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ETBU Volleyball Team visits Chile During Spring Break as part of Tiger Athletic Mission Experience

March 18, 2024

The East Texas Baptist University Volleyball visited Chile during the University’s Spring Break holiday to do mission work March 8-16. The eight-day trip was part of the Tiger Athletics Mission Experience (TAME), which allows student-athletes to use their God-given talents and abilities to share their faith with people all across the globe as they strive to transform the world for Christ.

The team and ETBU administrators worked alongside two of ETBU’s educational partners, Grace College-Santiago and Temuco Baptist College, during the mission trip. The student-athletes immersed themselves in various projects and had the opportunity to play three matches during the week. They hosted camps, worked with local students in the classroom, led prayer sessions, and had conversations aimed at making a Kingdom impact on the lives of those they encountered.

“The Spirit of God was present in this trip, and we were all moved by it,” junior management and marketing major Maddison Harris said. “We were pushed out of our comfort zones like we had never been before. We had opportunities to pray out loud over large groups of people, share our testimonies, and share the Word of God with nonbelievers. Through volleyball clinics, one-on-one time with the kids, and worshiping the Lord together, we hope we impacted their lives as much as they did ours. Seeing the love for Jesus each of my teammates had was inspiring.”

The student-athletes were given several opportunities to share their testimonies and pray over the people they encountered. Sophomore business administration major Madison Chandler shared about one interaction she had with her host family on the trip.

“During my time at the host home, we began to talk about our faith. Our host mother shared that her daughter did not have faith in Jesus Christ. She had been struggling with depression that caused her to be apprehensive about a relationship with Jesus. After getting to know the family, I was able to share my testimony of how the Lord saved me from depression and led me to His glorious light. I was able to share the Gospel with this sweet girl, and it was the most beautiful moment on the trip for me. I cannot thank the Lord enough for placing me exactly where I needed to be at the perfect time.”

While at Temuco Baptist College, ETBU donated 1,000 books to expand the school’s English library. In addition, the team served in several classrooms helping students with their English, hosted volleyball clinics, and interacted with the children on the playground.

“Our team and coaches held a volleyball clinic for students at the school who play volleyball or wanted to learn volleyball,” junior nursing major Avery Reid said. “It was really cool to see the students play with so much joy. They didn’t care about who won or lost, they were just happy to be there and participate. I was touched by this because sometimes it’s easy for us to get distracted by other things and lose sight of the simple joys that sports bring us.”

The team played three games while in Chile in front of large crowds. In the final game, they played Club Morano, who has four players who currently play on the Chilean National team. Despite playing with different rules and in a new country, the Tigers won all three games during the week. After each game, ETBU volleyball players talked with the fans in attendance.

“The crowds were some of the largest many of us have ever played in front of, and the atmosphere was incredible, every single person was involved and cheering throughout the games,” graduate student Lillie Hill said. “I can truly say I have never experienced something like that before. After the game, we were able to talk to the girls on the other team, and all of the fans came down to the floor to meet us. We signed autographs for so many fans who were there and took pictures with them. A lot of our friends from the churches we went to were there also, so it was touching to see their support for us.”

Since 2016, ETBU Athletics has sponsored TAME trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Serbia, Israel, Jamaica, Slovakia, France, Japan, Greece, Scotland, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, and Chile.

“Our trip to Chile was life changing for myself and the team,” Head Coach Mallory Matthews said. “Watching our athletes pour into the students of Chile and share the Gospel was something I will never forget. They showed courage and boldness throughout the entire trip, doing things they had never done before. It was amazing to see that even when there was a language barrier God makes all things possible.”