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

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/