“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:19-20.
The heartbeat of Lipscomb Athletic Missions far exceeds an idea of global benevolence, but rather to answer the call of Jesus in The Great Commission.
So, on May 6-18, a team of 12 from Lipscomb Athletics set off to serve alongside Sports Outreach Institute in Uganda, to do just that.
For nearly two weeks, the team, which was comprised of student-athletes from multiple teams, athletic training staff, coaches, alumni and friends of Lipscomb athletics, partnered with Sports Outreach Institute staff members to invest in their local communities through sports ministry, trauma counseling, feeding programs, school and orphanage assistance, home visits and more.
As the team boldly stepped out in faith and lived into the Great Commission, the Spirit of God moved and lives were forever changed for the glory of God. Below, members of the team reflect on their personal experiences and what God showed them throughout their time in Uganda.
“God allowed chains to be broken in Uganda, not only for me, but for my teammates, said Hannah Torbett, a junior women’s soccer player. “God revealed to me that He is undeniably faithful, and His plan for me is far better than my own. It’s one thing to say that, but a whole different thing to experience it directly from God.”
“I think it’s impossible to wrap up all that we experienced and all that God did in Africa, but I do know these two weeks were so much more than a trip; they were an encounter with God,” said Joelle Erickson, a local nurse and friend of Lipscomb Athletics. “He showed us a picture of Heaven as we worshiped with believers of all nations. He showed us His goodness in the rich relationships we built as a team, with the girls at Christine’s house and with the Staff of Sports Outreach. He showed us His power as He spoke through us and used us to touch and change lives. He also showed us his reckless love as He broke chains in our own lives. He doesn’t allow His children to sit in complacency or bondage but is always working a new thing in us! He is the one that redeems, restores and transforms, but we have to be willing to act in obedience and faith. I have been forever changed from this encounter and from watching the members of Sports Outreach live out the Gospel with such love, intentionality and passion. It’s so clear that they know God and He is their firm foundation. He is faithful, and the joy of the Lord is alive in Uganda. Praise God! Amen!”
“God used my two weeks in Uganda to reveal himself in many new ways to me. He revealed how good and sovereign He is, and truly how deep His love for His people goes,” said Olivia Doak, junior women’s soccer player. “He definitely exceeded every expectation that I could have ever imagined and deepened my trust and hope in the Gospel. I am incredibly humbled to be a part of this team, and I am so thankful that He doesn’t need me, yet He invites me into this sweet ministry. He is so good.”
“Words cannot describe how incredible this trip was and how much more of God we were able to experience,” said Kyle Erickson (’14), former men’s soccer player. “If I were to think of a quote or thought to summarize the trip and what we can take from it, I agree with the powerful statement by Marshall Segal that says, ‘If we want to climb the unclimbable mountains of God's majesty and begin to discern His will, we must die to our sense of our own grandeur. We must break free from our illusions about the pleasures and acceptance of our small world and fix the eyes of our hearts on the bigness and beauty of our God.’”
“Serving the people of Uganda and getting to dive into their culture and witness their abounding love for Jesus made just as big of an impact on us than we ever could have done for them,” said Tori Andreski, friend of Lipscomb Athletics. “This season of life has been a very challenging one for me and I fully believe the Lord intentionally had me with this team in Africa to restore my joy and open my eyes to His goodness and faithfulness, even when the waves feel like they’re overtaking me. He is there, now and forever. As the trip came to a close, we took a boat ride and got to see God’s powerful love through the gushing waters of the Nile River. Little did I know that He was stirring up something in my heart and was about to change my life forevermore. That night, under a breathtaking sunset, I was baptized in the Nile River, surrounded by my new Nashville brothers and sisters, hippos and crocodiles. Though I was baptized as a baby, on May 16, 2018, I was able to declare my full belief in Jesus Christ and celebrate the newness of life that we can only have in Him. I’m nowhere close to where I want to be, but I’m excited that I have a Father who is constantly refining me to be a more beautiful creation in His image.”
“Praise God! Words cannot describe the joy I felt going back to a place that is so dear to my heart,” said Hilarie Buck, athletic trainer in Lipscomb Athletics. “To see the growth not only in the ministry, but also in the lives of the leaders was inspiring. Their love for Christ is alive and moving and creating opportunities for others to experience God's love and mercy. Something I experienced there for the first time in my life was washing the feet of the staff and girls in Christine's house. I didn't realize how powerful of an experience this truly would be, not just for those getting their feet washed, but for those of us doing the washing. For me, I wasn't simply washing the dirt away, I was showing them my love for them and the love that Christ has for them as well. I was showing them that they are so precious in my eyes, but even more so in the eyes of the Father. I was showing them that no matter what they have been through in the past it can be washed away through what Jesus did for us on the cross. This experience brought me to tears because of all that He was showing me in this simple yet powerful act.”
"Going to Africa became a desire for me long before I actually made the trip. There was seemingly no rhyme or reason behind the desire to go, except for God working through me to make the trip,” said Adam Notteboom, director of operations for Lipscomb Men’s Basketball. “While there, God continued His amazing work. I experienced His glory through the love and compassion that the people of Uganda show each and every day. The Lord showed me that happiness is a matter of mental and not material. Through the countless, amazing experiences of this trip, God showed me that being vulnerable and leaning on Him with all of my weight is totally acceptable. I will continue to grow with Him in that way and rely on His guidance for all things in my life."
“Uganda 2018. Words cannot adequately describe, and I will be processing this encounter with the living God for my entire life, but I am so humbled and so thankful for God allowing Chris and I to stand in His perfect will,” said Lacey Klotz, communication specialist at Lipscomb University. “We knew that when He put this trip and team together, it was ONLY God. We knew when He called us out in boldness, humility and faith to share the Gospel and love those around us, it was ONLY God that gave us words and hearts to love His children as He loves them. And when Jesus allowed me, Chris and our team to baptize my very best friend, and two other sisters in the Nile River, 20 feet away from a hippo, at the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen, it was ONLY God who is breaking chains, restoring hope, transforming hearts and allowing His people to walk in His freedom! Words can’t describe, but our lives will never be the same. Because encountering our living God; standing in His faithfulness and power; and experiencing His overwhelming love, power and intentionality has left us wanting more. More of His love, more of His power and more of His Spirit to change us from the inside, out.”
“The time God prepared for this team in Uganda allowed each person to grow deeper, more in love with Jesus,” said Christopher Klotz, director of spiritual formation in Lipscomb Athletics. “God taught us what living in His Kingdom really looks like and showed us why living out all that Jesus teaches and commands is where true life is found. We learned so much from walking and serving alongside our Ugandan brothers and sister, and we are forever humbled, inspired and our lives will never be the same. Praise Jesus for His faithfulness!”
About Lipscomb Spiritual Formation:
Spiritual Formation within Lipscomb Athletics exists to train student-athletes and coaches to know Jesus and to make Jesus known. The team led by Klotz works to provide opportunities for our athletes and coaches to participate in the Kingdom of God, living in the unforced rhythms of grace. This way, student-athletes see their lives in light of a greater story and become fully alive in the purposes of God.
About Sports Outreach:
SOI’s mission is to recruit, train, equip and deploy committed Christian leaders in the effective use of sports ministry for the purposes of sharing the Gospel and alleviating human suffering.