Trio will try to change hearts with hoops
Sara Reid — Special to the Weakley County Pres
Though they have four years of highly-competitive roundball under their belts, Jenna Frazier, Kim Edenfield and Mallory Robinson are all rookies when it comes to international travel and mission trips, but with this eight-day trip to Brazil as a start they hope to one day become seasoned veterans.
As with most opportunities in life, the trip came about when other plans failed.
Madison Academic basketball coach and coach of the FCA team Steve Patterson had a desire to lead a mission trip, but really had his heart set on another city in Brazil — Rio de Janeiro. However, he crossed paths with Roger Stacey, a missionary who had served long term in the smaller city of Cascavel.
“Roger Stacey had been a missionary for eight years in Cascavel. I wanted to go to Rio, but God closed that door and opened another. Roger knows the city and its culture. God had a hand in this and placed it in my path,” Patterson explained.
For his team, Patterson chose a pair of Madison Academic Lady Mustangs and an experienced missionary and college basketball player and then turned his sights towards Weakley County in choosing his final three spots.
“Coach Patterson is friends with my dad (Randy Frazier), so he asked me to go and he asked me to bring more players from the area,” Frazier recalled. “I knew Kim and Mallory are good players who would be willing to go and be a part of this, so I asked them and they were excited.”
“We will be conducting two clinics a day with four cities and then we’ll play teams from each city at night while we witness to the players,” Robinson explained.
This past Thursday night, FCA team members met at the Gleason gym for a competition to raise funds for their trip. They faced a squad of mostly Bradford players with three familiar faces from Greenfield — Katie McCall, Haley Perkins and Meagan Porter. McCall rained threes the entire game, but the missionary team pulled off the win aided by 12 points from Frazier.
The heart of the matter took place after the game, however, as testimonies were given and Patterson, Stacey and Bradford Coach Larry Eddings fired up the audience for the team’s departure this past Saturday.
“The folks in Brazil are a mixture of European races, cultures and backgrounds. There is no racism. It’s a great place to go, a great place to serve and you will leave part of your heart there,” Stacey emphasized.
Eddings gave a brief testimony and admitted, “I have changed so much. Winning used to be everything to me and then when I had it all, I felt so empty. I’ve changed from only wanting to win games to wanting to win people to Christ.”
When the team returns on July 3, they hope to have brought back with them a willingness and enthusiasm to continue to use basketball as a form of communication.
“I hope it strengthens my ability to witness,” Frazier said to the agreement of Edenfield and Robinson. “I hope it strengthens my ability to share the gospel. It will definitely open our eyes to what’s going on here at home.”
“Basketball opened the door for us to get in,” Patterson concluded. “Now, we have something else in our hearts. The door opened with basketball and I never would have dreamed this would happen.”