May 27, 2008

BW’S Final Entry

betty-posing-with-boy.jpgFinal thoughts? No, just my last entry. I’ll be thinking about this team and trip for weeks and months to come. It will go down as one of the most meaningful experiences of my leadership in sports evangelism.

God will continue to grow what we were able to plant in and around Rio. The seeds that were sown and the prayers prayed to receive Christ are just one aspect of the impact of this trip. It never fails to humble me how God works in and through the lives of young men and women in sports.

Today, Saturday (24th), following twelve hours of sleep I am thinking about the team and praying God will protect their hearts that have been opened and filled up with a passion for serving Him. My prayer this a.m. was one of “thanksgiving and praise” for all we experienced together and the life-changing effects to continue to resonate in the team member’s lives. It was such a diverse group of young people - graduating seniors who had been with me before, freshmen first-timers who have just become sophomores, a manager, a senior who will graduate in August, two walk-ons who will not play next year, two up-coming seniors, and two who could not play a lot due to a broken finger and recent knee surgery. But, this team of diversity had a bond that was most unusual and served beautifully for two weeks. I focused on each one and these are my closing thoughts.

brooke-with-two-boys.jpgBrooke has grown and matured into a beautiful Christian woman who is now very comfortable sharing her faith and her walk with Christ. I have watched her evolve through three trips with me, culminating with her most effective and open witnessing in Rio. I enjoyed watching her grow into a leadership role. She and Michael (former Bruin in dental school) will marry in August. I can see them going on medical mission trips in the future through their church - Michael as a dentist and Brooke doing evangelism.

brit-m-with-young-ones.jpgBrittany is a natural when it comes to working with kids. She lights up when the young ones come onto the court. Watching her grow during the two trips has been a thing of beauty. She will share at a moment’s notice now, and the depth of her sharing has reached new heights. Britt is comfortable with herself and her relationship with Christ and it shows in her daily demeanor and her daily walk with Christ. She’ll be doing more mission trips in the future.

laura-posing-with-group.jpgLaura had a life-changing experience in Rio. God did a wonderful thing in her life, bringing back to her the real JOY of her salvation as she experienced full release and healing of some personal struggles. She was at her very best and I loved it. I marveled at her laughter, her testimonies, her deep love for her teammates, and her complete honesty in sharing her heart. The sound of her voice brought real joy to me, and I continue to hear it in my heart. Laura will be back on the mission field in the future as an occupational therapist.

andrew-posing.jpgAndrew was special. His first mission trip came at a perfect time in his life before he graduates in August. He was the perfect team player and captured the hearts not only of his teammates but the crowds. His energy, enthusiasm, and total abandonment to the moment said it all. His first time ever sharing his testimony was amazing. He became a natural and he liked it. I believe he surprised himself. I loved his openness and honestly in our processing session. And, I loved his presence and all he brought to this team. It would not have been the same without him.

keaton-talking-to-girls.jpgKeaton was a favorite of the kids with his jamming and slamming around the rim, and his unusual compassion for reaching out to needy kids. If there was a loner or an individual who stood to the side it was Keaton who reached out to them. When he stood to speak he always spoke to them from his heart and from the practical side, encouraging them to say “no” to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. Keaton is not a man of many words, but when he speaks “everyone listens.” His actions speak louder than words. I love his heart for God and his burning desire to grow in Christ.

stefan-and-group-of-boys.jpgStefan was a magnet, clinging to everything he saw and experienced. His cup is filled up and overflowing. His smile, enthusiasm, energy, and excitement for the country as well as for the people was a thing to behold. His awe of God’s creation, of the beauty of the moon, the mountains, sunsets, the hills and ocean was overwhelming. He loved every minute of every day and captured the beauty of it all through his keen sense of presence. He gave his testimony for the first time ever and touched us all deeply. I believe he discovered a new level of meaning in his relationship to Christ during these days.

matt-posing.jpgMatthew commanded attention with his very presence. The “little boy” inside of this giant of a man would “come out to play” and capture the hearts of his audience. Of course, the girls loved his “locks.” Matthew is grounded, deep, and comfortable in his faith, but I sense that he discovered an even deeper level of loving, giving and sharing the gospel. His encouragement of teammates and his level of maturity in his walk with Christ serves as a steadying force wherever he is. He is real and he loves his Lord. He’ll be “on mission” wherever he is.

will-thumbs-up.jpgWill was a sponge, soaking up everything about the trip, the ministry, and the culture. I believe he probably got more out of this trip than anyone. He was totally uninhibited in his work and play and enjoyed every moment. He would have shared at every session if I had let him. You see, Will is what I call a “gym rat.“ He could play and hang out at a gym 24 hours a day. But, he learned a lot about himself during these days. And, his teammates enjoyed his presence on the team. I believe Will came back a different man with a new and deeper commitment to priorities in his life. He is determined to refocus on his schoolwork and set his goals higher.

Andy-and-group.jpgAndy is a natural on the mission field. His sweet smile and gentle nature draws his audience. His broken finger didn’t keep him from being a powerful influence. He couldn’t do a lot of playing, but he was everywhere talking and “hanging out” with people. Andy has the gift of communication and shared whatever and whenever we needed to go in a particular direction. He is a deep thinker and his teammates love hearing from him in group settings. His reflections during “processing time” served as inspiration and motivation to all of us. He is well on his way to becoming a Godly man, and it is evident that God has something really special in store for this guy.

brit-e-with-young-boy.jpgBrittney inspired us all with how she handled her two day “bug” that kept her in the hotel. She never complained and worked hard to get back out with us for ministry. She loved working in the schools, sharing and giving her testimony. Each time she went deeper and deeper with her words and challenges. I read her entries on the journal and know how God worked in her life. There is a depth to Brittney that came to the surface day by day. I loved watching it happen. She is kind, gentle, loving, and good hearted. Her gift to her teammates was encouragement.

Whitney-with-young-girl.jpgWhitney became a Brazilian, adapting to the place, the people, and the culture. I wasn’t sure she was coming home with us. A person of few words, I watched her thrive in the ministry. She listens, observes, and processes. Her play and interaction with the kids, the students, translators, and volunteers were an encouragement to all. Whitney came home a different person. God knows the work that He did in her life, and I believe it is just beginning. There is a powerful force inside this young woman that is going to burst forth and when it does….watch out!

rachel-talking.jpg Rachel simply embraced everything about the experience. She had the time of her life. Everybody loved Rachel. Her smile can light up the world. You would never know she had not done this before. She said she was nervous, but I don’t believe it. I loved watching her encouragement to the missionaries, translators, and volunteers. Then we all saw a different and deeper side of Rachel where she shared from her heart and through her tears during processing time, loving and encouraging her teammates. God did a work in Rachel’s life that we will see continue to emerge in the next three years at Belmont.

tony.jpgTony saw and experienced more than anyone on the trip because he saw it through the lens of a camera. His influence and impact on this team cannot be measured with words. He will tell the story through the editing of maybe 1,000 pictures and hours of videoing. We will be privileged to relive the journey because of Tony. But, Tony’s influence on this team goes beyond all that. He was a “rock”. The team members loved him, respected him, admired his gifts and talents, and grew to appreciate Tony, the man, not the volleyball coach. Their bonding with “T-bone” moved me day by day. His willingness to be in the background, bring up the rear, and play his role won the hearts of this team. Tony had a special relationship with missionaries Sharon and Ray and ministered to them in ways we’ll never know. I am indebted to him for all he has given and the time he will spend creating the videos to “tell the story.”

This will be my final entry but not my final thoughts of this team. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve on the mission field with them in Rio. I pray God will continue to grow the passion for service and ministry that is now alive in each of their hearts.


May 26, 2008


rachel-sharing.jpgAs I returned home on Friday, I tried to think about what the best things about this trip were and what I learned from this trip. I was so tired and not wanting to leave Brazil that I couldn't even come close to answering any of these questions. It’s two days later and I still can’t, however I’ve found some things that I can tell you. I can tell you that on this trip I had a lot of firsts. It was my first time in Brazil, my first mission trip (definitely not my last), my first time giving my testimony, but the best of all it was my first time leading someone to know Jesus Christ. That was the best feeling I've ever had it was the most exhilarating feeling I've ever had. It was better than the exhilaration of riding a roller coaster for the first time, or bungee jumping, it's probably the most exhilarating feeling that God has created on earth.

I remember when I was little and in church and we had revival the evangelist would talk about spreading the word of God to others, how it was the best feeling in the world. I didn't understand that then but now I do, and I encourage everyone to try it once because you'll want to keep doing for the rest of your lives. This is probably how Ray and Sharon the missionaries we worked with got started.

rachel-kids.jpgSo the thing I would like to remember about this trip and let everyone else know is that going on a mission trip makes you sometimes feel exhausted but when you see the looks on the faces of the children or whomever takes God into their heart all the exhaustion goes away and you are left with this tingling feeling in your stomach like the best thing you can think of just happened. Lets just say it’s something I don’t want anyone to miss out in his or her lifetime and lastly, thanks again to everyone again for making this trip happen!


May 24, 2008



As I sit here in the airport waiting for our plane to depart back home, I just cannot explain how incredible this experience has been for me. It honestly hurts to return home, because I feel as if this team has become a family and we all have to separate and return to our daily lives back home. Rio surpassed any expectations that I had before the trip. I am a completely different person from when we first left Nashville for Rio. All the faces that I remember from Rio will always have a special place in my heart. The seeds were certainly sown and we all are so drained from giving it our all to the kids and people of Rio. During the trips we had team meetings on top of the roof of our hotel. Its not the typical roof that we would think of, but rather it’s the most beautiful view in the world overlooking the ocean and the mountains of Brasil. God’s grace touched my heart during the team meetings that we had. At first I was just expecting a wrap up of what we had done so far, but it turned into the most touching experience of my life. I can’t help but to tear up as I write what I am about to say. These team members expressed some of the most touching testimonies, thoughts, and feelings about each other based on how this experience has impacted their lives. God certainly was tugging at my heart during our discussions and I just began sobbing in front of the group letting go of my struggle and heartache that I have had over the past 4 years. I realized that what I wanted for my life at the time when I was the most unhappy wasn’t what God wanted for me. He was only leading me to Rio. It was my purpose to help serve to these people who needed to hear the word of God. This was in fact the most powerful experience with God that I’ve ever had. My heart is completely empty of all the hurtful things that burdened me before. I left all my burdens on the roof of our hotel in Brasil. I am coming back a different person with a different smile. This is how great God is! I just cannot thank all the team members enough for helping me come to this realization. Everybody on this trip became real and we all shared some of our deepest emotions that we probably wouldn’t share back at home. I will cherish these wonderful people forever and I thank God for this life changing experience and the impact we left on Rio.



Brittany M


The end has come to another amazing trip. We went to our last school yesterday and it was a bittersweet moment. We connected with many children, yet it was almost the end to our work. Those schools are in dire need of help and the only way I can see that this can be accomplished is through Jesus. I believe that a majority of those kids that we talked to at school had heard of Jesus, but many of them were not aware that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They just needed someone to tell them how to have a relationship with Jesus. I think all of my teammates did an exceptional job of relaying this message to the children and everyone else in our presence.

Upon reflection, I would have to say that my favorite part of this trip was the interaction with the children. Children need loving and we used the power of touch to connect with them. I could see the need and want of love in those children’s eyes and it was a joy to give them this love through hugs, kisses, high fives, and smiles. Working with these children reinforced my passion to work with young kids when I finish school. Helping others is such an awesome act and is so fulfilling. That is exactly what we did here in Rio; we helped people of Rio reach Christ and understand his power.


Mission trips are so always so amazing because it consists of people helping people. In addition to this, I learned much about my teammates and myself during our journey. The other girls on the trip have been my teammates in Nashville, Brooke and Cooler man for 4 years. There is a different connection that we could make on this trip than we could ever have made on the court at Belmont. We have gone through many struggles together and have had times in school when we thought we could not make it and sometimes wished our time away. This trip helped me realize that we went through this struggle for a reason; God has/had a plan for all of our lives and we were led to Belmont not to play basketball, but to impact the lives of people who were not yet connected with Jesus. It is such an amazing feeling to know that God has a reason for everything that happens in our life and that he is in total control. There is a peace about this type of feeling, and I love that part of his plan for me was to use me to bring others around the world to Jesus.


The connections I have made on this trip will never leave me; whether it is with my teammates, the missionaries, or children of Brazil. This particular group will never have another chance to all be together again in this type of atmosphere and I will always remember it as one of the best times of my life. I have really enjoyed seeing my teammates outside of the Belmont environment. Some of my teammates I did not know very well before the trip, but have gotten to know them more on this trip. It is awesome to see all of them grow spiritually and it makes me realize how much I will miss Belmont and the connections it provided me.

I want to take this time to thank Betty Wiseman for all she has done. She has given me two opportunities to go on mission trips with Belmont and they have been awesome. Not only has she given me these opportunities for sports evangelism, but also she has helped me through my worst times and to grow spiritually. She is an amazing woman and has made a huge impact in my life. Betty Wiseman was one of the main reasons I came to Belmont and has helped me wrap up my college career in a positive way. Thanks also to Tony who made this blog possible. He always knew how to make the mood a fun one and I enjoyed getting to know him and seeing him outside of the athletic office hallways. It’s been an amazing journey and I am lucky to have been a part of it!

May 22, 2008

The Team

team.jpgThe team will be leaving Rio today. The arrival in Nashville will be approximately 9:30 am Friday morning. Thank each of you for your continued prayers and support. The team will have final reflections of this week posted on this blog, so please keep reading to hear what each member will say about this AMAZING week.

God Bless each and everyone of you!!

Isaiah 40:30-31 Even Youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Brittney E.

brit-e 4.jpg


Brittney E—final goodbye

Hey everyone, it’s me again! =) Wow I can’t believe that this trip is almost over! It seems like just yesterday we were arriving in Rio and checking through customs.

It’s hard to decide where to begin to explain my experiences on this trip. No words seem good enough to describe my feelings. As much as I miss all my friends and family back home, it is very hard to say goodbye to Brazil, the people of Rio, and all the wonderful new friends I have made! They have all touched my heart in a special way; I will NEVER forget any of them. Not only have I met some of the most wonderful people on this trip, but I have also grown so close to the people I came with. These 13 individuals that I have flown 9 hrs with, laughed with, cried with, ate with, and shared God’s word with are 13 of the most AMAZING people I have ever met in my life! I have grown so close to all of them, and I am sad that this special time with all of them has to end. But, I will ALWAYS have the memories we made together to take with me. Los Jeans! =)

I came on this trip to make an impact on Brazil. I came in hopes to change the hearts of the children and people I met; I wanted them to know about my faith and Jesus. I believe we succeeded in this. I know we touched the hearts of many and led some to God. However, I think more change occurred than just in the people of Brazil. I can see a change in each and every person who came on this trip. I know, personally, I have grown in my faith and also learned more about myself. That growth is the most important thing I can take home! I am very grateful for not only being able to give all that I could, but also to gain all that I did.

I wish I could explain more about the trip itself and what went on, but I just can’t put it into words. My teammates are a little…no a lot…better at that than I am, so I’m sure they have given better detail. But from me, I just want to share with you all that this trip really has been a life changing experience for us all. This trip to Rio has been more than a trip of giving and sharing, but a trip of growth and gain!

God Bless you all! See you soon!



brooke 4.jpg brooke-3.jpgWe are winding down our time here in Brazil. Today was the last day to visit schools. We went to one school this morning and Stefan, Brittney E., and Andy did a spectacular job sharing about their Christian walk with the children. It was sad to leave knowing it was our last school to visit, but at the same time it was rewarding to think about the hundreds of people we were able to interact with this week!

There are no words that I can write to summarize the experience that we have had over this past week. We have interacted with so many children and young adults over the course of our trip. There is no way for us to know how many lives were actually impacted after our departure, but if one life was won for the Lord than our trip was more than worth it! And I know that this experience has changed the hearts of each member of this group. If nothing else was accomplished throughout the week, I still feel like God called each of us on this trip for a purpose and that our lives are forever changed. It has been great to watch each person grow in their faith throughout the week as we visited different areas of Rio and as they each had the courage to share their testimonies with a group of children. I have truly enjoyed getting to know each person on a new level. I am so grateful for the opportunity that B-dub presented me with to be a part of this wonderful group of people. Our trip to Rio has been incredibly rewarding and humbling. My hopes and prayers are that we are able to carry this experience over into our everyday lives after arriving home. My challenge for myself, as well as my teammates is to continue to know how very blessed we are and to not take anything for granted.

Being here in Brazil with B-dub, Tony, and all of the other team members brings me back to one of my first visits to Belmont and a meeting I had with B-dub. After meeting with her and discussing the possibility of me being able to be a part of one of the mission trips someday helped make my decision to choose Belmont so much easier. I knew then that God had planned for me to attend Belmont and that this was the place I wanted to be. Once again, I thank God for a wonderful college experience and for bringing me to Belmont. I cannot think of a more positive way to conclude my four years at Belmont University.

Thanks again for the many thoughts and prayers. I just ask that you all remember us as we travel home tomorrow and we will see you all soon!!


May 21, 2008

Sharon and Ray

ray-and-girls.jpgWell, it took us a while to get to our last school but the reception was well worth the wait. The kids were clapping and yelling as the team entered the school. Watching the faces of the Brasilian kids was a sight to behold. Their smiles and greetings were contagious. The Belmont team responded with hugs and smiles. What amazes me after many years on the mission field is that body language speaks so much louder than our words. The Belmont team has crossed language and culture barriers this week to change eternity.

group-5.jpgSometimes during the drills and games the screaming and yelling is deafening. But when the time comes for the team members and Betty to share from God’s word there is silence. There is power in the name of Jesus.
We have seen young people pray in groups and we have seen adults pray one on one. What a sight to behold as we have the honor of seeing people pass from eternity separated from God to an eternity with God. I watch their faces as they listen intently as Betty tells them that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives. I saw the impact that Keeton had when he shared his faith and told the kids that Jesus would be their best friend and help them say no to drugs and drink.

Thank you Belmont team, Brooke, Rachel, Whitney, Brittney, Brittany, Laura, Keeton, Andrew, Andy, Matthew, Will, and Stefan, thank you Tony and Betty, for investing in God’s kingdom and God’s work in Brasil. Only in eternity will we fully know the impact of lives changed and seeds planted. Hey team, when we get to heaven I cannot wait to see the look on your faces as Brasilians run to hug you and tell you that because you came to share God’s word with them they now you will spend eternity together.

God Bless you,
Sharon Fairchild




Our time in Brazil is almost over. It would be impossible to describe how amazing this trip has been. We have all made so many great memories. Perhaps my favorite memory will be how many people we have reached out to and brought to our Savior, Jesus Christ. The kids in Brazil are the most beautiful kids in the world. I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing the message of Christ to all of them.

Another thing I’ve enjoyed is getting to know our translators. I’ve had great conversations with each of them. The one I’ve become closest to is OJ. I’ve been able to sit next to him on the bus these last three days, and I’ve gotten to know him very well. OJ told me about his early life. At the age of 14 he became involved in the drugs here in Brazil. He was heavily involved in this until 19, when he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. He is now 33, or 30, or 34…it just depends on the day. OJ also told me about losing his father not too long ago. He was on the computer at 2 AM and his dad came in and told him it was late. He said, “Nah, it’s ok.” He went to bed and was woken up by his mother around 4 AM saying something had happened to his dad. He had suffered a heart attack. He tried massaging around his chest, but it was too late. His father was taken away from him too early. It amazed me as I sat and listened to his story. The strength he has as he tells his story is awesome.

The last 2 days we have gone into 6 schools. We are all worn out, but somehow we are able to find more energy each time we go out and play. Sharing the gift God gave us, basketball, we are able to connect with these kids. More important however, is the gift we have in Christ. We are now on our way to our final school. I have mixed emotions right now. I’m tired, I miss my family, I miss my friends, and I miss home. However, I’ll miss these kids, I’ll miss our translators, I’ll miss Ray and Sharon, and I’ll miss Brazil. What I’ll miss most is this team. We have all drawn so close to one another. As a kid I dreamed of being a Bruin, and for these 10 days I have had the opportunity to put on the Navy and Red and play the game of basketball. I couldn’t think of any 11 teammates I’d rather share this time with. Hearing their stories, sharing laughs, hugs, and even tears together are things that will never happen again. BW and Tony are the best leaders we could ask for. I want to thank everyone at home that made this trip possible. This trip is something none of us will ever forget. I love you all and miss you terribly, but we’ll be home in a couple of days. Please continue to pray for us as we share the Good News.

May 20, 2008

Just Pictures - Again


Betty W

Monday & Tuesday

Six different schools in two days – thousands of kids – lots of fun playing and interacting – testimonies & sharing of the gospel - hundreds of decisions!

Our team is now family! Their hearts and eyes have been opened to a much bigger world, and I believe each team member now has a more intimate relationship with their Savior. They have seen Him at work in their lives. They have listened to one another proclaim His love and saving grace. Words, again, fail us to share it all with you. I’m asking Tony to share through the lens of his camera the experiences of these past two days.


betty-director.jpgTomorrow’s Schedule (Wednesday)

Another school in the morning – followed by a visit to Rio das Pedras, one of Rio’s poorest favellas (slum), where we have done ministry on previous trips.

Tomorrow night we’re going to the Maracana’ stadium (largest outdoor soccer stadium in the world) to see a professional soccer game. That will be a well-deserved treat for our team.

Thursday we will sightsee and depart for home at 11:00 p.m.

Brittney E

brittany-and-boys.jpgFirst of all, I would like to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers! They have definitely been received. Its unreal how God works, and he has been working more than I could imagine this past week. It feels so good to be apart of it. All my life I would read the scripture about being “fishers of men” and going throughout the world spreading God’s word, but I always wondered how and if I would ever get the chance. Well, B-dub (Betty Wiseman) gave me that chance through this trip (I do hope I get many more chances also!) and it has been one of the best experiences of my life!

brittany-test.jpgFriday I spoke about my faith in front of a group of people (who I didn’t know) for the first time in my life. It was the most rewarding experience ever! I hope you all get the chance (if you already haven’t) to do the same. The way a room full of loud and wild kids will come to a complete silence is definitely God’s work. As for when I was speaking, it was like God put specific words in my heart to say to these kids. Even though I had practiced and rehearsed my testimony (word for word might I add) multiple times, when I stood up to speak a “different version” came out. Maybe it was just nerves and I forgot what I had prepared, but I think God changed my words for a reason. Because its His work we are doing not our own!

The past couple days I had been feeling a little “under the weather,” and had to miss a couple activities. At first I was discouraged and questioned why God even sent me here. What was his plan or reasons? My knee is injured, so I am limited to the amount of basketball I can play, and now I am missing out on time I could be spreading his word! It didn’t make sense to my young, human mind. However, like usual God and B-dub were there to set my heart straight. Without knowing of my feelings, B-dub said something last night during our team reflection that really “hit me.” She told us that God had placed each of us in her heart and mind for a reason. She had been thinking about this trip, and who to take, LONG before she asked each of us. She also said that she knew why she had chosen each of us and God chose each of us for a special reason, too. I am extremely thankful for her words, because I realize now that I am here for a reason. We have all made an impact of somebody, somehow! Whether we ever know who or how, we are all here for a reason; we are all part of God’s mighty plan!

Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers! God Bless!

Just Pictures

stefan-and-kids-playing.jpgandrew witness.jpgandy-boy.jpg

Tuesday's Activities

Today the team will visit 3 more public schools. The group was so touched yesterday about the love that each kid showed and how each payed very close attention to what we had to say. A Blessed Day!!! :)

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

May 19, 2008

Brittany M.

duck-duck-goose.jpgToday was awesome! We ventured into the public schools starting in the morning. I was assigned the little ones, which are my favorite. These children did not have much, yet they were smiling as if they had everything in the world when we walked into their school. Seeing the smiling faces of the little ones made my heart break because many of them had worn out clothes and shoes. We played duck, duck, goose with them and they loved the attention. It was obvious that many of these children did not receive the attention they should at home, and were so excited to have us touch, hug, and play with them. I was drawn to a small, quiet girl. She had ripped shorts and shoes that were not in wearing condition. Though she was only about 5 years old, the love of God was shining in her eyes. She was so precious, and its those moments that makes these trips so worth while. It is amazing how God is everywhere, even in places where people do not know him. Cooler man and Andy shared today and did an awesome job of conveying God’smessage. The little children all the way up to the older ones were captivated. This was a sight to see. It is always hard to leave little children, even harder when they have touched your heart.

keaton-dunk.jpgThe next two schools were filled with more children. I love how we can capture their attention with our basketball skills and then tell them the message of God. How awesome is it that we can use something as small as a dunk from Keaton Belcher to get them interested in listening to whatever we say? We are able to lead them to God with a leather basketball. God works in amazing ways, and I love when it involves the little children. Children are always glowing with the love of God, even the ones of Brazil.

This trip is flying. I cant believe we are leaving in 3 days…how sad. But we have 2 more days of work for the Lord, and I am as excited and full of anticipation as I was on day one!


matt-and-boy.jpgLast night was an awesome experience. We went to a Brazilian Sunday night worship service. I stood there in awe as I was a part of more than 2,000 people worshipping God in a jam-packed building. For more two hours these people praised God with all of their hearts. God is truly alive and active here in Brazil!

matt-keaton-and-boys.jpgYesterday morning was also great to be a part of. We were fortunate enough to visit a private community and share the Gospel with hundreds of children and their parents. Many spoke very good English, and I even met a sixteen-year-old boy who had lived in South Carolina for six years. We were able to carry on a conversation about how great God is and the personal relationships we have with Him. All of these children were eager and excited to hear our message. Each time we step into a gym I have an even better time than the previous one. It is so incredible to witness God in full control when we go into a noisy gym and then quiet the children to share the word of God.

Today we have three schools to visit. It is hard to believe we only have a few days left—it feels like we have just got started! As I sit here typing on the bus on the bumpy streets of Brazil, I can’t help but think of how blessed I am to have been a part of this trip. Like Venezuela two years ago, I can feel the power of God working through my teammates and me. For my family and friends back home, I want to thank you for your prayers and your support. Thank you all for your backing of this Rio mission team. God is alive and well here in Rio.



Growing up with a father who loved James Taylor, I can’t quit thinking about his song titled, “Only a Dream in Rio.” It seems like we are in a dream down here. I couldn’t have imagined the people being more receptive of us or our message. I am anxious for today and the last leg of the trip, because of where we will be. Up until now we have spent our time in mostly private schools or private clubs. Today we venture into the public sector where the kids come from completely different life styles. These are the kids that probably need our message the most. I pray that we will be at our best for these last few days.

This is my third trip with BW. Like the trips before, I find myself thinking about the effects that this trip will have on my life as time goes on. I ask myself, “How can I be so bold and driven in a country so far away from home? Why is it easy for me to spread this message when I am pulled away from my normal life and circumstances?” I get frustrated because I know how hard it will be to take this courage back to the United States and continue this work in my own country. Although, I am grateful for this frustration because it motivates me to change my daily habits. It encourages me to make a difference not just for ten days in a foreign country, but every week in my own community.

I want to say thank you to all of you that have been praying for all of us down here in Rio. I love you all very much and wish all of you could be here experiencing this with us. Our lives will be changed evermore after this week is over with. God Bless you all. And in the words of my grandfather, Opa, “Stay Healthy, Happy, and Kind to All.”


Monday's Activites



Today the team will be very busy. We will go to 3 public schools and do a court dedication. This Basketball court has not been used until today. It has been waiting for the American Team to come. Marshu told the team that the court will be baptized in the Spirit of the Lord today by their presence, play, and testimony.

Colossians 3:11 .....Christ is all, and is in All.

May 18, 2008



First of all this trip surpassed my expectations after the first school we visited. It has been awesome, and it’s definitely something that I will never forget. I feel privileged to even have an opportunity to come to Brazil and meet all these new people: the translators, athletes, missionaries and everyone else that I have worshiped with. I feel as if a part of me will be left in Brazil with these people, and I know that I am carrying home a part of all the people here. Today I gave my testimony in front of a group of children and their parents and if you read my other blog I was really nervous about it, because it was the first time I’ve ever done it. It did not go exactly the way I was planning but I think that what I said turned out better, all thanks to God! Thanks to those who prayed for me about that aspect of this trip. Thanks to Tony who has put together this blog he has done so well keeping everyone updated on how our trip is going. Also I want to thank everyone who made this happen I will appreciate you for my whole life, special thanks to BW, Sharon, and Ray who made all the connection and made it possible for us all to come and be a part of this trip.





Wow! Our time here so far has been so amazing and we still have the bulk of the “work” ahead of us. I enjoyed today very much. I felt like it was a good mix between sports evangelism and a cultural experience. Instead of attending a morning worship service we went to a private community and worked with a basketball clinic. This population was much wealthier than most other populations we will be working with; however, everyone needs to hear the word of God and it was a great way to spend Sunday morning. Evening is when the big worship service takes place in Brazil. I loved the experience of praising and worshiping in a different country. Even though we could not always understand what was being said, the presence of the Lord was still felt! It is very evident in how God has been working in that particular area and church. The congregation was extremely large and every seat was full. It was great to see that! I think we are all ready to get into the schools tomorrow and share the Lord’s love with all of the beautiful children. Thanks to all of those who have been keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!




It’s around 8:45 am on Sunday morning and we are on the bus heading to do a clinic. I’m on Tony’s laptop right now giving my personal thoughts on the trip so far. If you’re wondering why we are not heading to Church right now it is because down here in Brazil they have their main Church service on Sunday evenings. We are heading to a local Church tonight to worship and learn.

These first five days in Rio have been great! Everywhere our mission group travels you can feel The Lord working his magic in trying to make everything the best it can possibly be. That includes us giving the Brazilian people a basketball show of some sort by performing drills, inter-squad scrimmages and relay races. But more importantly that means sitting everybody in the gym down afterwards and letting them know how much Jesus Christ means to us in our life. A typical session of sharing starts off with BW asking a couple of us student-athletes to get up in front of them and give our own testimonies. And then BW will tell the gospel and offer an invitation to anyone who would like Jesus Christ to enter his or her life. Our main goal in this situation is to touch the hearts of as many kids as possible. We want to try to impact their lives by trying to strengthen each individual’s relationship with Jesus Christ. I truly believe that we have been very successful so far in doing this! There is nothing more exciting than getting a total stranger to give their life to Christ. And the best part about it is we still have five days to do this!!

I appreciate everybody who gets on here to read how our mission work is going. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to get to do this kind of thing with so many GREAT people. The trip is halfway over and I can already feel my relationship with Christ getting stronger. Thanks again and I just ask that you all could keep praying for us.



Sunday's Activities



The team will be taking a trip to another young boys and girls club this morning. This evening we will go and worship with a local church. I will tell you it is a blessing to go and Worship God with others. However, there is just something that makes it even better when you are Worshipping God with a different culture. It does not matter we speak a different language, we Worship and Praise God together. It will be an amazing experience.

May 17, 2008

Thoughts About Friday

Friday a.m… a private school…very difficult to get in to…school director is a “spiritist”…two sessions…kids were 12-18 years old…they came into the open air gymnasium and I thought to myself, “We will never get them under control.”

keaton-and-brit-2.jpgWell, the team did it. They connected through their play and demonstrations and interaction and smiles and high fives and earned the respect and their audience. When the time came for Keaton and Brittany M. to share Christ you could have heard a pin drop. We had been told to keep it low key, whatever that means. But, how can you keep the gospel low key. I shared the gospel in the fullest in a very personal and gentle way, careful to plant seeds that would fall on good soil and that the Holy Spirit could water. I honestly could not remember all I said following those two sessions, but I was confident we had done our very best with the two opportunities we’d had. Those kids were hungry for God, for the word, for hope and peace. They were like magnets and sponges, soaking and clinging to every word. I stood there amazed.

keaton-sharing-to-maintenan.jpgFollowing the two sessions the physical education teacher said, “I have taught here for 30 years and I have never experienced anything like this. I have never seen these our kids so tuned in and so attentive. It can only be a God-thing, a miracle. You all have done something here that has never been done before.” It was obvious she was a believer.

I responded, “It wasn’t us. God did this.”

girl-and-teacher.jpgFriday afternoon and evening…a session at another local club with a women’s team….more of the same…play, exhibitions, demonstrations, etc….then sharing. Brittany E. and Will began the session with testimonies prior to the gospel presentation. Another “hush” came over the dimly lit gymnasium and they responded to the call to receive Christ. We were filled to overflowing as we left for yet another place, a sports club, where lots of kids of all ages and parents and families waited for us. They got more play from us, more love and hugs, more smiles and encouragement, and opportunities for play and interaction.

andrew-teaching.jpgAgain, I thought, how can we get all these people quiet to hear the gospel. But, once again, the team had earned their audience as another “hush” came over this place. Brooke began the sharing time and introduced Stefan who, with deep emotion and passion, shared how he had lost his father as a child of four years old. He talked about how difficult it was growing up without a father, but when he found Jesus at the age of 16 he “got a heavenly Father who has never left him or forsaken him and has given him unconditional love.” I was moved to tears and God took over. That testimony was a perfect lead-in for me to share the gospel. Oh my, was the time special. Parents and families stood outside the court and listened, along with the kids of all ages, to God’s word and the invitation to accept the gift of salvation and eternal life. Yes, many responded by trusting Christ.

praying-with-stefan.jpgA long day, oh yes. But, a day filled with God-ordained moments and celebration. We returned to the hotel around 9:00 p.m. overwhelmed with God’s blessings of the day!

Saturday…four hours of fun, relaxation, renewal, and evangelism on the beach with First Baptist Church members of Recrueio where we will worship tomorrow night.


What an awesome God we serve! Every day I am in awe of how God works; His power, His ways, His timing, His divine appointments, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. My heart is overflowing and there is no way I can even begin to share what I feel and what God is doing here.

What He has done already in and through this team is amazing! They have all “stepped up” and met the challenges and opportunities put before them over and beyond any of my expectations. It is truly a team put together by divine leadership.

Words just won’t get it done. I have said so often, “I wish people back home could see this team at work and watch God working through them.” Only seeing is believe; so I’ll just try to share through BW’s eyes.


Thursday night…Following our long evening of exhibition, clinics, demonstrations and play with a local club team about thirty young men from ages 20 – 25 sat before us and listened to Matthew and Laura tell about their relationship with Jesus Christ and the impact that their Savior has in their lives. It was a perfect lead-in to one of the most powerful times of sharing the gospel I have ever experienced on the mission field. Their obvious connection to God’s word moved me with great passion as I heard some pray to receive Christ. Here were big Brazilian basketball players hanging onto every word being spoken. And, God’s word did not come up void.

Following our session they continued to stay around. I talked with Nilton, a tall and beautiful Brazilian young man, and asked him, “Do you have this relationship with Jesus that we have talked about?” He kind of shook his hand like “I don’t know” and said, “I go to church.”


I proceeded to tell him that the bible says nothing about the church forgiving our sins and giving us eternal life. Only Jesus can do that. It wasn’t long until I said, “Nilton, I want to give you another opportunity to pray to receive Christ. Would you like that?” With a tear in his eye he responded, “Yes, please.” We prayed together and Nilton ask Jesus into his heart. With a smile as big as the ocean he said, “Thank you. I know what I just did.” I got a hug from Nilton that was worth it all.

I looked around and there were 7-8 guys just standing there, like they were waiting for something. I just could not leave them. You see, I just knew they were waiting for Jesus. I proceeded to ask them if they had understood what we had said and if they had prayed the prayer. “I go to church,” one responded. Another said, “I go sometimes.” Another said, “I just don’t know.” My heart was breaking. I was moved with compassion and love for these big old athletes who needed a Savior. I said, “Hey guys, listen to me. This is not about religion or a church, but it is about a relationship.” I continued to talk and finally I said, “We are going to leave you in a few minutes. I do not want to leave you without Christ. Won’t you reconsider? You may never have another opportunity. You aren’t doing this for me. You must choose for yourselves.”


They began shaking their heads and drawing a little closer into the circle. With tears in my eyes and a smile on my face and a deep connection to them in my heart I listened as all of those guys prayed aloud to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. What a divine appointment and an encounter with the amazing saving grace of Jesus Christ!

Processing time…We had our first “processing time” when we returned to the hotel. We ordered sandwiches on the roof of the hotel and sat around the open-air patio with the sound of the waves in the background. Can I share all this? No, it’s personal. I will tell you that our “processing times” on these sports evangelism mission trips is one of my greatest joys as a Christian leader of young people. They share from their hearts in a “safe place” with teammates who are in tune with one another’s heartbeat. They encourage one another, listen, process, trust, learn and grow. God, only, knows and hears our thoughts. I count it a privilege to know their hearts and be trusted with their thoughts and feelings. What a blessing!

Saturday's Activites


Today the Team will be involved in Beach Evangelism with a local Church.

May 16, 2008

Beyond Words



Accepting Christ




Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

May 15, 2008

Friday's Activities


Today will be a very busy day for the team. We will journey to two schools in the morning and afternoon. In the evening the young ladies on the team will be able to show their skills to some young female basketball players.

Each member has eagerly waited for this very moment. The moment to jump in for a full day of mission. The previous two days was just the beginning of God's movement among this group of young people.

Pray that we will be able to speak in a way that these young children will understand who Christ is and how He much He means to us.



We are off to a great start here in Brazil. Yesterday’s testimony with Brooke and Andy was a great kick-off to all the wonderful opportunities that we have in the days ahead of us. We are quite the bashful group, but God has just opened our hearts and is speaking through all of us. This Rio Team has a close bond already. I’ve never experienced such a caring and loving group. Stefan told the group (in our meeting tonight) that he prayed for the testimonies tonight (Matthew and Me). That in itself meant so much to me. Also, after lunch BW came and put her arm around me and said that she prayed for Matthew and me after breakfast that god would speak through the testimonies tonight. Everybody is praying for one another and this is just the beginning of a life-long experience that this team will have together. We are growing and growing stronger.

God is just so great. The basketball exhibition against flamengo was perhaps the most fun I’ve had playing basketball in a long time. We all kept cheering hard for one another and the atmosphere was just amazing. Keaton came to the bench and said it was like playing Duke again-only different gym, smaller crowd, and no ESPN. Even though we technically lost by a few considering the mix of the team against an all guys team, the most important part was that we won the heart of a young man who accepted Christ this night. After leaving the gym, Whitney and I were sitting on the bus together when it came to our attention of a group of low clouds surrounding the Christ Statue. I have to admit it game me a little chill, but it was quite an ominous feeling just having that vision of Christ coming back for us in the clouds one day. It was just a great ending of the day. Yet, it is the beginning of a transformation that we are starting to see.



Oi from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!!! My time in Brazil has been nothing short of amazing. Looking around and seeing God's beauty all around me is wonderful. I can hear the waves crashing in the ocean as I write this blog. Yesterday we drove through the countryside on the way to the gymnasium. They have rolling hills here like we do in America! Not only is the scenery beautiful, but the people are beautiful as well. Everywhere you go, you see a smiling face.

Last night, we went to a camp at a gymnasium 3 hours from Rio de Janeiro. People were actually there waiting for our arrival...something I thought was really neat. We got to mix and mingle with the kids for about 15 minutes, then we hit the hardwood. We did layups, 3 man weave, and then played a little scrimmage for 5 minutes. After that, we brought the kids out to do the world famous Belmont Basketball Camp dribble relays. This was probably my favorite part of the night. The joy I saw on the faces of those kids was unreal. It's definitely something I will never forget. When we got finished playing, Brooke and Andy gave their testimonies, and BDub spoke from God's Word. The response I saw around me was really neat...young kids bowing their heads, and accepting Christ into their lives.

Today we enjoyed the morning on the roof and talked while we caught some rays. We went for some lunch at a nice buffet, and then went to the rock factory. Again, seeing God's Creation in these rocks was really neat. The fact that something so beautiful and elegant like a shiny crystal came from the same God that created me is neat to think about. Tonight we played a club team here in Rio. The guys were 18 and 19 years old. The effort shown on the court by both teams was really cool. I actually got to make my long awaited Bruin debut...1 steal, that's about it, haha. The excitement they had was great. What was even greater was the response after the testimonies. Laura and Dot gave their testimonies tonight, and both did an outstanding job. They led right into what BDub said. All of us have Christ in our hearts and in our lives, and these kids here can have that too. My new friend Luca sat next to me and I heard him praying along with the translator. I was able to talk to him and some of his friends afterward, and all of them were extremely excited about having us Americans in their presence, but more importantly having God and Christ in their lives now as well.

I look forward to tomorrow as we go out into 2 elementary schools and the girls play a club team. Tomorrow I will give my testimony for the first time. I pray that God will give me the words that He wants those children to hear in my mouth, and that I can glorify Him in what I say. I love you all back home and miss you tons. Please continue to pray for us as we continue our journey here in Brazil.




Another awesome trip has begun! Brazil is such a beautiful country and has the best chocolate cake…which is great for my sweet tooth! Yesterday we were able to interact with kids at a gymnasium about 3 hours away and today we played with a club team. Playing with them made me realize how much I missed basketball and talking with the young men afterwards made me realize how useful our God-given talents are in bringing others to Christ. At first I was hesitant as to whether we were making an impact on these people’s lives. In comparison to the Venezuela trip 2 years ago, I didn’t find as much “going on” these last couple of days. I was frustrated/disappointed at first because I felt like we should be doing more, but there wasn’t much to do. Then I realized that we did DO something. BW guided a young man yesterday and a group of the club players today to Christ. I was looking for a big group, but found that even a small number of people led to Christ are better than none at all. We go into the schools tomorrow, and I am eager to see the smiling faces of all the little children of Brazil. This team here is so awesome and I am blessed to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for in the days ahead.

Thursday's Activities

GamesThe team will depart from the hotel at 12:00 pm heading to their next mission. This will be an all-afternoon session located in a local community center. At the conclusion of the day, the team will have their first full team meeting. This meeting will be discussing what they have seen, felt, and learned. We look forward to see and hear how God is working in these young peoples lives.

May 14, 2008

Betty W.

Keaton with Children in RioWhat a day! It is 10:30 p.m. and we are leaving the gymnasium for a 2 and ½ hour bus ride back to Rio following a God-filled evening with youth and adults in the northern city of Rio das Oscras. It was a long day of waiting and anticipation, but it didn’t take long for us to see that God had it all planned. A crowd was waiting for us when we arrived and the team went to work immediately.

stefanarm.jpg We were introduced one by one by the local coach. Demonstrations, exhibitions, fun and games concluded with Andy and Brooke bringing greetings and sharing their testimonies. The stage was set for the gospel presentation. The 200+ youth sat before us and listened intently as another 150 or so heard from the stands. Seeds were sown tonight and so many told us they were already believers. One young man came up to tell us that he prayed to receive Christ and wanted to fill out a commitment card. Praise God!

Autographs followed. We signed everything from paper to notebooks to t-shirts and arms. Cameras were flashing as team members stood with kids and families for keepsakes. I was so impressed with the Coach’s obvious work with these kids. He works three days a week in Rio das Oscras and three days in the city of Rio. All the kids were members of teams, by ages, and had their own uniforms. They were disciplined, attentive to instruction, and well organized. He told me he has prayer following every practice with all his teams.

speakingbetty.jpgIt was a wonderful beginning for us and worth the wait and long bus ride. Did I tell you that we were treated to a pre-event meal of a real Brazilian seafood “gumbo” dish over rice that included squid, octopus, oysters, shrimp, fish, and several other things in a big soup bowl that we really didn’t have a clue. Stefan just came to me for some pepto bismal. “My stomach feels a little funny, kinda sick, B-dub,” he says. Why was I not surprised! I didn’t say anything but my stomach feels funny, too.

I’m glad we don’t leave tomorrow until noon for our work. I don’t believe we’ll be in our hotel and rooms tonight before 1:00 a.m. That’s ok – we’re on God’s time – not our time! Keep praying!!



MatthewAs I realized in Venezuela two years ago, basketball continues to open doors for Jesus Christ. Tonight we entered a huge gym full of people of all ages ready to watch a group of Americans play basketball. The people of Brazil love the dunk! It was just incredible to see the excitement on the faces of everyone before, during, and after our exhibition. Most importantly, the majority of the crowd focused their hearts on the inspirational words of Andy, Brooke, and BW. All of the team was great tonight—full of enthusiasm. I want to let everyone at home realize that God is working wonders here in Brazil with their people. I eagerly look forward to the upcoming days and the new opportunities that we will have to share the Gospel. Please continue to pray for all of us and our divine mission.


StefanTonight I was able to interact with kids and share the love of Jesus Christ in a way that I had never imagined. A simple gift of basketball opened a door that no other than Jesus himself could open. We were welcomed with open arms and were able to share the gift of Christ our savior with a room full of eager listeners. Andy and Brooke shared testimonies and then Ms. Wiseman shared more about the gospel. Everyone did a great job and the night couldn’t have ended better. It was sad leaving, but I know that our presence was felt and that the Holy Spirit has the power to do the rest. What a night!

Wednesday's Activities

betty-and-sharon-blog.jpgAfter a great meal and lots of Banna Splits. The team is ready to embark on their first activity. Today we will journey about two hours outside of Rio to an area called the Lake Lands. It is said to be a very pretty drive. The team will demonstrate their God given talents in front of some open hearted men and women. This group is ready to get started in God's Mission that has been set before them.

andrew-blog.jpgPlease Pray for those that we come in contact with that their hearts will be open, that they will feel and see Christ.

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

May 13, 2008

Arrival in Rio de Janero


The team arrived in Rio this morning at about 7:00 am (5:00 am Nashville). There were no difficulties receiving our bags or going through customs. Everyone is in his or her rooms getting a well needed rest from the flight. We will have lunch at 12:00 pm, then our orientation meeting. We are looking forward to getting started with what God has planned for us.

I know the fear is always, will we be ready to serve? Will we have what it takes to fulfill God’s Plan? The answer is YES!!

As it says in Corinthians 1: 5-8

“For in Him you have been enriched in every way-in all your speaking and in all your knowledge. because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end…”

View from Our Hotel

May 12, 2008

Checked-in and Ready to Fly

Sports evangelism Team 2008 - Rio de Janeiro
Just prior to lunch today, the 2008 Sports Evangelism team from Belmont University worked their way through the Delta ticket line and gathered for this picture (click image to view larger size).

The team will depart Atlanta soon (after a 4 hour layover) to make the long flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hopefully, we will hear of their arrival sometime tomorrow morning (depending upon access to the internet).

May 11, 2008

Brittney's Personal Thoughts


It's the day before we leave for Brazil and I'm so excited! I try and imagine what this trip is going to be like, but it
is impossible. I know this is going to be an amazing experience, and I hope to further develop my faith through
this. I am a little nervous, too. This is my first trip with Bdub and I pray the Lord will place the right words in my
mouth so I can impact the most people. I can't wait to see what these next few days will have in store, i'm counting
down the hours until we leave!!


May 10, 2008

Brittany's Personal Thoughts


I am so excited for this trip to Brazil. It is my second trip with Bdub, and I am looking forward to working with this group. I love seeing the smiles on the little children's faces when we arrive at each location, and I can't wait to see that in Brazil. I am so pumped about the lives we will be able to change and I know God has this trip all planned out and is just waiting for us to put it into action. Thanks for all the prayers and I cant wait til monday!


Rachel's Personal Thoughts


First of all I'm felling excited and nervous at the same time. I know after I start hanging out with the kids and everybody I'm going to make a connection and that is the exciting part because a piece of me will be left in Brazil. The nervous part I think comes from wanting to say the right things about God to each person I meet. I'm probably going to only see them for a day so I want to make sure I say everything that God wants me to, so I don't have any regrets when I leave. I think the trip overall will probably open my eyes to everything more than most of the people I meet. I'm very honored to be one of the people who get to go on this mission trip to Brazil.


May 09, 2008

Betty's Personal Thoughts


It is Friday and graduation week-end at Belmont. There is so much excitement in the air! I am excited for these graduates, but I am most excited that when I leave the office today I will “close up shop” and be “on go” for RIO on Monday. I like reading the thoughts that team members are sharing in this journal as they prepare to go.

This team is going to be special! God has orchestrated the “calling out” of each one for his plan and purpose. We have a good mix of veterans who have been with me before, and some who are doing this for the first time. They are “glowing” as they drop by for last minute conversation. The next time I see them will be at the airport on Monday morning.

I have been reading the book of Acts again as I do prior to each mission trip. I love to read of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, his call by God to share the gospel, and his boldness in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. It inspires and encourages me over and over. It is always a reminder of how God can take a life and direct it for his purposes. I want to be like Paul – bold and unashamed of the gospel, ready and willing to endure whatever for the cause of Christ. I desire this same boldness and readiness for our team. I pray our hearts will be open to God’s leadership, his divine appointments, and that when the people of RIO see us they can get a glimpse of a God who is real and personal. I pray we will always be ready at a moment’s notice “to give the reason for the hope that is in us.” And, I pray that many will come into a relationship with God through his son, Jesus Christ, during our days in Rio.

I pray for health and strength, safe travel and good flight connections, energy and enthusiasm, boldness and courage, sensitivity and compassion, humble hearts, and freedom to share Christ, both in words and deeds. I keep singing the words to one of my favorite songs, Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.

I am personalizing and claiming Romans 15: 5-6 for our team:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give us a spirit of unity among ourselves as we follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth we may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Brooke's Personal Thoughts


I just want to start by saying how incredibly blessed I feel to be traveling with a Belmont group on one last Mission Trip! Each trip has been so meaningful and unique in its own special way. Upon arriving home after our trips to Ukraine and Venezuela I completely humbled- and nothing compares to the experience of a mission trip. I will admit that I have not exactly felt as though this trip to Brazil was so close. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend most team meetings and felt out of the loop. The spring semester has been so unbelievably busy for me with an internship, classes, basketball, and preparing for graduation. However, classes are finished and graduation is quickly approaching and will soon be over. I cannot wait for Monday to be here; better yet I cannot wait until we arrive in Rio! As we prepare to leave in just a few short days, I am feeling somewhat anxious because I do not know exactly what to expect. At the same time I am excited about experiencing a new culture and also sharing the love of God with people in Rio!

When the group met last week for the final time, several people mentioned how they not only witnessed changes in people’s lives in Venezuela or Ukraine during previous trips, but also experienced changes and growth in their own lives. It is easy to return home and slip right back into the ways of life and forget about the experience in an underprivileged country; however, as I embark on my final trip as a Belmont athlete I have been praying for God to take complete control of my heart while we are gone and give me the strength to carry these changes over into my everyday life when we return home.

Thank each of you for your thoughts and prayers for the Rio Team over the last few months and we appreciate prayer for traveling mercies as we prepare to leave on Monday. God Bless!


May 07, 2008

Laura's Personal Thoughts


After the Venezuela trip in 2006, I couldn't grasp all the wonderful things that I had experienced. It was life changing for me and for the people we came in contact with in Venezuela. So when BW asked me to go to Brazil right before Christmas, I was very honored to once again continue this spiritual journey that God has in store for not only me, but all of us. As I graduate from Belmont 2 days before we depart for Brazil, I couldn't think of a better way to wrap up my 18 years of playing basketball. In fact, I know that God gave us the talent to play basketball for experiences just as this. I'm very confident that our team this year will make a huge impact. God continues to amaze me every day and I know he's going to walk with us every step of the way in Brazil.


May 06, 2008

Andrew's Personal Thoughts


I am definitely excited about the mission trip to Brazil. Since this is my first mission trip, I am a little unsure of what to expect. I am excited to see a different culture, but the main emotion I feel right now is nervousness. I’m sure once we get there, then I’ll be alright. Hopefully, we will make an impact during our time in Rio, and hopefully, Rio will make an impact on us.

Andy's Personal Thoughts


I am very excited. I am excited about the people that I am going with and all the fun we are going to have. It is so much fun to play with kids and to let them know how important they are and that God loves them. It is going to be a lot of work though and I am just praying that our attitudes and health stay in top shape throughout the trip. I am excited yet nervous about my role, seeing that I can't play basketball due to my finger injury. This trip will be unique in the fact that I won't be able to participate in some activities. Brittany and I said that we would just coach! All in all I can't wait to get there and shower people with love!

Keaton's Personal Thoughts


I am very excited about the trip we are about to take to Rio on Monday. This will be my second mission trip in three years. Heading into the first one to Venezuela I really didn't know what to expect. I just knew that we would be helping people come closer to our Savior, and we definitely achieved that! I am really looking forward to seeing the Brazilian culture and how they are different than we are. I think that is one of the best things about leaving the country, and that is comparing their lifestyle to ours. I respect the way different countries do things.

I have been praying a lot about this trip. I beleive it is a perfect time in my life to do missionary work. I want to get out and not only help people, but I want my relationship with Jesus Christ to grow even stronger. I stopped by BW's office the other day and we were talking about the trip. One of the things that I told her that I was excited about was when the trip ends my relationship with the Lord will have enhanced. I am really looking forward to that!!

Again, I am excited about this trip. I just wanted to post how I was feeling a week prior to the trip. It is going to be very exhausting, but God will undoubtly help us get through it! It's going to be an incredible journey!

May 04, 2008

Meet The Team


Meet the 2008 Rio Team:

Starting from the top: Our Leader Betty W. and Tony H., Row 2: Brittney E., Stefan B., Whitney S., and Will Y.
Row 3: Brooke S., Andrew H., Rachel S., and Andy W. Row 4: Laura C., Keaton B., Brittany M., and Matthew D.

Please pray for this Rio Team:

"24 He who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 25 Brethern, pray for us." 1 Thessalonians 5:24-25

April 28, 2008

About this year's mission

sharonjohnathenbetty.jpgRIO JOURNAL 2008
Sports Evangelism Mission Trip

Welcome to the 2008 Rio Journal that will chronicle the May 12-23 Sports Evangelism Mission Trip (basketball players) to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We are going at the request of career missionaries, Sharon and Ray Fairchild, who will be retiring from the International Mission Board after 28 years of service in Rio. I have had the privilege of taking five teams of student-athletes to Rio since l999, working with the Fairchilds and the many translators, pastors, and volunteers in their ministry. They requested that we serve with them one last time before they return to the states for their final furlough in February 2009.

Basketball season is over, passports are in, visas are being processed, dozens of basketballs are ready for transport, prayer partners are committed to each team member, and meetings are now focused on preparation of our hearts. The student-athletes are busy with final exams as they bring closure to this semester and the academic year.

Our last meeting, prior to final exams and our departure on the 12th, will be at my house for dinner and orientation on April 30th. A special treat for the evening will be the presence of Sharon and Ray who are in the states for a brief period.

A heartfelt “thank you” to all who have contributed financially to make this trip happen! Getting the funds for a journey like this is a monumental task, but God is always faithful in seeing that people respond to the call to be a part of this ministry through giving.

Thank you to team member Tony Howell, Assistant Volleyball Coach, who is responsible for this journal and keeping it up-to-date. I hope you enjoy walking the journey with us.

Betty Wiseman, Trip Coordinator

Belmont University

Rio Journal 2008 Members of Belmont University's men and womens basketballl teams along with coaches and staff travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to share their faith with the people they encounter. Be a part of that experience. Pray for the team and share your comments during their trip. If you would like to receive email updates when new stories are added, please use the simple Subscribe Now function below.

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