NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Earlier this summer, 12 Belmont student-athletes and administrators traveled to Africa for a 10 day mission trip to Nakuru, Kenya. During their stay in Africa, they worked with a local ministry, Streets of Hope. Streets of Hope provides former street boys with a home, food, education, Christ-centered spiritual guidance, medical care and hope.
This summer, BelmontBruins.com has been posting personal reflections from the 10 student-athletes who took part in the trip.
Our next set of reflections comes from two members of the men's basketball program: Seth Adelsperger and Burton Sampson.
The trip to Kenya is one that no one who went on the trip shall ever forget. We are just a few weeks removed from the trip and yet it is already a surreal thought that we were on the other side of the planet interacting with other Christians and meeting so many wonderful people.
One night stands out above the rest for me and that was the last night that we were in Kenya. We were able to go around to the various schools and Streets of Hope sites that we had visited and played with the boys and we got to say goodbye. It was also the saddest point of the trip for all of us because we had to say goodbye to all the boys and staff that we got to know over the duration of our time there. While it was heart wrenching to say goodbye, there was also joy in the knowledge that we were able to get to know everyone so well, grow friendships, and share the Gospel. One aspect that floored me was how God used the experience to work in me through this night. Seeing how large of an impact we had also made me realize that God was using all the boys and staff to accomplish work and teach me many things in my own life and made me realize that they had an impact on me that was far greater than what I had on them. This is a lesson that I will keep close to me the rest of my life.
Having the opportunity to go to Kenya and work with the boys in the Streets of Hope program was an experience I will never forget. From the very first day we arrived at Section 58 and played soccer in the rain, we could all tell that we were in for a week that would far surpass any of our expectations. It's pretty amazing how a sport can bridge the gap between cultures and make language barriers nearly a non-factor. The smiles, laughs, and celebrations that occurred throughout the game spoke loud and clear and were the best way possible for us to break the ice with the boys. This friendly, but competitive game started relationships that opened the door for us to encourage the kids with both Bible verses and candid conversations about Jesus. I was surprised at how quickly talking to one of the boys could go from joking around and talking trash about soccer to having a serious discussion about life and the challenges it presents us on a daily basis. Going to say goodbye to the boys at the Section 58 home on our last night in Nakuru turned out to be one of the most emotional nights of the trip. Seeing the tears in their eyes was both heartwarming and heartbreaking and showed how much they wanted us to stay with them. I'm sure it was very evident to the boys that we felt the same way based on the way we struggled to contain our emotions. Kenya will always have a place in my heart for reasons far more meaningful than the beautiful landscape and wildlife we were able to see. The relationships made on this trip, both within our group and with the boys from Streets of Hope, are all representations of God's love and show the type experiences and friendships He can provide if we choose to follow Him.