I can not say enough how thankful I am for Belmont and the people I am surrounded by that made this trip possible! I am so lucky to be in such a loving, family environment in Nashville, Tennessee. God Bless Belmont. God Bless this team. And God Bless Rio.”
Just like that, our time in Rio has come to an end and we are back home in the US. Our last day’s activities included seeing the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue and going up the famous Sugar Loaf mountain in a suspended cable car. For lunch, we ate at a traditional Rodizio restaurant where the waiters carry around skewers of meat and cut it right in front of you! After our last tourist stop, it was time to head to the airport to come home. It’s safe to say that nobody on the trip was ready to leave yet, Rio will always have a little piece of our hearts with it.
Maddie Cook was able to reflect on her time in Rio:
“My time in Rio exceeded my expectations. I knew that I would love on kids and enjoy my time with them, but I never expected to connect with them as much as I did. I met young children and teenagers that I didn’t want to leave. I was blessed to meet them and make special bonds with them. One of the biggest take aways that I am bringing back to the states with me is the understanding of the depth of the platform that I have as a college athlete. Not only is it a platform, but it’s a privilege and a responsibility. At every single school that we visited, we were met by kids who were eagerly awaiting our arrival. Their excitement gave me butterflies that I will never forget. These kids looked up to us like we were professional level champion athletes. The admired us, so when we shared our faith and our testimonies with them, they wanted a relationship with God like we had. This realization of the positive influence that I can have is something that I want to build on in my own community with the people around. I am blessed to have such an amazing platform, but a platform without purpose is a waste of space. I now plan to be intentional with how I use every inch of the platform God has given me.”
Conley Chinn also took some time to meditate on her experience in Rio:
“As we go home today, I can’t help but smile knowing how present God is. I went into this trip expecting our crew to show these children the good news of inviting Jesus Christ to be in our heart, but as I leave, I realize that the children showed me how much God loves us. Whether it was through the beautiful smiles, the amazing dance moves, the contagious laughs, or the genuine, heartwarming bear hugs, these children have shown me how to live with Christ in my heart. Although I may have to battle through some tears, missing the sweet faces of Rio, I can smile and keep my head up, because I know that God has His hands over Rio.
We would like to thank everyone for following along on our journey with us. Your support means so much to this team and we can’t thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers.
We will see you all soon and God bless!