by Emily Grooms

(On the Cover: The Lady Bears and others praying for a Costa Rica national team member who rolled her ankle in an exhibition game.)

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCSports) – Truett-McConnell College’s Lady Bears basketball team ministered to single mothers and orphans in San Jose, Costa Rica, alongside SCORE International, a sports and missions ministry.

The 12 TMC student-athletes offered basketball clinics at local schools, where they also shared the love of Christ and their faith in God, May 26 – June 3.

“The minute we got out of the bus, the children were hanging on the fences shouting, ‘Hola!'” Alyssa Lawson told TMCSports. Lawson said one boy latched onto her until the team left that afternoon. “I hugged on him and spun him around and simply held onto him,” she said. “Though I had no idea what he was saying, and he couldn’t understand a word that came from my mouth, we had a special bond.”

Lawson will never forget the look on her new friend’s face as the bus pulled away. “I don’t know that little boy’s story. I don’t even know his name. But I trust my God to take care of each and every one of those little boys and girls,” she said.

Meagan Price — TMC’s women’s assistant basketball coach — also reflected on the team’s time among the children orphaned by parents’ drug addiction and other abuses: “Our time at the orphanage touched everyone,” she said. “When you see these kids so excited just for attention and love, it really changes your perspective on life.”

The team also ministered to single mothers struggling with addiction. The ministry’s founder, Isabella, taught the women from the Bible, something that has changed many of the women’s lives forever.

God touched the student-athletes’ hearts and demonstrated His power through the testimonies of once-addicted women who bore the burdens of drug addiction, tragic personal experiences, and the inability to provide for their families.

“Some of these women were on the verge of suicide,” Liz Norton said. “Yet God revealed Himself through Isabella’s ministry. I left that sweet, little home with a large, humbled heart, overjoyed by the faithfulness and goodness of God.”

Price commented: “It was awesome to hear the women telling their testimonies when they literally couldn’t afford to feed their families. They constantly proclaimed that God always provides. It was amazing to see that type of faith.”

“When you go on a mission trip, you ask God to use you to bless others. But God blessed out team, too,” Price said, reflecting on the nightly devotional and debriefing meetings the team held while in Costa Rica.

From humorous stories, laughter, and tears, it was evident that God was doing amazing things, said Emilee Merritt. “God is working through this team, and not only are we changing lives, but our lives are being changed forever.”

With a purpose to minister through basketball, the Lady Bears did much more, Price added. “Basketball is so small in the grand scheme of things. All of our eyes were opened in Costa Rica, and we realized that God is so much bigger than basketball.”


Emily Grooms is Sports Information Director at Truett-McConnell College.

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