‘Tis the season for Friday night basketball games. The air is crisp, and the smell of sweat is overwhelming in the gym. There is no better way to celebrate the missions program than with a little bit of basketball. Adding friendly competition between faculty and staff was the perfect way to get the crowd on their feet.
Mission Madness kicked off on Jan. 19 at the varsity girls’ and boys’ basketball games. Between the two varsity basketball games there was a knockout game with the high school students serving on a mission trip over Spring Break. Between the games, the lower school basketball played for the fans and competed in half court shots. Lastly, during the half time of the boys’ game, there was a free throw competition between Jeff Plunk and Willie Omotoso, Joseph Antonio and Pat Holbrook and Jason Erb and Chris Pringle.
Raffle tickets were sold days leading up to the Friday night basketball games. The money from the raffle tickets went to each basket made in the free throw competition for their division. Antonio and Holbrook worked together to score eight baskets, winning a jeans day for the middle school.
Junior Ella V. Cooper said, “It was so fun seeing the crowd get excited about the basketball contest. There was also free pizza which is a bonus.” Mission Madness is an event that gets the whole Wesleyan community involved with the mission trips, not just the students and teachers participating in the trips.
Following mission madness, retreats were the next weekend, Jan. 27-28. The teams came together for a weekend filled with hours playing ice-breaker games, sharing life stories and eating an endless supply of snacks. The mission trip retreats were a wonderful time for the students to form deeper relationships with one another as well as the leaders who serve together during Spring Break.
The weekend was mostly spent bonding with the team, but there was time for the leaders to give information about their time on the trip. Teams prepared for days of vacation bible school or building and planned the traveling logistics on top of the fun playing games.
Senior Jeb Brown is serving on the Guatemala medical trip, and he shared his excitement for the retreat when he said, “I can’t wait to dig into those connections and make friendships that will encourage a greater experience on the trip.” The retreat was a time to deepen relationships so that by the time the trip rolls around, no time is wasted with awkward, surface level conversation.
The goal of the retreat was for the team to grow closer to one another. Junior Jennifer Nolan is traveling to Bulgaria for her mission trip. She is hoping that her team “becomes more like a family and less like a school group. Going into a mission trip, being close with your team is such a blessing.”
Mission trips are not just for high schoolers. A team of eighth graders, faculty leaders and a few high school leaders are headed to Chattanooga, TN for their mission trip to serve widows. Eighth grader Sophie Villa said, “I hope to leave the mission trip filled with joy and the love of God because I have heard stories of how loving and joyful all the widows are even with their circumstances.”
The whole Wesleyan community is a part of the missions program, whether that comes from prayers from students, donations from friends and family or teachers being leaders on the trip. The missions program is just one of many opportunities that the Wesleyan community cherishes because it is an unforgettable experience that brings joy to everyone.