Men’s basketball team Costa Rica mission trip
By Katrina Hudson, a graduate of Hazard, Ky.
WILMORE, KY—While many Asburians were graduating, saying goodbye, and preparing for new adventures, one group of young men readied themselves for a new experience of their own. Six members of the Asbury College men’s basketball team, along with Head Coach Will Shouse, participated in a short-term mission trip to Costa Rica May 9-16.
The trip was organized through SCORE International, an organization that specializes in short term missions. SCORE International maintains that its purpose is “to evangelize, encourage missionaries, and equip participants to do the work of foreign missionaries.” The organization works to send sports teams and groups of all ages into the mission field, introducing many to missions for the first time.
The trip to San Jose, Costa Rica was the first foreign opportunity to serve for several of the players that participated. According to Coach Shouse, “the players that went were some of the younger guys and for three of them it was their first time.”
Before coming to Asbury College, Shouse had taken his previous team at Kentucky Christian College on a mission trip through SCORE International to the Dominican Republic. Once at Asbury College, he was excited to do the same at his alma mater. “SCORE, this time, recommended Costa Rica and we felt led to go and serve there,” Shouse explained. Players raised the funds and they started on a trip with the purpose of spreading the Gospel and using their abilities to reach out to the people they would meet.
While in Costa Rica, the group all bunked together. Shouse stated that it was a great bonding experience for all of the guys, him included. SCORE had service activities planned so that the group just had to arrive with willing hearts.
“We did mission work until lunch—passing out tracks, distributing food, and some manual labor. In the evening we got a chance to play against local teams and share with them about Christ during halftime,” Shouse said.
The trip was an excellent opportunity for the participants to discover how God can use people through whatever talent and ability they have as long as he or she is willing to serve others. Many of the guys really began to understand how big God is. “It was a chance to see that the God we serve is the same God in Costa Rica,” Shouse said.
Although the trip had an impact on the guys and served as an introduction to missions for some, their personal experiences were not the central focus. The purpose was to allow God to use each one of them to relate to the people they met and impact their lives by sharing testimonies and showing the love of Christ through their actions and service. “For us, mission trips are important to let people know that we are using the gifts and talents God has given us,” Shouse noted. “It’s important that once a player’s four years of eligibility are up, they know that they can use their abilities in other ways.”
Coach Shouse understands that there is a big picture and he wants to enrich the lives of his players beyond the basketball court. “We are about more that just winning and losing. Trips like this are positive for the team, giving them an opportunity to be in God’s service,” Shouse said. In describing how God uses his passion for young people and sports to touch the lives of others, he said, “I will hopefully allow others to find that talent or gift as well and use it to share the Gospel.”
The trip to Costa Rica was the first for Couch Shouse’s Asbury men’s basketball team, but he hopes to make missions opportunities a regular thing. “I want to encourage more players to go and participate in spreading the Gospel, serving others and learning about themselves.”