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ETBU Men's Basketball Embarks on Transformative Mission Trip to Roatan, Honduras

June 13, 2024

The East Texas Baptist University Men's Basketball team departed Texas for Roatan, Honduras, for ETBU's Tiger Athletic Mission Experience (TAME). This marks the 20th trip for the ETBU Athletic Department's TAME initiative and the second international mission for the men's basketball team. Partnering with the International Sports Federation (ISF) for the week, the team conducted basketball clinics, collaborated with local ministries, and played three basketball games.

During the trip, the student-athletes had the opportunity to share and serve through basketball. The Tigers hosted a camp for local 7th to 9th graders to open the week. The camp featured various games, allowing the ETBU team to show Christ's love, kindness, and sportsmanship. Team members shared devotionals in smaller groups, using translators to bridge language gaps. One highlight was a devotional on servant leadership, which opened the door for meaningful conversations about Jesus Christ and His teachings. The day ended with an evening session at another court, where the team met and played with local 15-18-year-olds.

"My mission trip experience to Roatan, Honduras was life-changing," ETBU graduate student Jayden Williams said. "As I continue to walk through life, my perspective of how truly blessed I am has completely changed. I encountered so many different people in Honduras and they have impacted me in such a positive way."

The Tigers had the chance to serve at the Dump Ministry in partnership with Roatan Mission. Team members prepared and distributed food to local families, witnessing the challenging living conditions firsthand. This humbling experience highlighted the disparity between their own lives and those they were serving, fostering a deep sense of gratitude and compassion. After a reflective afternoon at the beach, the team conducted another basketball clinic, sharing the Gospel and building relationships with local youth.

The team spent time with local students at Abundant Life Fellowship for their final camp. The day was filled with basketball drills, competitions, and profound discussions about God's love and servant leadership. The Tigers also shared personal mementos, including player cards featuring their favorite Bible verses, which the children eagerly received.

The evening saw the Tigers compete in their first game against a local team. Post-game, the team could interact with the players and connect with them beyond the basketball court.

During the team's visit to the Roatan Rehabilitation, ETBU assisted with practical tasks, such as constructing chicken coops and moving sand, while sharing personal faith testimonies. A spontaneous worship session featuring music and dancing provided further bonding for the team with the residents.

The Tigers played the Honduran National Team twice during the trip. After falling short in the first matchup, the Tigers came away with a win over Honduras to round out their play during the journey.

"My favorite part of the trip was my conversation with one of the players from the Honduran National Team," Williams said. "The conversation was so fruitful, and I was amazed at how grateful he was to be in the position he was in when he was playing for the national team. Overall, the trip was a wonderful experience and has truly strengthened my relationship with the Lord."

On the final day in Honduras, the team worshiped at their host family's church and enjoyed beachside relaxation, ziplining, and a memorable evening with local entertainment.

"I am so thankful for our players," Head Men's Basketball Coach Chris Lovell said. "I have seen them grow in their relationship with Christ through all the experiences we have had together. Their character and how they have responded to many things outside their comfort zones have been outstanding to see. My prayer is that we would never be the same as a result of this trip."