Time is drawing near to depart for Rio. Passports and visas are in hand. Players have finished summer school and summer camps. All are now with family until August 1st when we gather for a final meeting time and instructions for a trip to the airport and our overnight journey to Brazil. Coaches are spending precious time with families before the all-important recruiting periods in July. I have been busy collecting about 75 pairs of Crocs (shoes) for needy children that we will take with us. My church friends have invested time, money, and energy in seeing that we not only have the Crocs, but 50 backpacks, along with dishes for a church that takes children off the streets and feeds them. There are toothbrushes and toothpaste, along with eating utensils for the dishes. Some women have used their sewing skills to make dresses for little girls out of pillowcases – we could open up a child’s dress shop! All this to say, God is providing through a lot of people here for the needs of those we will serve in Rio.
I feel blessed to be a part of this journey. Coach Bart ask me soon after he arrived on campus last Spring to take this team back to Rio, having heard and seen the results of the previous trip three years ago. So, this trip has been in the making over a year. The players have been raising money with the help of family and friends. Supporters have been generous in giving, having seen the results of these kinds of journeys with our student-athletes over the years. There are five players who were a part of the last trip, everyone else is new; including all 4 coaches and 1 graduate assistant – a total of 20 in our party.
Sharon Fairchild, retired missionary from Brazil and current staff member in Brentwood Baptist Church missions’ department, will again lead us. Brentwood Baptist is partnering with us through her leadership and generating some funds to help make our trip happen. I cannot thank my church enough for how they responded to my request, once again, to partner with this endeavor. Missions is in the DNA of this church and we are recipients of this history of carrying the gospel to the nations.
You can keep up with us on this blog throughout the trip. We ask that you pray for us: for safety in travel and ministry, for good health, for oneness is spirit and focus, for generous hearts of love to pour out on those we meet, for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus, for deepening of our own walk with Christ, and for a willingness to get out of our comfort zone and see the world through God’s eyes. As you pray, you are a vital member of the team and ministry.
I count it all JOY to prepare for and spend August 3 – 12 with Belmont Women’s Basketball team and coaches “on mission” in RIO, BRAZIL.