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2017-18 Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip 
Travel Party
Current Softball Student-Athletes
Caitlin Charlton
Taylor Ellis
Ashley Marchand
Hannah Smith
Hannah Thompson
Kyla Walker
Lexi Koltz
Madi O'Neal
Maddison Kettler
Alyssa Avalos
Softball Staff & Family
Head Coach Glenn Moore, Janice Moore, Jacey Moore, Ty Moore
Associate Head Coach Mark Lumley, Stacey Lumley, D.J. Broadway, Mason Gregg
Director of Softball Operations Jon Graham
Heart of Texas FCA Staff & Family
FCA Director Ben Johnson, Team Chaplain Katherine Johnson, Ava Johnson


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip
Blog #1

Dec. 26, 2017
By Ben Johnson, Heart of Texas FCA Director

Tomorrow morning at 9am, a group of 22 will depart for Ghana, Africa. We will work with Ghana FCA staff to help build new relationships, conduct a coaches clinic, put on a 3 day softball camp, take needed supplies, and see parts of their historic country. Tonight, 17 bags of gear were packed with softball gear, clothes, shoes, car parts, Baylor edition Gospel of John, and much more. We hope to bless those we meet with it all and more importantly with the good news of the gospel of Jesus. We hope to return with empty supply bags but hearts full of seeing God at work and motivated to follow him more closely each day. Pray for us as we make the trip and return on January 6th.


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip 



Blog #2
 

Dec. 28, 2017
By Ava Johnson

On our trip so far, we arrived in Amsterdam, went to Anne Frank's house, and then we were just going to get some lunch and then get on the plane to Ghana when this train came by and we all saw it but Ty didn't see it. We all ran to get out of the way and Ty finally saw it and got out of the way. At lunch we all got a good laugh out of it!!! Then we all got on the plane and most of us slept the whole time but some of us just watched movies. Then, we all got on this bus that looked very different than buses than are buses in Waco. And then we arrived at Hephzibah Christian Center where we will stay our first night. We will leave in the morning and go to Kumasi. If I could describe the last 24 hours of travel with a couple words it would be tired and excited.

Blog #3 
Dec. 28, 2017
By Jacey Moore

Tomorrow morning at 9am, a group of 22 will depart for Ghana, Africa. We will work with Ghana FCA staff to help build new relationships, conduct a coaches clinic, put on a 3 day softball camp, take needed supplies, and see parts of their historic country. Tonight, 17 bags of gear were packed with softball gear, clothes, shoes, car parts, Baylor edition Gospel of John, and much more. We hope to bless those we meet with it all and more importantly with the good news of the gospel of Jesus. We hope to return with empty supply bags but hearts full of seeing God at work and motivated to follow him more closely each day. Pray for us as we make the trip and return on January 6th.After many long hours traveling we have finally made it to Ghana! It feels like it has just been one really long day since we left Waco. The flight from Houston to Amsterdam was long but the dinner and breakfast were good. When we arrived in the Netherlands, it was about 7:00 a.m. local time so around midnight back home. The sun had not come up yet and the air was quite chilly, so of course we had to make a quick stop at Starbucks to warm us up. We were able to get beautiful pictures of the sunrise as we boarded a trolly to take us to Anne Frank's house (we weren't able to go inside but it was still very cool to see the outside of the building). The streets in Amsterdam were clean and very pretty but you had to be careful where you walked because there wasn't much room between the sidewalks and skinny roads where cars, trollies, and bikers flew by. Once we made it back to the airport we had a couple hours to kill before boarding the final flight to Accra, Ghana. The flight to Accra was a little shorter than our previous flight, and the fatigue from being awake so long was starting to set in so sleep came a bit easier. After fighting our way through the crowds outside the airport we made it to our bus and got to see many interesting sights on our way to the hotel. The hotel is very nice and we were fed chicken, fish, rice, and plantains as soon as we arrived. Tomorrow we will head to Kumasi and get to spend some time with the locals!


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip 



Blog #4
 


Dec. 29, 2017
By Taylor Ellis, SO, IF

Grateful. A word that comes to my mind as I reflect on my time here in Ghana thus far. Grateful for my home. Grateful for the people in my life. Grateful for hot showers. Grateful for food. Grateful for clean water. Grateful for A/C. Grateful to be able to practice religion freely. There are many times we get so complacent with the things we consider normal that we do not realize that those things are often luxuries in many other parts of our world. I thought I knew from history classes throughout school what I would see when I got here in Ghana, Africa. My heart and my mind were not prepared for what I would actually see. What I see is the purest, most selfless form of love I have ever seen. What I see is people willing to sacrifice their own needs for others. What I see is people being totally content with not even half of what most have. Guilt. Another word that comes to mind that not many bring awareness to. This emotion has been felt the entire time I have been here. As much as I try to ignore it, I am constantly overcome with guilt. However, we cannot feel guilty. Rather, we should feel humbled by our many blessings. The only reason to be guilty is if we are not appreciative of all of the opportunities we are given. These people deserve the absolute world. Although I can only provide them with love, they embrace it with open arms and are so grateful. While walking down the road, I encountered a man and his family today. He had a young boy and he begged me to take him back with me to the U.S. and give him a better life. It absolutely broke my heart. This man was willing to sacrifice his son in order to provide him a better life. These people are the hands and feet of God. They love like Jesus. Coming over here I thought that I would change peoples lives, however God had other plans. He knew I needed them. He put me here in Ghana, Africa to love these people. And I have done exactly that. However, they are the ones that ended up changing my life. They have done far more for me than I could have ever done for them.



Blog #5
 


Dec. 29, 2017
By Lexi Koltz, FR, P

For our group of 22, today's journey began in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, and ended in Kumasi, which is where a majority of our mission work will take place. We ate eggs and cereal for breakfast before loading the bus in preparation for our long journey north. Though Kumasi is relatively close to Accra (about the distance from Waco to San Antonio to put it in perspective), our drive lasted five hours because the roads wind in and out of numerous villages. Nevertheless, we were so excited to make the trip and see a new part of the world that many of us, including myself, have never seen before. For nearly the entire drive, we observed the locals' way of life, watching how they stood outside their stands to sell things like fruit, clothing, and even animals. As we passed, each one looked at our unusual bus with intense curiosity, but their expressions quickly changed from confusion to smiles when we waved at them from inside. This went on for miles, and we enjoyed the moment. Then, we stopped for lunch at a hotel not far from our final destination. Many of us ordered pizza. Afterwards, we were given the chance to see a basketball court and playground that was organized and built by Vincent, our mission leader. It was great to be able to get out of the bus to stretch and move around. A group of us started a game of basketball, and I got to throw my first "upside down bullpen," as Coach Moore put it since this is my first time on the other side of the world. When we finally arrived at our hotel, we got to eat dinner, relax, and enjoy time as a group. Although many of us are feeling tired from our long flights and bus rides over the last few days, we're excited to see what God has planned for us over the next week!


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip 

Blog #6
 


Dec. 30, 2017
By Madi O'Neal, SO, OF

Waking up to the roosters crowing was abrupt but symbolic for the day we had before us. We are in a different country which might as well be a different world. There is no controlled traffic, no fast food, no hot water, and no six year olds preoccupied with their eyes glued to a tablet. Everyone we have met in Ghana (even the people we pass on the street) so far has greeted us with huge genuine smiles with arms flying just to let us know that we are welcome. The people hear seem to find their happiness in hope, which is not something you see too much in a country where everyone has whatever they need surrounding them. Hope is what drives a person and what can bring joy to those who don’t have the world at their fingers.

Today, we were able to load up the bus and drive an hour away from our hotel to teach about 50 kids the sport of softball and about their Lord and Savior! What is so cool to me is that we can use something so simple (throwing a ball around) as a foundation to spread the great news about the Lord and how he has a purpose for each of us. That is actually what we spoke about today. We were given a bracelet before we left that has the three colors of the Ghana flag, which is red, green, and yellow. Today we talked to the kids after their activities about the color green and how it stood for God creating each of us for a purpose and paired the lesson with Jeremiah 29:11 (For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.) I love this verse because because it has taught me throughout the years not to be afraid of my future or to over plan and over think things that may be going on in my life, because God is my life planner and I know as my father he would never lead me into harms way. This verse also lead our small group into the discussion of what everyone wanted to be when they grew up. I had a group of all girls and they had such high goals for their lives which made my heart so happy to hear that they wanted to be lawyers, doctors, fashion designers, and businesswomen. To know that they have hope for the future, because they are the future of this world, is the one of the most relieving things I have heard today.

After our small group session we played a few more games with the kids, danced a little, sang a little, and parted ways. On the way to our hotel we stopped at Vincent’s home that he has been building for ten years now which was beautiful and I know will be a great place once fully built. Once we arrived back to hotel we all split up, some worked out (which I think is crazy), some took a nap, and some (a few other girls and me) went and walked around the village outside of the hotel. We saw many chickens, and many people wearing huge grins from ear to ear. Hannah Smith went and got here hair tightly braided for less than three American dollars and I went the opposite way to go see what all the people were doing in the market area. We met a few kids who’s names I do not remember and two men who were playing the quickest game of checkers (which they called Draft) I have ever seen; I guess when that’s all you have to entertain yourself with you get pretty good. From there we ate dinner, showered in our cold water, and all have shared their stories with the rest of the group. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the rest of the trip! Great things have already happened and are yet to come!


Blog #7
 


Dec. 30, 2017
By Hannah Smith, FR, OF

Day 2 in Kumasi which was also the first day we did camp is what everyone has been waiting for. Once we got to the place where camp was held there was about 15 kids. All shy but once you started talking to them they instantly lit up and they wanted to talk nonstop. They were just as curious about us as we were them. Eventually a lot more kids showed up and we all had a great time spreading the word of the Lord and the game of softball. I've never seen kids that are so respectful and happy. They never stopped smiling; it was laughing and smiling all day.  Afterwards we came back to camp Martin and a few of us walked down to a lady's hair shop we went to yesterday. I got four corn rows on the side of my head for five cedis which is basically two dollars. My hair was done in less than five minutes. Today was such a fun experience because we all got to interact with kids and learn a little about their culture.


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip 





Blog #8


Dec. 31, 2017
By Hannah Thompson, FR, C

Today was the first day in my life that I have been in such a loud, loving, praising church that each and every person had a heart full of love for our savior. Church today was such a great thing to add to my amazing experience here in Ghana. Everyone in the church was so welcoming and made Jesus known throughout their actions. The people from here are thankful for just the little things that they do have. I have learned about Africa all throughout my life, but nothing really opened up my eyes until I actually came to Ghana. Riding the bus that transports us around town just lights up the kids faces as we pass them on the streets. Every time we pass a family we wave and they express a huge smile and tons of joy just from a wave from someone inside our bus. The people here do not care if they don’t have enough money to buy the clothes they need to put on, they are just happy to be living and thankful for every chance and opportunity they get. This trip so far has made me realize that America is very wealthy and sometimes people take advantage of it and are not thankful for every little thing they have like food, shelter, clothes, jobs. Also, another thing that is very interesting to me here at Ghana is the amount of stuff that the men and women carry on their heads. I have seen people do this in movies and history lessons but I didn’t know it was still going on. Our first day here in Ghana I saw a women walking down the street with a sewing machine on her head!! That is totally insane to me and I would like to be taught how to carry my food, water, coolers on top of my head before I go back to the US. The kids here melt my heart and I wish I could take every last one of them back with me to America. They love spending time with us and are the most respectful kids I have ever seen. Lastly, I would just like to give all the glory to God for giving me the opportunity to go on this trip with my second family. It has been a great experience so far and these kids and families have taught me more than I can ever teach them.





Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip



Blog #9


Jan. 1, 2018
By Caitlin Charlton, SR, IF

MY HEART IS SO FULL!!! I‘ve been in a constant state of pure joy since we arrived to Ghana and just when I think my heart can’t get any more full, it gets filled up even more.

I woke up and caught the first sunrise of the new year morning. It was pretty neat since the sky is so hazy here; the sun was giant red ball as it came where I could see it through the trees. After breakfast, we headed to Prempeh College for our second day of camp. I have a group of about 10 girls that are mostly 12-14 years old, and most of them showed up again today. Some were already waiting when our bus pulled up, and the way their faces lit up when I walked over was priceless.

My girls loved learning about hitting, and got really into the hit-and-haul game we played. I’ve got some pretty good athletes in my group, and a lot of them play football (soccer) regularly, so they definitely enjoy athletic activities. When we got to playing an actual softball game, they were having a blast figuring out the game and they were catching on so fast! It’s such a neat experience to introduce a game completely foreign to these kids and watch them figure it out and have a blast despite some of the confusion with learning a new sport from people who don’t even speak their language.

The best part of it all, though, is how close we’ve become even over just two days of knowing each other. We talked nonstop all day, had impromptu dance sessions, and just shared in pure joy together. During our group time we all recited John 3:16 together and talked openly about Jesus with wisdom and confidence. It’s crazy how mature some of these girls are in their faith at such a young age.

Several of my girls, namely Patience, Erica, Vivian, and Blessing (how cool are their names right!!) were having a blast teaching me words and phrases in Twi and also having fun laughing at my pronunciations. We also won the entire camp hit-and-haul competition and got to give them all Baylor T-shirt’s as prizes! We played a game with the Ghanaian coaches  after the kids camp, and a bunch of kids stayed to watch and cheer which was really special. I can’t wait to see my girls tomorrow, and learn more about their lives and start learning more Twi! We then headed to lunch at a local place (they had hummus and falafel! I was a very happy vegan) and then to Doreen’s (Vincent’s wife) shop for souvenirs.

One of the most special parts of this trip has been getting out into the village around the hotel. I got to visit some friends I made in the village nearby our hotel yesterday again today. There were so many children and mothers that were so excited to see me. They all were crying out “CC!” as I walked up to their houses, and they were telling me how happy they were I came there to see them and that it was the best part of their day. They wanted me to take pictures and video of them dancing, and invited me over for dinner tomorrow afternoon. They also told me to keep coming back so they can keep giving me lessons in Twi. I just can‘t get over how open and genuine people are here. It amazes me every time how willing people are to talk to me and invite me into their home. It’s something we are missing in the United States.

It’s such a blessing to be back in this incredible country for the second time with the most genuine, kind spirited people on earth. The joy I feel here is otherworldly. It’s as if God is in the air here. Coming back again, I’ve had a renewal from within of what the love of God truly is through the genuine, joyful interactions I have with every person I meet here. I pray and hope that I can hold on to this pure, inexplicable joy and carry it with me forever.




Blog #10

Jan. 1, 2018
By Alyssa Avalos, FR, OF

Today was the second day of our softball camp and it seemed even more fun and exciting than the first. To start the day, we woke up at 7 am for breakfast which consisted of toast, omelettes, and watermelon. After our daily devotion, we hopped on the bus and drove to the fields to see the kids. When we arrived, we were welcomed with numerous smiling faces from children from the ages of 3-18. It is truly amazing to see how excited they are when we step off of the bus, as if we are celebrities. From there, we gathered together to play ice breakers and organize stretches before we broke up into groups to play softball and talk about the Lord. My group consisted of 7-10 year old boys that have the biggest love for fútbol, which made it a little difficult for them to stop kicking the softballs. After a couple of tries, my teammates and I were able to get their focus on what was really important -- Jesus. We had a discussion about how God washes away our sins and loves us uncontrollably. It was amazing to hear that most of the boys had a close relationship to God.They told me stories about how God helped them in difficult times, sang Church songs to me, and even recited some of their favorite bible verses. I have been very blessed to grow close to each of them in a short amount of time. When the camp ended, many ran up to me and gave the biggest hug while assuring me that they would return tomorrow for the third day of camp. Before coming to Ghana, I thought that I would be the one  teaching the kids about God and his love, but really, they were the ones teaching me. It has been a blessing to witness a different culture that has the same amount of appreciation towards God, and with their kindness and love, I feel in His presence more than ever before. Throughout this trip, I have experienced so much love from the Ghanaians. I believe that God is truly working in every single one of us, we just need to realize it and let him do. I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to visit Ghana and share what I am most passionate about -- softball and God.


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip


Blog #11


Jan. 2, 2018
By Kyla Walker, JR, OF

Today was our third day with the little kids. I have 23 little boys in my group, which makes it very challenging. I am in love with so many of them, and so amazed by how athletic some are!! Since I have young boys, their attention span isn’t very long, so it’s quite difficult teaching them the game of softball. Today we taught them how to bunt, field, and catch pop ups. Alfred, one of my boys, hits left and throws left, but when he kicks a soccer ball, it’s with his right foot - which is just like me!! I think he was meant for me!!! I really want to take him home, and I am dreading to have to leave him tomorrow. When we have down time, I talk with them about futbol (soccer). Today, I asked them to show me their celebrations after they score a goal, and they were loving it. Alfred is my best athlete, so I told him I wanted to race him. We raced today, but a lot of my other kids ended up joining in and racing, as well. I won if anyone was wondering!! But my kids loved it.

It amazes me how much they know the Bible. Sometimes I feel like they are teaching me more than I am teaching them. I had to give my testimony today, so I tied sports in with it and told them they need to read their Bible as much as they practice futbol, which I can imagine is a lot.

I love how welcoming Ghana is to us all. It amazes me how people just invite us into their home without knowing us at all. I love the people of Ghana, and sad more people in America are not like them.




Blog #12

Jan. 2, 2018
By Mason Gregg

Since I’ve arrived in Ghana I’ve learned so much. Today in our small group with the kids we had the opportunity to discuss the differences between church in Ghana vs church in Texas. I explained to the kids that Christians in Texas normally go to church for one service that lasts for about an hour and a Sunday school before or after the service that will last another hour. They quickly replied by saying, “you’re crazy! Church should at least last three hours in the morning.” They also added that church in Texas should incorporate dancing as a form of fun and a form of praise and worship to Jesus. After we talked about Sunday church being too short, we talked about weekday church. We explained that Wednesday was the weekday we went to church. I also added that most people went to church on Wednesday only if they weren’t too tired and didn’t have any other activities. They were astonished that we only went to church on Wednesdays. They said, “we go to church multiple times a week.” They said this with such an authoritative voice that they made it sound mandatory. These kids have made me realize how important church is to them and maybe something as simple as dancing in church could make church more enjoyable and add a new element to praising Jesus.


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip


Blog #13


Jan. 3, 2018
By Maddison Kettler, SO, OF

Today was a day that I will never forget. I have never been more fortunate in my life to spend time with these kids in Kumasi. A few nights ago during our discussion times my teammate, Taylor Ellis, stated something that has been burned in my mind ever since. We were discussing the differences between the United States and Ghana Christians. She stated that Ghana is on fire for God. They are very disciplined and determined to know everything about God. That statement could have not been more clear. These people have the bare minimum to survive, yet they always have the biggest smiles on their faces. I just wish one day Americans will reach this point of happiness that these people possess.

This was the last day of camp for our kids we were teaching in Kumasi, Ghana. I knew this day was going to be a huge struggle for me, because I’ve already fallen head over heels for these kids. I didn’t believe you could create a connection in a few days, but it happened. It was very hard to say goodbye to these kids, especially my friend Samuel. I created a special bond with him that I’ll never be able to forget. When it was time to go, he gave me the biggest hug and wouldn’t let go. It was soon that I realized he was crying and soon the waterworks were coming from me too. I brought him over to the side and told him that God brought us together for a reason. I told him that he was going to move mountains, and could be whatever he wanted to be in life. I asked him what he wanted to be once he grows up, and just about every kid said they wanted to be either a police officer, a doctor, or a professional soccer player. He told me that he wanted to be a pastor. Also, he mentioned he wanted to influence people like I did in this camp. He wanted to spread the love that we brought to them and make a difference as we did on him. This conversation will stay with me forever. 

Lastly, I would like to talk about the family that impacted myself and a few other teammates. We were walking the streets in the village and we ran across a girl named Nora. She told us to come inside the gates of her house because her mom wanted to talk to us. This family taught us some many different things about their culture like cooking, dancing, and singing. I think my favorite moment with them was when they sat us all down, and we had a bible study with them. I’m so grateful that God brought these people into my life. Thank you for the great memories, Kumasi!




Blog #14

Jan. 3, 2018
By Ty Moore

Today was the last day at our camp with these amazing children. We prepared bags with bibles, softballs and wristbands for the kids. For some portion of today's camp, we set up soccer games for the kids to play and we got to see their true talent. The best part of watching the kids is seeing their smiles and them laughing at silly things. After that we played some more softball for the last time and headed to the center for the devotional. After the devotion they were given the opportunity to accept Jesus into their hearts, and there were many that made that decision. Once we finished that, we sang with them and they thanked us with their own song. 

The final part of our time with the kids was filled with many emotions. Happy that we could help as many of them out as possible, excited to give our gifts to them, sad we couldn’t give every single kid our own shoes when we gave it to one kid. But the one emotion we had the whole time was love. That is how we have learned to communicate to the kids when we didn’t know what else to do. 


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip


Blog #15


Jan. 4, 2018
By Mark and Stacey Lumley

On the home stretch today. We departed from Kumasi at 8 a.m. and took a long bus journey to The Canopy. The Lumley parents were a little hesitant to walk the tight rope but with a lot of faith and prayer, we are officially Tarzan and Jane. The entire group of 22 enjoyed The Canopy adventure.

Now, we are marveling at the site of God’s creation of the South Atlantic Coast. Our boys are playing in the ocean, which is a favorite for our family.

God has brought us closer together as a family this week and Ghana will forever be in our hearts and prayers. 


Baylor Softball Ghana Mission Trip


Blog #15


Jan. 5, 2018
By Ashley Marchand, FR, C

Ten days ago, 22 extraordinary people made the decision to embark on a journey into Ghana but we did not go alone. God carried us safely across the Atlantic Ocean to Amsterdam and then down to Ghana. We arrived with open hearts and ready to serve God in any way we could. Throughout the week, everyone created incredible relationships and made everlasting memories. I watched as God worked through all twenty-two of us to bring joy and happiness to the children and people of Ghana. Two completely different worlds came together as one before God as we learned softball and, more importantly, God’s word. In the act of giving, all of us actually received the greatest gift of all. We have gained a new perspective on life and we have experienced love in its purest form. Many of us experienced this love by going out into the villages and meeting families or through the children that came to our softball camp. Many of us simply felt this love from all of the waves and smiles we received as we drove by villages on our bus. 

To the people of Ghana, thank you for inviting us into your homes and showing us that faith is more important that any material possession. Thank you for teaching us your songs and traditions and when you could have had hatred and resentment in your eyes, instead they were filled with love and happiness. Above all, thank you for changing our lives. 

Our work is not done, it has only begun. As we leave Ghana, every one of us has grown spiritually and we all have gained something new in our hearts. God, if we ever find ourselves being ungrateful, I pray that you bring us back to what we have seen in Ghana and remind us of all we have. I am beyond grateful for this experience and for everyone that shared it with me. 





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