|by Howard W. Hewitt • March 5, 2009|
A group of Wabash Athletes traveled to Botswana, Africa last spring and came back from a life-altering Christian experience. The trip had such a profound impact that five of those same students are returning this spring along with nine of their teammates and along with 11 football players from Wheaton College.
Follow the team's travel on this blog.
"The trip gave us all a chance regardless of how outgoing we were or how invested we were in our faith to really step outside of our comfort zone into the complete unknown and invest in the lives of kids who don't have the opportunities we do," said Chris Beedie ’11, who is helping to organize the trip.
The group will travel to Botswana and stay in the small city of Maun. The group of 25 young men will divide into small groups each day and visit one of the 84 surrounding villages.
"At the villages we will put on sports camps each day, which will serve to reach the children and teach them about God's hope for a life free from the issues that plague the area, which unfortunately are mainly sexual immorality and alcoholism," Beedie said.
"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. The smiles of the kids are one thing that you can never forget after an experience like this. Each day you are just as anxious and nervous as the first because you don't know how you will be received at each village....but you forget all of that as soon as you turn into a village and 50 or more kids start chasing your car and run all the way to the fields where we have the activities for the day. It is extremely encouraging to know that despite us being from practically halfway around the world, the kids are so eager to spend time with us and hear what we have to say. To see kids laugh and smile like they do each day when you know that their life at home is a hundred times more difficult than ours is extremely encouraging, and I know for all of us that really make the trip and all the effort more than worth it."
But the trip is not all rough-housing and talking to teens. Last year the group went to a Botswana prison and worked with inmates. They will face that challenge again this year. "That was definitely an intimidating experience last year, but I think many of the guys saw it as the most rewarding. I don't think anyone thought they would ever be playing games in a prison in Africa, but it is a unique chance to spend time with a bunch of men who unfortunately find themselves imprisoned as a consequence of their actions, and who truly want to get out of their old ways and find new life through God."
The trip is sponsored by One Way Ministries of Naperville, Illinois