Before this trip, and before stepping foot on campus at Belmont, I was slightly nervous about bonding and building new friendships all over again at a new school. For me, it is like I’m starting college for the first time all over again. Over the summer, I had so much fun with the girls who were doing summer school, but that wasn’t the whole team. Since it was only a select number of us, I was still feeling a little nervous about getting to know everyone else.
This trip to Brazil really put any nerves I had at ease. I have never felt as bonded with a team as I do right now. I was given the opportunity to see my teammates in ways that maybe no one else has. Listening to each other’s stories and feelings about our faith really made me look at the girls around me in a different light. Throughout my life, I’ve had great teammates and great friendships through basketball, but bonding through our Savior has truly made this group feel like my sisters.
The people of Brazil are absolutely incredible. When you look around at the faces of people who do not have much but continue to smile, laugh, and love unconditionally, it is so clear that the Lord is present.
Before this trip, I did not truly realize how much a touch could do. It was amazing to me that we did not even have to use words to spread the Lord’s word. God was at work simply through our hugs and love. If I was to try to explain the things that I experienced in Rio, it would be impossible. I have never in my life felt so much.
After spending only a couple days with the kids in Rio, it felt like we were leaving lifelong friends. I have been blessed with many opportunities through basketball, but being given the opportunity to share the gospel in another country because of the game I love has truly been life changing.