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New Tiger Athletic Mission Experience program empowers ETBU Softball to share God’s love in Costa Rica

December 5, 2016

ETBU Softball will travel to Costa Rica December 10-17 as part of a newly established ETBU Tiger Athletic Mission Experience program. The primary goal of this new program is to give student athletes the opportunity to spread the Gospel of Christ through sports evangelism. The team will spend time distributing Bibles, doing construction, and serving at a school and orphanage. The ETBU Softball Team will host a softball camp for youth in the area, and, as a bonus, play two exhibition games against the Costa Rican National Team.

"We are beyond excited to begin the ETBU Tiger Athletic Mission Experience with the Tiger Softball team traveling to Costa Rica this December," ETBU Vice President for Athletics Ryan Erwin said. "Being able to travel internationally with our athletic teams and allowing our student-athletes to share the love of Christ with others through their God-given talents and abilities is a unique opportunity for any student-athlete. I look forward to watching the softball players impact the people of Costa Rica as they share Jesus through the sport of softball and through their service in the community."

Head Coach Janae' Shirley is looking forward to her team sharing this unique experience together as they travel outside the United States to serve and share the Good News of Christ.

"I am so thankful to be part of an athletic program at a Christ-centered university that places an importance on the development of the whole student," Coach Shirley said. "Through the ETBU Tiger Athletic Mission Experience, our teams are provided the opportunity to grow both spiritually and athletically.  Through this experience, these athletes get to share their love of Jesus Christ, not just locally, but across the world and do it through an avenue in which they excel. Our athletes are able to develop as a team, bond through the trip, and have a life changing experience of doing mission work in a foreign country. We couldn't be more excited and honored to be the first team to engage in the ETBU Tiger Athletic Mission Experience."

To help fund the trip, the team began working last summer by selling mission trip t-shirts and conducting softball clinics. The team has also been blessed by the financial support of individuals and families, who after learning about the opportunity for the team to serve in Costa Rica, felt moved to help the team pay for the trip.

Senior Kaitlyn Hollingshead hopes that the experience will help strengthen not only the bonds between the girls on the team but their individual relationships with God as well.

"I look forward to seeing how God will use this trip to bring this team even closer together," Hollingshead said.

Discipleship is a major component of being a part of Tiger Athletics. This new program affords students the opportunity to serve and reach out to their local community and to live out the Great Commission world-wide.

"I am so pumped because in our team Bible study we have been learning how to be selfless and put ourselves aside in order to bless others," Perez said. "This trip is a practical way we can live out what we have been learning."

University Chaplain and Vice President for Spiritual Development Dr. Scott Bryant will accompany the team on the trip as they show other's Christ's love through service and their God-given athletic talents.

"It is such a blessing to help students realize that they can use their God-given gifts and passions in service to Christ and His kingdom," Bryant said. "It is awesome to think of how God is going to use this trip in the lives of the ETBU students and in the lives of those that they serve in Costa Rica."

Individuals that wish to support the team's trip to Costa Rica or the ETBU Tiger Athletic Mission Experience program can contact Vice President for Athletics Ryan Erwin at or 903.923.2228.