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Bearcats Journey Overseas: Unforgettable Memories of Africa and Southeast Asia

submitted by Riley Dornian, Assistant Director of Athletics & Recreation

Women’s Volleyball Team: Journey to Africa

Our Bearcats team’s unforgettable journey to Africa was a remarkable blend of joy, personal growth, and a genuine faith-filled adventure. Our expedition commenced with a women’s retreat for CRU women in Mauritius, where we spent three days celebrating God’s goodness and our identity as His beloved daughters. It was the perfect way to kick off our 15-day adventure.

With our hearts centered on Christ and a clear sense of purpose, we spent the next 12 days serving the Mauritian community. Our activities ranged from coaching PE classes and volleyball clinics to engaging in matches with local teams. Through these interactions, we shared our personal stories and deepened our love for the Lord. By the end of our journey, we witnessed three individuals getting baptized, a truly precious gift.

One of our athletes shared a transformative moment from our trip, recalling how we organized a volleyball tournament for teams who had never played in front of an audience before. This experience led to meaningful conversations about not tying one’s identity to performance, something the athlete had struggled with personally. It became a reminder that God created each person uniquely, and their worth remained unchanged by their performance on the volleyball court. This realization encouraged everyone to embrace the gift of volleyball and have fun, knowing that Jesus’ love for them was unwavering, regardless of the game’s outcome.

Men’s Volleyball Team: Joy in the Kingdom of Heaven

The Men’s Volleyball team embarked on a trip to Southeast Asia earlier this year. Upon our return, we engaged in a debriefing session to reflect on our journey and prepare for the inevitable question: “How was it?” Answering this question can be challenging given the multitude of experiences we had over twelve days. In short, we identified a unifying theme: the joy found in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Throughout our trip, we encountered moments that embodied this theme. First, in a sweltering gym filled with exuberant students, we found joy in fostering relationships, unity, and play. This exemplified aspects of God’s kingdom on earth.

Second, our mission to share our passion for volleyball in the country yielded unexpected opportunities. We practiced and competed in a gym rarely rented to foreigners, impressing local observers. The presence of the country’s volleyball federation president signaled a significant step toward their goal. In a church event, they shared personal testimonies, leading 26 non-believers to hear the gospel, with 11 embracing Christ.

Lastly, the trip marked both a new beginning and an end. It initiated a ministry strategy while concluding the team’s commitment and the coach’s tenure. The trip bore fruit within the team, with a team member’s baptism, healing of relationships, and newfound joy in playing volleyball with a focus on building relationships and reflecting God’s values.

In essence, the Southeast Asia trip was a tapestry woven with moments of joy, unity, and the realization of God’s kingdom on earth, making it an unforgettable experience for the Men’s Volleyball team.