NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb women’s soccer team recently arrived safely back in Nashville after a mission trip to El Salvador, which saw three teammates devote their lives to the Lord through baptism.
On a mission to preach the gospel to the country’s residents, the team not only spoke the power of the Lord and his glorious blessings, they also put his blessings into action themselves. The team helped a local El Salvadorian named Karla, a struggling single mother whose eyes are always fixated on God’s unfailing love, rebuild her home.
“God blew my mind with his faithfulness and what He allowed us to be a part of,” said Chris Klotz, assistant coach. “After serving there last year, going back to see the same people in El Salvador and investing in the same community was truly remarkable.”
While the girls made a strong impact on Karla and the rest of the citizens of El Salvador through God’s word, they also found three of their own committing their life to Christ.
During the trip, sophomore Cristina Giron, freshman Niamh Rawlins, and freshman Carolyn Springsteen made the life-changing decision to be baptized to signify their newly discovered faith in the Lord.
“On this trip I finally accepted that God’s grace is enough for my brokenness because of the people we met and the experiences we shared,” Rawlins said. “I finally stopped running from God.”
For Springsteen, the idea of being baptized was not something newly discovered. She had been fairly certain prior to the trip to El Salvador that this decision was one she was ready to make.
“Honestly, for me, I knew I had wanted to be baptized for a while and when I heard about the trip to El Salvador and how some of our upperclassman had been baptized on the trip last year, I just felt a pull towards it,” Springsteen said. “I thought and prayed about it more and the idea of being baptized in the ocean (as a more natural baptism) with my soccer family sounded way more appealing than being baptized in a tub in church.”
Choosing to be baptized was a choice Giron felt was necessary after being a part of this mission trip two years in a row.
“There were numerous occurrences from this trip that made me realize that baptism was what God wanted me to partake in,” Giron said. “Not only did uniting with old faces make me realize that this would be the trip designated for my baptism, but meeting and building new relationships also made me realize that baptism was the next step.”
All three girls have come from very different backgrounds regarding religion, but ultimately arrived at the same destination in their individual journeys to form an everlasting relationship with God.
“My religious background is nondenominational,” Springsteen said. “I believe people become a Christian by believing Jesus died on the cross and forgave all of their sins for them, that it is the individual’s choice as to when they become baptized when they are fully committed to God.”
In her voyage to commit her life to Christ, Rawlins in particular, has come a long way since arriving at Lipscomb.
“Prior to coming to Lipscomb I never really had anything to do with the Christian faith,” Rawlins said. “When I came here I saw something in my coaches and my teammates that I didn’t have. I didn’t know what it was yet, but it was incredible.
“Then as I learned and experienced God more and more, the hole within me started to fill up. I realized that what my friends had that was so incredible was God. In the eight months I’ve been here my life has changed dramatically and that is because God is now a part of my life.”
Just like these three young ladies, many athletes make the powerful decision to dedicate their life to Christ during these influential mission trips.
“It is truly incredible what happens when we turn off our cell phones, seek the Lord with all our hearts, forget about ourselves, and love and serve the people around us,” Klotz said. “I have seen the Lord ‘beautifully ruin’ so many people on trips like this, and it is one of the greatest honors for me to be a part of these girls' lives.”
The girls each look forward to living their lives through Christ and experiencing God’s unconditional love while constantly strengthening their relationships with Him.
“This is why we coach!” Klotz said. “For our players to commit their lives to the Lord far outweighs any trophy we will ever lift. To see our girls respond and be transformed by God's love... there is nothing better!”