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Track teams join forces for ministry trip to Jamaica

May 20, 2014 | Bryce Wilks

Evangel University’s track teams worked on their strength and endurance this summer, but not through the traditional methods of training. Members of the men’s and women’s teams joined forces to serve Teen Challenge Jamaica with a series of projects and workshops.

Global Teen Challenge is a ministry that offers faith-based solutions to those battling life-controlling drug and alcohol problems. Jamaica is one of more than 90 countries with Teen Challenge programs across the globe.

The organization operates a residential campus for recovering addicts in the town of Ocho Rios, as well as a nearby farm that they hope will become a sustainable source of income.

“One of the projects we took on was building the foundation for a new chicken coop at the Teen Challenge farm” T.E.A.M. Ministry coordinator Chad Gehring says. “They will use the eggs for a source of food, and will sell the extras at local markets.”

According to Gehring, the farm produces tomatoes and other fresh fruits and vegetables. The team also painted rooms at the Teen Challenge campus and ministered to the homeless population in Ocho Rios by distributing food and water.


Track team members Victor Bushong and Shaeli Wilson arrange an agility drill at a workshop in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Gehring was invited to share a message at First Assembly of God in Ocho Rios during the Sunday service, as well as several devotionals throughout the week with smaller groups of students.

Those smaller groups were reached during appointments in local high schools that allowed the team to share their love for track and field events.

Jamaica is a hotbed for the sport, and the team organized events in three schools. With the theme “Just Keep Running,” the lessons blended running activities with faith principles.

“We talked a lot about physical challenges since that’s a big part of track and field” recent graduate Junior Ruckdeschell says. “Emily Perona and I both talked about overcoming injuries and how that relates to the students on a daily basis.”

The high school students participated in relay running events, a tutorial on throwing events (shot put and discus) and some crafts designed to give them a keepsake from the event.

Jamaica was the first of two T.E.A.M. Ministry international trips planned for the summer. Members of Evangel’s baseball team will be traveling to Tlaquepaque, Mexico May 31-June 7 to participate in exhibition games and minister in orphanages, schools and churches.

T.E.A.M. Ministry is the athletic department’s evangelistic and spiritual growth program for its student-athletes. Athletes have an opportunity to participate in various ministry outlets throughout their playing careers at Evangel.

For more information about T.E.A.M. Ministry, contact the athletic department.

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