Lipscomb athletes fill holiday break with mission trips

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 12:13am

Brent High thought working on a tobacco farm in Kentucky was hard. Then he went to Honduras and built a two-room adobe brick house from scratch using only dirt, water and pine straw.

“Supposedly they will last 100 to 110 years,” High said. “Very, very hard work.”

He loved it so much he decided to make the trip a Christmas break tradition. Lipscomb’s associate athletics director of spiritual formation is heading up a weeklong venture, which begins Saturday and is the athletics department’s third mission tour to Honduras in the past 12 months.

High and eight student athletes first went to Mission Lazarus last December. This time a group of 27 heads back with representatives from the baseball, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf and cross-country and track teams.

Just last week, 15 cross-country and track athletes returned from Haiti. They spent a week working at an orphanage, where several of the athletes have visited three times in the past two years.

Over spring break, the women’s soccer team will head to El Salvador, and the volleyball team will visit Brazil after graduation in May.

Since the men’s basketball team went on a mission trip/basketball tournament to the Dominican Republic in 2011, High estimates 120 student athletes have participated in foreign mission trips. He says by the end of 2013, all 280 student athletes will be given that chance.

The students pay for expenses with a peer-to-peer fundraising initiative, reaching out to donors via phone calls, letters and email. In the case of the Honduras trip, each participant must raise $1,600. The money covers plane ticket, lodging, food, supplies for the projects and live chickens that are distributed to local families.

“This is one of those things that makes Lipscomb different,” High said. “We are never going to be Alabama, Michigan or UCLA. But these are things that can separate us and make us different. Really it gets back to the heart of the school, which is ultimately trying to make a difference in people that is going to matter 100 years from now or 500 years from now, as family trees are impacted and communities are changed. All of the eternal aspects that we emphasize at a place like Lipscomb.”