DALLAS—Dallas Baptist University basketball players and cheerleaders led sports clinics, competed in an international tournament and shared their faith with students and spectators during a seven-day mission trip to Chile.
They served through DBU’s Global Sports Mission Initiative, designed to give student athletes opportunities to share the love of Christ overseas. In marked the 12th missions trip sponsored by the DBU athletics department since the Global Sports Initiative began in 2007.
The DBU students spent four days in Antofagasta, a port city 700 miles north of the capital in Santiago. They worked with students at three different schools by helping in English support classes, leading basketball and cheer clinics, performing in talent showcases and tournaments, and looking for opportunities to share their faith with others.
The men’s basketball team competed in a four-team tournament at Sokol Stadium, winning the championship game 80-50.
During half time at each game, the DBU cheerleaders performed, and members of the Patriots basketball team took turns sharing their Christian testimonies with the 700 fans gathered in the stadium.
“Our players and cheerleaders were afforded so many opportunities to share their faith with others,” said Blake Flickner, DBU head basketball coach. “It was truly a blessing.”
The group also spent time at Grace College in Santiago, where the teams were treated as celebrities. Alan Zahn, a freshman basketball player, signed nearly 20 autographs in the first ten minutes.
DBU students performed in basketball and cheerleading exhibitions and led basketball and cheer clinics with the students at Grace College, taking breaks for the players to share their Christian testimonies.
“Being in Chile has really encouraged me in my faith as I have seen some of these young kids grow spiritually in such a short time. We have had several moments where we have been able to share the gospel through our personal stories,” said James Erger, DBU graduate student assistant coach. “This has been a humbling experience for me personally and for many of our players.”
Nearly 600 fans gathered at the Olympic Center of Chile, as the Patriots faced off against the Catholic University of Santiago, the second-ranked basketball team in Chile. The Patriots remained within 10 points of their opponents throughout the first half and closed the gap to only four points in the last quarter before falling 82-74.
“The basketball experience was perfect, as we were able to be challenged and pushed,” Flickner said. “We saw some things that we need to work on, but we also had some success and had a lot of fun.”
The DBU Cheerleaders performed with throughout the trip and shared their faith on multiple occasions.
“I am excited to see the spiritual growth and development that my team experienced,” said Michelle Grose, DBU cheerleading coach. “My DBU mission trips are some of my fondest and most dynamic memories from when I was a student, and I know that God has provided them with memories and experiences that they will remember for years to come.
“Our time in Chile has been wonderful for each of our girls and for the program as a whole. We have been able to love on these students and share our love of Christ and our personal testimonies through our life experiences and through cheer.”
Cheerleaders and basketball players also share their Christian testimonies with more than 80 Grace College students who gathered for a farewell ceremony where Erger and Jay Harley, dean of students and spiritual life, preached.
“Chile was an incredible experience,” said Brandon Curran, DBU associate head basketball coach. “I was so proud of our players and cheerleaders, and I pray that God will use this experience to deepen their faith and give them more boldness in talking about Christ with people here in the U. S.”