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

Athletic Missions Summer 2017 Photo Recap

This summer, Athletic Missions sent out 3 teams to serve all over the globe. The volleyball team worked in Malawi, Africa partnered with the Sarah Walker Foundation as well as the Chikondi Heath Foundation. They worked predominately caring for children at the Mtendere Orphange. The women’s golf team experienced their first team mission trip as they partnered with Hope Road in Nicaragua. They were involved in various activities in the community including sports, art, construction, and church programs. The last team sent out was the softball team as they returned to Mexico for the third year in a row. Working alongside Baja Missions, the girls continued to invest deeper into a place they already call home away from home.

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porch malawiAbove: Women’s Volleyball serving in Malawi, Africa.

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IMG_1980FullSizeRenderAbove: Women’s Golf serving in Managua, Nicaragua.

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IMG_1119Above: Softball serving in Baja, Mexico.

Thank you for joining each trip through prayer, generosity, and overall support. We are thankful for YOU!! To learn more about upcoming mission trips, and local outreach opportunities, please contact Chris Klotz at cpklotz@lipscomb.edu

What did you do this summer? (Olivia Doak, Women’s Soccer)

The highlight of my summer was the trip we took to Trinidad and Tobago.

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This summer I’ve had the privilege to live in North Carolina and play for the Charlotte Lady Eagles. The Eagles are a sports ministry that use soccer has a platform to share the Gospel in Charlotte and also around the world. The coaches bring in college aged girls from different universities who are desiring to excel in soccer as well as in their faith. We train six days a week in an academy style environment and play 9 matches throughout the summer. The ministry provides many opportunities for the players to not only  play soccer, but also to transform the way you play and utilize your skills to witness to others about Jesus. They aspire to be a group of Christians who happen to play soccer and not soccer players who happen to be Christians.

Over the course of my time here, I have experienced SMT (sports ministry training), ran countless soccer clinics for kids, help at eagles youth camp, go on tour to Trinidad and Tobago, build incredible friendships, and so much more.

The highlight of my summer was the trip we took to Trinidad and Tobago. Over the course of our ten days on the island, we were able to play and remain undefeated throughout 4 games, including against their country’s U20 and full senior national teams. After the games, we always circled up, gave them a gift, shared about our purpose as a team, and one of our players would share a part of their testimony. We ran around a dozen clinics for kids in soccer academies, schools and orphanages around the area; the kids we met on the island were so full of joy and gratitude. I was able to experience so many inheritances of God’s love for us through the people, my teammates and by the island’s beauty.

I have never experienced the fulfillment you receive from the Lord when you relentlessly seek Him until this summer. I learned so much about who God is and what walking with Him actually looks like.

Many people have asked me to describe my summer, and the best I can do is sum it up to an analogy. In El Salvador over spring break with my Lipscomb team, I accepted Jesus into my heart and got baptized; I feel like I met the contractor (Jesus), decided to build a house (my life), and we made a blueprint. With my time with the Eagles, I feel like I built a strong foundation; a fountain built upon truth that I can continually build on.

I have absolutely loved my summer and time spent with the Eagles. I feel equipped to step back into my team at Lipscomb with a new sense of freedom, confidence and desire to be a better player, teammate, and daughter of God.

 

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Follow Lipscomb Women’s Soccer @Lipscombwsoc on social media
To learn more about the Charlotte Eagles, visit: http://www.charlotteeagles.com/

Summer Mission Trip Recap 2017

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Our mission is to empower the Lipscomb Athletics community to know Jesus and make Jesus known through the environment of sport and utilizing the gifts, talents, and passions the Lord has given our athletes. Thank you for joining us in what God is doing in and through these student-athletes!

Print this as a PDF: SUMMER SF UPDATE 2017_FINAL_

Follow Us: @LipscombFCA (Twitter), @LipscombSFBisons (Instagram), http://www.lipscombsports/spiritualformation

 

Staying is the New Going… Fall Break Mission Trip 2017!

Mission Trip Digital Flyer_Nashville 2017

Join us this Fall Break in Nashville! We will be serving Edgehill Community and Refugees at Fall Festival amongst other cool things! The mission trip is domestic and the total cost $100 which will cover your housing and meals!

When:Oct. 12-15
Where: Mission Trip in Nashville
How: Must register online by Sept. 12th – www.lipscomb.edu/missions and pay a $20 deposit.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU STAY AND SERVE US THIS FALL BREAK!!!!!

QUESTIONS? Email Chris Klotz at cpklotz@lipscomb.edu

 

This is My Calling: Alex Banks, Women’s Basketball

“My heart started to race… this is awesome.” Hear Alex’s story in full, click on the video link below:

Women’s basektball’s recently graduated Alex Banks grew up never wanting to travel out of the U.S. for mission work. The thought of sleeping on dirt in a hut in the middle of nowhere while spreading the Gospel was not on her radar.

After getting to Lipscomb and experiencing mission work abroad firsthand, Banks felt the call to not only continue that work, but to spend a year of her life traveling the world spreading the Good News.

Banks will leave on August 4th to begin an 11-month journey to 11 different countries called the “World Race.”

This is My Calling: Daniel Vieira, Men’s Soccer

 

I was reading The Purpose Driven Life, and as I read “your life is in His hands…” I was immediately at peace. Watch the rest of Daniel’s story here:

NASHVILLE – “My plan was always to go to Europe to play professional soccer or stay at home to play professional soccer. America was never really on my radar. I never thought about it at all.”

Daniel Vieira, a graduated senior midfielder, shares about coming to Lipscomb from South Africa and the injury and financial struggles that followed. Watch and learn about how God stepped in Daniel’s life and led him to find success on and off the field.

Follow Lipscomb Men’s Soccer: http://www.lipscombsports.com/msoccer/

 

Summer Update with Men’s Cross Country Runner Brent Leber

Well, my summer got off to a rough start when I found out that I had been fighting a stress fracture in my lower back for the last 3 weeks of the season. I was down in Nashville when I felt something wrong. I came home and visited an orthopedic specialist who sent me to get an MRI. The scan revealed a grade 4 fracture (the most severe) in my sacrum, which connects the vertebrae in the back to the pelvis. I have not been able to run all summer, but have been able to cross train doing non-impact activities just to keep me sane. I’ve also been working at a local gym part-time as an intern doing any jobs needed of me. This may include putting away equipment, cleaning weight machines, and greeting daily customers with a smile on my face. Other than working and cross training my summer has been pretty low-key.

Through all of my experiences this summer I think the biggest thing God has taught me is contentment.

I just read a verse this morning from Philippians 4:11 when Paul writes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever the circumstances.” Obviously I didn’t ask to be sidelined all summer with a stress fracture. I didn’t ask to be in pain and struggling as I competed at the ASUN championships in Jacksonville.

However, God’s plan is greater than anything I could ever dream for my own life.

As difficult as it is, I have been trying to be content with my situation, knowing that God is leading me through this trial for a reason so much bigger than myself. I’m thankful everyday to have a loving father that cares for his children and hope to continue to try to be a positive person in the lives of so many other people who are struggling far worse than I am. I pray that God can help use me for his kingdom. This pain is temporary, but God’s love and guidance lasts forever.

Brent Leber

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Summer Update with Lipscomb Student-Athletes.

This summer, I had the opportunity to go to Malawi, Africa on a two-week mission trip with the volleyball team. I worked in Blessings Hospital with Jenni Whitefield at the pediatric clinic, along with helping out the surgical team in post-op recovery care on the first day of their trip. From the beautiful sunrises over the horizon, to the smiling faces of the children in Mtendere Village, God was very real and alive during my trip in Malawi.

One thing this trip and God taught me during my time in Africa is that happiness can only be fulfilled through Him.

Worldly possessions will never be enough to live a truly meaningful life, but instead looking to God and knowing He is enough is what will bring fulfillment.

Jenny Phelan

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My summer has been pretty busy. We just had our last summer basketball workout on Tuesday and now I’m at the beach for a week! I’ve spent most of my summer playing basketball and fishing. I have had a whole lot of fun with just hanging out with all the guys! We have some really great guys on our team!

One thing that God has shown me this summer is that He can be seen anywhere.

It does not matter where you are, God will make himself present in your life! I think it is really easy to see the power of God while sitting at the beach! There are so many things about the scenery and the fish that swim in the ocean that just show you how incredible God is. I see God the best when I’m sitting on the beach with a line in the water.  It’s so cool to watch how God paints the sky with all sorts of different colors at sunset here. It has been clearer this summer that God is everywhere!

John Matt Merritt

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