steps; with the anxiousness that comes with being on the verge of something new.

I remember the things I was most curious about that evening – mostly practical things like how to find an apartment or how to budget for groceries. I was curious about the logistics. The how… the steps I needed to take to “get there.” I wanted someone to tell me how to #adult. I was looking for steps to achieve an end on an evening telling me to focus on the process.

I wanted someone to teach me – basically as if I were taking a class (Adulting 101, anybody?)

That makes sense. I was in college where the entire experience is (hopefully) centered around learning. Most of the lessons involve gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to have a successful career in your field – and in that, I felt enormously prepared. I had studied hard, spent the hours and slowly built up the knowledge necessary for my post-graduation endeavors. And since I have graduated and moved into the ‘real world,’ what I have struggled with most has had nothing to do with my job or research.

What has been hardest to adjust to hasn’t been the ‘career’ stuff – because my college education prepared me for that. The experiences which have challenged me most are those which required the skills I didn’t realize I had been at Lipscomb to also learn:

  • Learning how to make friends – without taking notes.

 

  • Learning what my values are and how to live into them – without taking a test on them.

 

  • Learning confidence in my decision-making and resilience in circumstances – without a textbook.

 

As ridiculous as it might seem to study my friendships built at Lipscomb or what my decision-making process looked like, those are the notes I found myself wishing for as I moved to a new city and began this next chapter. I was grasping at memories of how friendships developed because I found myself prepared by my education for highly specific skills such as giving lectures on intricate cell signaling – but amateur on how to build a community from scratch.

 

There’s no textbook or class which prepares you for interacting and making decisions in the real world – because adulting isn’t a test you can pass, it’s a process you continue to develop in. And while you may no longer attend classes after graduation, you definitely don’t stop learning.

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It has been almost a year since I was a student at Lipscomb, and while my experience there was certainly a time of highly concentrated learning, there have been many weeks where my ‘adult’ life has taught me lessons in amounts which resemble trying to drink from a fire hose.

And yes, I did learn about how to find an apartment, pay rent, budgeting for groceries and all of those good logistics. But the more valuable lessons on “adulting” have really been about what my values are and what it means to stick to them, about taking risks, and about giving myself grace.

 

I have learned that no amount of money or accomplishment will satisfy your heart the way that living into your values and your purpose will. And it takes enormous courage to make choices which reflect your values over what the world tells you is valuable. But when you live within your values and your purpose you don’t need the world’s approval; because God keeps you perfectly filled and overflowing in the work you love.

 

“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” {Psalm 37:4}

 

I have learned that you must take risks and that calculating risk sometimes mean you have merely calculated to the point of knowing you are taking a risk – not that you have any sort of prediction of how it will go. This forces us into discomfort.  You won’t continue to grow as soon as you become comfortable, so how long you wait before making yourself uncomfortable again directly correlates with the speed of your growth.

 

“Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock. You never know from moment to moment how your work will turn out in the end” {Ecclesiastes 11:6}

 

I have also learned the habit of giving grace, reminding myself often that the relationships, trust, and belonging I developed in my Lipscomb community weren’t built in a day. They took the entire time I was there and were filled with countless moments of intentionality and vulnerability. I have to give myself grace when I go through one first impression after another, grace when I hesitate to open up to someone new and more grace as I stumble through making friends like it’s my first day of kindergarten. Because in the same way that I could have never written a research manuscript on my first day as a freshman biology major at Lipscomb, I can’t expect to be an instant pro at making friends as an adult in the real world.

 

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I’ve heard people say that “life is a classroom,” and I think that becomes even more apparent the more removed you become from an actual classroom. Because the learning doesn’t stop – it just requires more intentional reflection for the lessons to become clear.

When I went back to read the thoughts I’d had last year (for reference click here), it was fitting that the women’s spiritual formation event was called “Adulting: Trust The Process,” because in my year of experience so far trying to “adult,” I am definitely STILL trusting the process, and learning what that trust looks like.

 

While I may want adulthood to consist of steps leading to a definitive end, I have learned that ‘being an adult’ isn’t something I can “achieve” but a process to engage in whole-heartedly.

 

There will be no grade and no diploma – but plenty of lessons. And I know I will never stop needing to trust the process.

 

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Brianne is a Lipscomb alumnus and former student-athlete now living in Denver, CO. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology doing research at the University of Denver.

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To read last year’s post by Brianne, and to learn from what the #Adulting panel had to share,  click here.

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Athletic Missions Spring Break 2018 Photo Recap

This spring break, Lipscomb Athletic Missions sent 2 teams out to serve. The women’s soccer team returned to El Salvador for the sixth year in a row, while a general group of student-athletes served right here in Nashville. Praise God for working in the hearts and lives of everyone involved!

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The trips are not over. We are now called to LIVE ON MISSION, and recognize that everything in our life is an opportunity to partner with God and live into His story! We thank God for the opportunities to grow this spring break, and are excited to continue pursuing the heart of Jesus and Living On Mission!

Lipscomb University’s Women’s Tennis takes its global perspective and applies it at home in the heart of Nashville

Lipscomb University’s women’s tennis team’s inherent global culture beckoned its focus to Nashville for spring break 2018, with an opportunity to serve refugee families that have resettled in Nashville.

On Saturday, March 10, the women’s tennis team joined 14 fellow Lipscomb student-athletes who were participating in a Nashville mission trip to put on a carnival and sports clinic for over 100 kids in an apartment complex located just 15 minutes away from Lipscomb’s campus.

Women’s tennis head coach, Jamie Aid, highlighted the reason for the team’s nearby service project. “The girls are really well traveled and have seen a lot of Europe and much of the world. But, they haven’t seen a lot here,” said Aid. “I think it’s really beneficial to them to be here and be involved in Nashville, and to see what goes on from a bigger perspective. So, a lot of our work is local.”

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Junior Thabile Tshatedi, of Harare, Zimbabwe, discussed the team’s thoughts on Nashville and Lipscomb from their global perspective. “This community is unique in that everyone is so nice, helpful and polite,” she said. “If you have a question, someone is willing to give you the answer and if they do not have the answer, they will refer you to someone who does have the answer.”

Since 2014, the women’s tennis team has chosen to participate in a mission trip in middle of its season and just one week prior to the conference tournament. “We get asked why we do it in season all the time and whether it is the smartest thing to do. Sometimes the girls ask the same question,” said Aid. “It allows them to see the bigger picture off the court moving into the important part of the season. They’re actually fired up going into the conference tournament.”

“We are a very close group of girls already, but put any sort of task or opportunity in front of us and we always work together to make the best of the opportunity,” said Tshatedi of the timing of the mission trip.

How does an international group of young ladies connect with American youth? Tennis makes it easy. “That’s the great thing about tennis, it’s an easy way to build a connection. We just take the pop-up nets and play around with the kids,” explained Aid. “The girls are awesome when it comes to this type of interaction. It’s fun to watch.”

The mission trip was the first since spring of 2016 however, the team continued to serve the community by providing weekend clinics for Special Olympics throughout the fall of 2017. While the 2018 trip was the first for four of the girls, the others were no strangers to the type of project.

“The same week as our first mission trip, we scheduled a few matches in the Atlanta area. The women’s team had never been to a conference tournament, and we lost to Mercer, but beat Kennesaw that mission week,” remembered Aid.

“So, that week fell just before conference, on spring break, and it was huge. Our first conference berth into the tournament was done on a mission week. It’s just been something we’ve always done because the timing is great and the result is always awesome.”

“The spring break of my freshman year, we worked with World Relief to help immigrants settle into Nashville,” said Tshatedi. “We helped them understand the bus routes, we played with their children and took them around Nashville to show them the essential places they must know.”

The team as a whole loves to work with children. “I strongly believe all children must be loved unconditionally and enjoy their childhood youth,” Tshatedi explained. “We will teach the children how to play tennis. It opened many doors for me, so maybe it will also open doors for these children after we give them a few lessons,” she said.

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Building on its first conference tournament appearance, women’s tennis has continued to rise within the conference, region and nation. “We have our first nationally ranked player at 58 and have put together a schedule that is at a different level for us than traditionally. It’s been a big schedule to bite off,” said Aid.

Sending players to national level tournaments over the past two years, combined with junior Viktorita Dzyuba’s national ranking as a sophomore are program firsts and indicators of the team’s upward trajectory. But the players focus transcends the court, existent in the classroom with four members maintaining 4.0 GPAs.

“They’re on it academically. They’re on it athletically,” said Aid. “But at the same time, keeping their feet on the ground is good. Our girls don’t come from backgrounds of material and things. They come from backgrounds where they haven’t had a lot.”

Characteristic of college sports is the plethora of gear and equipment provided in excess to athletes. “When you’re here as an athlete, you’re given so much that it’s good to do something like this where they have to get a little uncomfortable,” Aid said. “But once they start, they grow into it. So it’s good to get them out of their comfort zone and put them into situations like this.”

The women’s team has two recent wins under their belts against Murray State and Arkansas State at the start of March. The team returns after a tough triple-header against South Alabama, University of Tennessee, and Kennesaw State and will host Florida Gulf Coast University on March 29 at the Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center to see if they can follow in the men’s basketball team’s footsteps with a win over the Eagles.

This story was originally posted by Kasie Corley on http://www.lipscomb.edu

 

The Power of Scripture and Brotherhood

Every Thursday morning before the sun rises at 7am a special group of guys meet in the student center to read and memorize God’s Word. It is a committed group of male student-athletes who want to change cultural stereotypes about manhood. These athletes wake up early to invest in each other’s lives and ultimately build their faith. This group, known as the “Sunrise Slayers,” is dedicated to growing in the Lord’s promises and holding each other accountable before their days are filled with class, practice, weights, studying and the fast moving hustle of a college campus.

Sunrise Slayers is happening on our campus, as well as Messiah College in Pennsylvania. Led by Aroma Director Aaron Faro, the sunrise slayers at Messiah has led the way for Lipscomb male student-athletes to also participate. Being able to read the Bible freely, have meaningful conversation, and truly care about the souls of the men around you is what makes slayers so special. It gives a greater meaning and purpose to waking up early and diving into God’s Word. It is an environment filled with love and the guys truly enjoy seeing each other, so they continue making slayers a priority and look forward to building deep and lasting relationships.

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The time is centered on memorizing Scripture. Each passage is studied for approximately 3 weeks. In that time, the passage of Scripture is researched, discussed, studied and memorized. Upon completion of the 3 week cycle, the verse is written on an index card from memory and then laminated and put on a ring, which is then displayed on the zipper of the guys backpacks. This is a fun symbol and a unique way to show growth in the knowledge of Scripture, and to remind the slayers they are armed with the Word of God at all times.

Each slayer has a different reason as to why they keep coming back, and why they enjoy coming early in the morning to study the Bible.

Freshman golfer Isaac Noh, said this about being a sunrise slayer;

“It has emphasized the importance of not only just memorizing scripture, but knowing what it means and how to apply it to your own life. And what greater motive is there to have the word of God written on your heart.”

Junior track and cross-country runner Ryan Speer said this about his experience,

Slayers means an opportunity for me to start my Thursday’s off well. The community and fellowship is always welcoming and I love being able to spend time in the word with a great group of men.  College is definitely a time of growth and change. I think the biggest thing God is teaching me is to trust him more and reminding me that his plan is sufficient for me. Having a stable group of guys to be open and honest with has definitely been the most beneficial part of slayers to my spiritual life.”

Junior Robert Rupp on the men’s cross-country and track team said,

Slayers has been a crucial part of me developing my understanding of what scripture is, as well that it is the word of God, and that we can know him through deep intimate study of it. The Word of God when studied in a group allows for the community to see God and understand God through each other which is always exciting.”

This Bible study every Thursday is another way for Lipscomb student-athletes to get involved in something other than what their team is already doing. It gives them a chance to branch out and meet other athletes on different teams and also gives them a chance to share their faith together and build a unified brotherhood.

The beauty of slayers is the fact that there are college-aged young men willing and dedicated to waking up early to read the word of God and grow in fellowship with other men. It isn’t mandatory, yet these guys keep showing up. It is not a common time to meet but to be a slayer all you need to do is show up and be ready to learn from Jesus.

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Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation presents inaugural Nashville All-Sports summer camp

This summer, Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation will partner with Carpenter’s Square and Christ for the Nations Church to offer local seven through 11-year-olds who desire to learn and play multiple sports in a positive, high energy environment, the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Nashville All-Sports camp, June 25-29. Sports featured in the camp include volleyball, wiffle ball, basketball, soccer, flag-football, track and field and extreme games.

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Led by Lipscomb student-athletes who have been chosen by their character, ability to teach, positive attitude and passion, the Nashville All-Sports camp will also feature intentional Bible curriculum where university student-athletes will encourage and care for each camper.

The Nashville All-Sports camp will be held at Carpenter’s Square, a collaborative fellowship bringing ministries together to more effectively share the love of Jesus, in the Kyle Hutchison Centeroff of Nolensville Road. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 25-28 and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 29. The cost of this camp is $200 per camper and includes lunch daily, camp t-shirt, team picture, and memories for a lifetime. Families are also encouraged to attend a free celebratory picnic lunch, hosted by Christ for the Nations Church, on Friday, June 29 at noon.

Register for the Nashville All-Sports camp here!

“This is an incredible opportunity and platform to deepen the impact of sports ministry,” said Chris Klotz, director of spiritual formation within Lipscomb Athletics. “Not only will the university student–athletes experience a new context of integrating faith and sport, but the main heartbeat is for campers to have the best week of their lives and for them to experience the true living God through the environment of sports.”

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Carpenter’s Square community outreach coordinator Joe Hemphill said, “We are so excited to partner with Lipscomb Athletics for the All-Sports Summer Camp! What an awesome opportunity to connect with the community using the vehicle of sports. This is going to be an amazing week filled with the love of Jesus Christ!”

Since 2017, Lipscomb Athletics has partnered with Carpenter’s Square and Christ for the Nations Church to serve local refugee families and communities. Klotz says local families can also invest in Nashville’s refugee communities by funding a scholarship for refugee students to attend camp as well.

“Over the past year, we have partnered with Carpenter’s Square and Nations Church to invest in the local refugee community, and one goal of this camp is to invite families to provide scholarships exclusively for children in the refugee community to attend camp. We want these students to have the opportunity to hear and see the Gospel, and without the scholarship fund, many of these students would not be able to attend and build these lifelong memories.”

If you are interested in learning more about sending your child to camp, or would like to donate toward the scholarship fund, please contact Chris Klotz at cpklotz@lipscomb.edu.

Sports Fun After School Program Brings Joy For All Involved

Every Thursday throughout the semester, I have the privilege of connecting Lipscomb Student-Athletes with students from Carter Lawrence Elementary School for an afterschool program known as Sports Fun Club. There we spend time tutoring, building relationships and playing sports and games in the gym. I have been a part of this program for almost 4 semesters now, and I have seen so much wonderful and beneficial growth not only from the elementary school students, but also from our Lipscomb Athletes.

For the kids selected to be a part of Sports Fun Club, this is a great privilege. The elementary students love Lipscomb athletes and they strive to have good behavior during the week to ensure that they will be part of the roster when Thursday comes.

As a graduate assistant, I really enjoy bringing Lipscomb teams into this environment. The kids bring me so much life and joy and being able to see them every week really helps me build a special bond. My desire is that the college athletes would love and serve these kids well, knowing how important it is for them to be a role model.

One thing that is constant is that a lot has been learned and great friendships have formed this semester! It is insightful to hear perspectives from coaches and student-athletes on different teams what they have experienced at Sports Fun Club.

Student-Athlete and Coaches Reflections:

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“Our Lipscomb Men’s Basketball team has been serving at Carter Lawrence for 3 years now and it has made a positive impact on our players. It brings great joy to see our players love and serve these children well.

They are able to utilize their gifts and talents to help these children with their homework, play games with them, and to connect.

Lipscomb has created an environment of servanthood, being grateful for what we have, and glorifying God in the process. We love serving at Carter Lawrence and can’t wait to go back.”   – Coach Steve Draybn, Assistant Coach, Men’s Basketball

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“Carter Lawrence is set up to be a time where Lipscomb athletes get the opportunity to give back to our community. However, I believe many of us find the time spent there is more of the community pouring into us. For me, I often find myself busy with all the priorities of being a student-athlete. And while I’ve learned to manage my time well, I sometimes can’t help but be stressed with the world spinning around me. Going to Carter Lawrence is a time for me to throw off my selfishness, to do list, and schedules. Klotz and Johnny always encourage us to walk into those school doors with a heart ready to love and serve. And while I focus my mind on this attitude, the kids are the ones that serve me best. They allow me to be a kid again and give me an opportunity to not focus on running, school, and the world around me for an afternoon.

Most importantly they give me a picture of what the kingdom of God will be like someday.

It’s sure cool to see how God works in these types of ways.” –Ryan Speer, Men’s Cross Country and Track

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“My team started going to Carter Lawrence on Thursday afternoons during my sophomore year to help students with homework and then play with them in the gym.

Now, as a senior, going to Carter Lawrence is still one of my favorite Thursdays of the semester.

Seriously, I love hanging out with those kids. They are crazy, they are fun, they are sweet, they are loving, and honestly, they are just awesome. I’ve enjoyed Sports Fun so much that my SALT project this semester has been volunteering at Carter Lawrence twice a week with the school counselor. It’s easy to see poverty around Nashville and feel somewhat bad about it, but never really hurt or do anything. After spending time with the students during Sports Fun, my heart longs for a better future for them. I have fallen in love with their smiles and hilarious attitudes. What’s so great about Sports Fun is that we, college athletes, have a chance to come in and encourage kids to work hard in school and sports and attempt to give them a vision of what their future could be. Now, when I go to volunteer with the counselor, students will run up to me and ask what team is coming to Sports Fun that week. It is truly a highlight of their week as it is for us college athletes that go.”- Riley Northway, Women’s Basketball

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“It is a huge privilege to be able to hang out with the kids from Carter Lawrence.

Often times people think that you have to go to another country to do mission work that makes a difference, but that’s just not the case.

We have the opportunity to hangout with and love on kids right down the road from us. And even though we are supposed to help them out, I think we gain something just as good from it.” –Asa Duvall, Men’s Basketball

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“Sports fun is truly amazing!! The joy and excitement seen in those children during that time is so life-giving for everyone involved.

I remember being pretty nervous about interacting with kids the first time I went, but I quickly learned that all you have to do is show up; just bring your whole self and love fully!

Just your presence there helps them engage in their homework, and then have an absolute blast running around in utter chaos! Getting to love on those kids, and receiving their love in return is an incredible experience that is simply so much fun, and a little glimpse of heaven.” -Niamh Rawlins, Women’s Soccer

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“Carter-Lawrence is what I look forward to every week. I know as soon as I get there that for an hour and a half I won’t be able to stop smiling and laughing. I have grown close to two girls in the class. As soon as they enter the study room they run over to me grinning from ear to ear and leap into my arms.

This is a moment of pure bliss for me.

When we play later in the gym the two of them are attached at the hip to me; I love it. Piggy-back rides are a fan-favorite as well as bouncing around the gym on exercise balls. I love how my girls can take me back to a time where I had no care in the world, my childhood. Taking time to just be a kid again, carefree and full of joy, is fantastic. As our time concludes, I find myself sad to see them go. Ten or so hugs later we say or last goodbye and they always make me pinky-promise to come back the next week.

The time I take out of my week to go to Carter Lawrence in invaluable. As a first semester freshman from California I was afraid I wouldn’t find my niche. I was quite wrong. God has blessed me with the opportunity to invest in children at Carter-Lawrence. We always go in trying to make this the best part of their week, but in reality it has become the best part of my week. I am so thankful for this opportunity and truly see God moving in remarkable ways through the Carter Lawrence–Lipscomb relationship.”

-Pari Manoogian, Women’s Track

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Carter Lawrence provides many students with the unique opportunity to use the knowledge they have gained through education and life to impact and improve the lives of these insightful, eager children.

These kids have so much love to give and are so welcoming to anyone, it’s a great reminder of the ways the Lord works.

I enjoy every moment I get to be there with the kids. Many of the students are very focused on working hard and it is very motivating to see. However, my favorite moments are often the times I get to be a child too with them, being free and having fun, playing games with them and hearing them laugh always make my day better. Although I doubt they remember who I am, every time I visit there I am given so much light and warmth but most of all I am always humbled by their unlimited love they have to share.

Thank you to the students and teachers of Carter Lawrence, I am humbled by your freedom to love and determination to work hard. ”

Hannah Gamage, Women’s Tennis

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“My visit to Carter Lawrence was a very inspiring experience. My teammates and I got the chance to inspire younger kids and just have a good time with them. Not to often do I get a chance to play and run around like a kid again being a college student, but it really was fun. I feel we had a huge effect on their lives but they also had a huge effect on our lives as well.” – Ahsan Asadulluh, Men’s Basketball

 

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Story written and compiled by: Johnny Fredericks, Spiritual Formation Graduate Assistant

Student-Athlete Reflections: Nashville Mission Trip

feitenphotography-58I realized that when we are so focused on ourselves, the easiest way to combat that is to serve others. Serving God through this community alongside my peers was the perfect way for God to open my eyes.” Austin Chitwood

 

feitenphotography-1“Our trip was one of the most real pictures of how God intended for our lives to be lived. We prayed to God with confidence and pleaded to Him and praised Him together, and I was and am just overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness.” Hannah Hutcheson

 

IMG_4567“I am amazed every trip what happens when one fully commits themselves to the Lord and the group of people around them. It was an exhausting few days, but also very restful at the same time. It never fails that these trips always bring me closer to understanding what it looks and feels like to be more like Jesus.” Kade Hinkle

 

IMG_4520“I could look around and see the presence of God within everyone on the team. The only one I failed to see it in was myself, which is why it was so impacting when they spoke truth into my life. The group shared, in specific examples, how they saw Jesus in me and working through me as I played with these kids. Through a community that was willing to point out the fruits that I was baring, I have been greatly impacted and reminded that God is, in fact, working in my life.” Sam Remington

 

feitenphotography-20“That was the best weekend of my life.” Trevor Gold

 

feitenphotography-31“The beautiful part about this whole weekend is that it doesn’t end here! Since fall break, most of these students have been back to serve the kids they met. Serving locally has such profound impact as it interrupts the selfish rhythms we get stuck in and focuses our hearts and lives back onto Jesus.” Team Leader Lacey Klotz

Nashville Athletic Mission Trip- Fall Break Recap

Wow. I don’t think I can really express how full my heart is. Have you ever found so much joy in something that you literally want to spend your whole time engaging in it? That’s how I feel right now. I don’t want the overwhelming presence of the Spirit to leave me when I start to fall back into my normal routine. I pray that God continues to remind me each day of the fullness I experienced over this Fall Break Missions Trip.

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To give a little background into why I am at such a spiritual high, I’ll start from the beginning. Myself, as well as eight other student athletes here at Lipscomb, decided to use our Fall Breaks to serve and expand the Kingdom of God. We had the opportunity to serve children in two different communities built for low-income residents as well as refugees. In knowing this, all eight of us just said yes to the plans God had in store. I personally did not know how the weekend was going to play out. I had previously been on two international mission trips, and this was my first domestic trip here in the States. What was so incredible was that we were getting the opportunity to serve right in our own backyard! My expectations going into the trip were at a low.

I didn’t think that serving domestically would look as extreme as it had been going abroad and I surely did not think God would use this weekend, in particular, to draw me even more in love with Him. But man was I wrong.

We started the weekend by giving a tour of Lipscomb to kids who are probably not thinking about attending college in the future. This was the first place I saw God this weekend. Although they wouldn’t admit it, these kids desired attention. Despite the fighting and disrespect, I had an opportunity to love. After all, for most of those kids, I would be the only glimpse of Jesus they would see that week. Upon saying our goodbyes, we traveled to a lake house where we would be spending a couple of nights together as a team. The time we spent together as a team was the second place I saw God in this trip. The first night set a pace for the weekend that was unlike any other I had experienced on a team before.

I had the opportunity to share my testimony and chains were broken off my life.

After sharing, my team took the time to pour back into me, sharing truths about what they had just heard and showering me in love and grace. Even in my time of shame and brokenness, God was intentional.

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The next morning, we were given an exercise: we were told to take an hour of solitude and write. Write a letter to God for some time, and then respond to ourselves as if we were God. And man, did this exercise totally rock my world. God revealed Himself to me in ways I had never understood before. It was powerful. After a quick breakfast and time of prayer we headed out to start our second day together. This time we were going to serve in the refugee community. We spent hours playing with kids and their families, exhausting ourselves until the very last minute. This was the third place I saw God in our trip. All that was rushing through me was the Spirit reminding me that “this is what heaven is going to look like.” Over thirty nations are represented just in that apartment complex. How amazing is that? Kids are playing with other kids that don’t even speak the same language, but we were all brought together by one thing: Jesus.

After the first day of serving in the community went so well, we decided to go back. This time we were going to bring a party. Coloring books, face paint, nail polish, pizza, music, and games were brought to make sure these kids had a good time. We, again, exhausted ourselves playing, laughing, running, and spinning with the children. But God wasn’t done. The next morning, on Sunday, we showed up to what felt like a ghost town. At 8:30AM absolutely no one was in the streets. We had decided to partner with a local church and bring the kids that wanted to go to a service that would start at 9. Expecting little to no one, we showed up, nervous about if kids were going to come. And then, they came. This was the fourth place I saw God this weekend.

We never had to sit kids down and teach them about the love of Jesus, I truly believe they saw His love in the way we loved them throughout the course of the weekend. And such a love is contagious.

So, they said yes. We took a group of the kids to church and let God do His thing.

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The most beautiful part of this weekend is that it’s not over. These groups of kids are fifteen minutes down the street from us. Some of our team just went to revisit and play the other night! God has planted a seed in our hearts and watering that seed comes through serving. These kids desire to be loved on. This is not their home, but they are living into a life of freedom. This weekend was a beautiful picture of what it looks like to fully surrender to the Lord, and I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to serve with such an amazing group. I love you all!

Psalm 16:11

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

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Written by: Lindsay Brent, Junior, Women’s Soccer

 

The Power of Athletic Missions

Sports are the predominate religion of the world.

As a kid, I worshipped the God of soccer; all of my time, energy and emotions were consumed by the sport. I knew that the Lord had given me the passion and ability to play soccer, but unfortunately, I thought that gift was only for me to enjoy.

Through the years, I’ve come to realize that when we acknowledge that everything was created through Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1:15-16), we are able to recognize sport as more than simply winning and losing games, but rather a metaphorical bridge to instantly connect people and foreign cultures. And once these relationships are established, the love and grace of Jesus have the power to change lives.

Using sports as a vehicle of ministry helps take the focus off oneself and place it where it belongs: Jesus.

Within Lipscomb Athletics, we believe athletics is incomplete without nurturing the spiritual development of each athlete and person involved. When an athlete realizes that the pursuit of earthly glory never fully satisfies; yet the Glory of God is ultimately fulfilling and ever increasing (2 Corinthians 3:18), the God-given potential in that athlete will begin to emerge and sports take their appropriate place in one’s life.

For many athletes, because of their unwavering commitment to their sport, they have never had the opportunity to combine their passion and gifting beyond themselves. The idea of an athlete using their sport for the glory of God, and to positively influence others is revolutionary; and our initiative within Lipscomb Athletic Missions allows this dream to fully come alive. What started as nine student-athletes serving in Honduras in 2012 has exploded into a pillar for Lipscomb Athletics. Over the past five years, Athletic Missions has mobilized 37 teams and 587 student-athletes and coaches on the mission field. Having personally been involved in athletic mission trips for over 12 years, I am convinced that the youth of today will discover Jesus through sports ministry.

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Host Partnerships are Key

The first step to everything we do is to pray. As we pray, the key focus we bring to the Lord is to establish the right host partnership for each trip.

Once we come alongside a host partner, our goal and desire within Lipscomb Athletic Missions is to stay actively connected to that ministry; continuing to build on those relationships year-after-year. We feel that the greatest impact for the Kingdom will be when we pour into the same communities and people, and allow those relationships to grow in depth. Lipscomb Athletic Missions work with nine host partners domestically and internationally.

These strategic partnerships allow short-term teams to return to the same communities and invest in the same people, and as a result, create long-term relationships and eternal impact.

One example of this is our partnership with Marte Missions, a ministry working to love people and develop future leaders in Jesus’ name in the Dominican Republic. In July 2014, the Lipscomb women’s basketball team had the opportunity to help Marte Missions build a basketball court and work alongside a local church. In December 2014, the baseball team returned to this same community to help build a baseball field and invest deeper in the lives of the locals. In August 2016, the men’s basketball team also helped Marte Missions build a playground and share the love of Jesus with the children and families throughout the community.

“These young people who consistently come and invest in these kids makes a huge impact; the children feel like someone cares for them and loves them,” said Kassie Marte, missionary and host partner. “To have that level of investment, to let them know that someone loves them – we can translate that into God loves you, you are worth something and you have value.”

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Shift in Culture

Within Athletic Missions we work to provide opportunities for our athletes and coaches to participate in the Kingdom of God, living in the unforced rhythms of grace. This way, they see their lives in light of a greater story and become fully alive in the purposes of God. Every person has a significant place in the story.

We believe by embodying the character of Jesus, and participating in the story of God, each person has the ability to flourish.

This is exactly what we have witnessed in Lipscomb Athletic Missions as a result of these opportunities. Not only have the number of trips and participants grown exponentially each year, but the entire culture of athletics has been affected.

“I’ve always heard people saying how they see God working through something or someone, but in those moments it often doesn’t even cross my mind that God is present,” said Cam Miller, a member of the Lipscomb men’s basketball team. “After experiencing a week in the Dominican Republic, and building relationships with the community and with my teammates, I can say with full-confidence that I was able to see God working in their community, in my life and in this team. I have been able to recognize His presence, which has reminded me to fully trust God with my life.”

Our student-athletes and coaches are becoming more aware of God through these opportunities, and as a result, lives are being changed.

We have seen this play out as our cross-country and track program have been serving together for the past seven years in a row, and our women’s soccer program has returned to El Salvador the last five consecutive years. As prospective players are being recruited into the program, having the opportunity to serve on these mission trips with teammates and coaches is a reason they are choosing to attend Lipscomb University over other schools.

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Heartbeat of Lipscomb Athletic Missions

These opportunities reveal how our story is not the only story. The people we meet, the things that happen, the moments we experience; God uses everything to show us how our lives are part of a greater story; His story.

The heartbeat of serving on an athletic mission trip is to know Jesus and make Jesus known.

Since the inception of Lipscomb Athletic Missions, an extraordinary amount of athletes have given their lives to Christ in baptism, many of whom have chosen to do so in direct response to an experience on a mission trip. Our hope is that athletic mission trips will not simply provide a “great experience” for our athletic teams, host partners and people in the designated location, but rather that hope would be restored and Jesus would change lives.

After serving with host partner Project 658 in Charlotte, North Carolina, former cross-country runner Alex Tate comments, “When our trip had come to an end and we arrived back at Lipscomb, we came together to reflect and pray. Klotzy left us with some great last words. He said, ‘The way you feel right now, the way we have been living this past weekend, is how God intended it to be.’ I love these words. This is the only explanation why, after a whole weekend of early mornings, exhausting work, and busy days, we, as a team, felt so fulfilled. Our hearts were full because we spent a weekend living how God intended us to live: loving and serving others. I can’t help but ask myself how euphoric it would feel to commit myself to living my entire life like this. What a perfect note to end on.”

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Christopher Klotz, Director of Spiritual Formation within Athletics