Aug. 31, 2007
The Lady Bisons volleyball team is heading to Brazil to combine their favorite sport with mission work.
The players were informed of the trip which is tentatively scheduled for May 11-23, 2008 on Wednesday afternoon before they headed west to Malibu, Calif., this weekend for the Pepperdine Tournament.
Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal thinks the trip will be beneficial in a number of ways for the program. The plan is to incorporate the mission of the university as a Christian university with the volleyball program.
Rosenthal has worked with Jeff Finch, director of student missions, and Mark Jent, missions coordinator, in the Lipscomb Office of Missions. Dr. Terry Briley, chairman of the Bible Department, has also been working with Rosenthal and plans to accompany the team.
"It is going to be a wonderful experience," Rosenthal said. "I have traveled around the world, but I have never taken a mission trip and I have never been to South America. I am really looking forward to it. I wanted our players to have this opportunity."
"It is two-fold. It is going to be fulfilling for me and it is going to be fulfilling for the team. We are going to expose them to a different culture and a different lifestyle. I hope it will change their lives."
The volleyball team will be working with a Lipscomb alumnus who is involved in mission work in Puerto Allegro, the sixth largest city in Brazil, for about five years.
"It will be an all-encompassing trip," Rosenthal said. "We will stay with some families there. We will do some sight-seeing in Rio de Janeiro. We will play a couple of competitive volleyball matches.
"But the main focus is this is a mission trip. We will be holding some camps for children and we will be holding devotionals. It is exciting because there are so many facets to this trip."
Brazil is a hotbed for volleyball competition. The sport is second only to soccer.
Rosenthal plans to have his team play at least a couple of matches there. He also plans to use the trip as a way to make contacts among the volleyball teams in the country to possibly recruit.
"We are working with some contacts with some local university teams to play," Rosenthal said. "Volleyball is a huge sport in Brazil. I imagine we will be pretty well received as a group of American players coming to play and teach volleyball."
Players will be raising their own money for the trip which is expected to cost $1,800 to $2,000 per person. They will also be involved in the study of both Spanish and Portuguese in preparation for work with the locals.
"This is something we plan on doing every four years," Rosenthal said. "This is a first for us, but we have never been shy about doing something first."