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TMC athletes invest hours in local communities

 

Hayle Swinson/TMC

Truett-McConnell athletes Mallory Reynolds, left, and Jessica James play soccer with a child in the east Atlanta suburb of Clarkston. All told, the GBC college’s sports information department reported that TMC athletes took part in nearly 600 hours of ministry this year.

CLEVELAND — The Truett-McConnell College women’s soccer team led the way in the recently-ended semester as student-athletes performed nearly 1,000 hours of Christian ministry in White County and surrounding areas.

Children’s ministry was a main focus for many of the Bears’ teams, including women’s soccer, who gave nearly 600 hours in ministry this year. Each Friday, the girls spent an hour mentoring children at White County Intermediate School; they also partnered with a church in Oakwood where they delivered food and played with children in low-income neighborhoods.

“It was a complete eye opener for me to see that poverty level and those ministry opportunities in our own back yards,” said Meagan Taylor, sophomore soccer player from Cadwell.

“It was awesome because we were able to share Christ in a tangible way with all of the precious families, not just with words but with actions.”

The women’s volleyball team also ministered to children during a field day at White Oaks Learning Academy in Cumming, where they led games for a pre-K class.

The Lady Bears softball team filled Easter baskets with small toys, candy, and a written gospel presentation for the children of families visiting the White County Food pantry. Several teammates also stocked shelves and filled boxes with food for distribution among White County residents.

TMC’s cross country teams worked alongside a ministry in Gainesville where they packed backpacks with food for hungry school children and their families. “I was excited about getting the chance to help a child in need and helping the community to understand that there are people out there who care,” Kevin Kessler said. “I really like how our school is getting involved in being a part of the community.”

Gil Gillis/TMC

Lady Bears’ soccer player Meagan Taylor spends time with schoolchildren in Lusaka, Zambia on a 2011 mission trip with her church, Cadwell Baptist near Dublin. This year Taylor joined fellow TMC athletes in ministering in locales across Georgia.

While some focused on acts of kindness, other teams used their physical abilities and specific talents to help others. Both the men and women’s golf teams gave golf lessons to students of the special education department at White County High School.

The men’s basketball team spent an afternoon at Good News at Noon, a ministry in Gainesville, clearing an alleyway filled with debris in preparation for the building of new facilities.  

TMC’s men’s soccer and wrestling teams assisted Habitat for Humanity with houses in Cornelia and suburban Atlanta in Clarkston, where they helped build, remodel, clean, and landscape a new home. The project left both teams with “joy unexplainable and a peace that comes from doing something for one another,” Stephon Williams, a member of the men’s soccer team, said.

“It helped me understand that, sometimes in life it’s not just about you the individual, but others as well.”

“Community service provides us with an opportunity to invest in our community, practice servant leadership, and to share the love of Jesus Christ,” said athletic director Stacy Hall, who often quotes “discipleship, academics, service to others, and academic competition” as the athletic department’s four main goals.

Recognizing the need to invest more time and talent into the community, Hall said he never expected “the doggish commitment to this new initiative.”

“I’m incredibly proud of our young men and women who have embraced the concept of servant leadership,” he said. “Winning ballgames is great, but at TMC, we also want to build men and women of character who will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

 

Emily Grooms is sports information director at Truett-McConnell College.