Student Take: Hayden Stover

We asked Hayden, a student athlete,  to write a bit about his experiences so far as he has served with Belmont through an athletic mission trip!  We are excited for you to read Hayden’s take on serving with his sports team and athletic community.

“This past December, I was fortunate enough to go on a mission trip to San Diego. When I first got the email about this opportunity, I genuinely felt God pushing me to go on this trip, but I felt very uncomfortable thinking about it. I had no idea who would be going, and I had no idea what we would be doing.  Even though I had my doubts, I constantly felt God pushing me to take the opportunity. So, I ended up taking a leap into the unknowns of this trip, having no idea what God had in store.

The first day of the trip finally came.  We had a few meetings to get to know each other, but I still felt like I didn’t know our group at all. My honest reaction when we finally landed in San Diego was “what did I just get myself into?”  Our first night there, before we started work, I tried to make an effort to keep an open mind. I still had no idea what God was planning for this trip, but I was confident there was something there. Even though I did not feel prepared at all for what was about to happen, our group was thrown into the deep end from the start.

Our first two days were highlighted by serving breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House and helping out sorting toys for a Christmas toy drive. But, most of our work on this trip was dedicated to serving the homeless population of San Diego. For me, our interactions with the homeless were the best thing that I could have asked for on this trip. The stories these people shared were so inspiring because even when it seemed like on the outside these people weren’t given a fair shot at life or it seemed like there was no hope, they still had unshakable faith which was so powerful.

As I’ve reflected on this trip over the past couple of months, I’ve found it so hard to describe or put into words what it really means to me. This was my second mission trip. On both of the mission trips I’ve taken, I went in with the mindset that I was going to help people or make a difference. But, both times I’ve come back more changed by the people I interacted with.

Before I left for this trip, I didn’t realize how much I really needed it. Not only did this trip revitalize my faith, which I didn’t know I needed before, but it also helped me find my identity in Christ. I put so much of my worth into how I performed as an athlete before this trip, and when I faced many injuries my first year and a half at Belmont, it almost seemed like on the outside there was no hope. But, this trip helped me grow in my faith so much and find my identity in Christ. This was an experience I will never forget, and I am so thankful for this trip and the people that went”

Thank you so much for reading Hayden’s take on serving with Belmont! If you have any questions about upcoming athletic mission trips, or any questions in general, please reach out!

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