Nine student athletes traveled to Haiti on a week-long mission trip this month. In Grand Goâve, a city in southwestern Haiti just 40 miles west of Port Au Prince, the students hosted basketball and soccer clinics with Haitian teenagers ages 13 through 18 as a way to share the Gospel with them.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to primarily share our faith with kids in the community and share with them a good time through sports,” said men’s basketball Assistant Coach Mark Price, who led the mission trip.
Their trip was part of the three-decade sports evangelism mission trip program started by retired Senior Woman Administrator Betty Wiseman, which has taken Bruins to Italy, Malta, Ukraine, Venezuela, Brazil and South Africa.
“And it has continued to be a blessing for everybody involved,” Price said. “It enriches lives any time you take a gift that God has given you and share it with anybody else. Oftentimes, you are the one that benefits as much as the person you are sharing with.”
Men’s basketball players Reece Chamberlain, J.J. Mann, Jeff Laidig and Spencer Turner, women’s basketball players Katie Carroll and Torie Vaught, women’s soccer players Amy Jo Anderson and Meredith Martin and men’s soccer player Charlie Dankert participated in the trip.
“After an hour of four different stations, we provided them with snacks and juice, and one member of our team gives their testimony of how they came to know Christ,” the students wrote in a blog post. “With the help of the translators, we are able to break the barrier between the Creole and English languages and talk about the commonality of the relationship with Jesus. As a team, we have asked the Lord why he brought us here to Haiti. But we feel that God has called us here to foster relationships and plug into the lives of the Haitian people.”
Twenty-three Belmont students and Assistant Professor Martha Minardi also are in Haiti through the end of the month for the Maymester 2014 Global Health program with LiveBeyond, a nonprofit organization headquartered on Belmont’s campus. The Maymester experience combines classroom experiences with mission work at the LiveBeyond facility in Thomazeau, Haiti. Belmont students are assisting patients in outpatient medical and maternity clinics, playing games with the residents of Children of Hope Orphanage and Hospice and providing nutritional support to residents of the Thomazeau community.
Through a partnership between the University and LiveBeyond, Belmont students and faculty are able to provide medical and educational resources as well as business development to the ailing Caribbean country. Students are scheduled to return to LiveBeyond’s 64-acre Haitian base for the next three semesters.