Student-athletes from Wabash returned last weekend from a second mission trip to Africa – a journey in which they were joined this year by football players from Wheaton (Illinois).
Like last year’s spring-break sojourn (which was chronicled in the summer 2009 issue of NCAA Champion magazine), the group of 25 men traveled to Botswana, where they stayed in the small city of Maun and split up each day into small groups to visit surrounding villages. They put on sports camps which also served as a ministry to address such local problems as alcoholism and promiscuity.
“The way that the sports camps enable us to connect with the kids, and especially teenage males, is amazing, and sports truly are a universal language,” Wabash student-athlete Chris Beedle, who helped organize the trip and also participated last year, said before the group’s departure.
The group reported on its activities through a blog maintained by the mission’s sponsor, One Way Ministries of Naperville, Illinois.
“It is difficult to express how much excitement and energy is generated when such a large group of American athletes whose sole purpose is to love a people descend upon a part of the world that is remote and mostly forgotten,” the group reported near the end of its stay in Botswana.
“Every village we enter, youth of all ages run, and I mean RUN, to the athletic field in anticipation of the arrival of the missionaries and the American team.”
The group also again visited a Botswana prison, where more than 70 inmates joined in games and worship.
This year’s mission group included 14 Wabash student-athletes, including five who also participated in last year’s trip, and 11 members of Wheaton’s football team.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association