Changing the world through sports
925 Athletic Ministries
My name is Chandler Griffin and I’m a redshirt senior on the Kennesaw State University Softball team. This past summer, I had the honor of serving God in Guatemala alongside 12 God-fearing women who all shared a love for softball. Competitive Edge International (CEI) is an organization specifically for softball players that sends short-term mission teams around the world to reach the unreached through sports.
When I found out about my acceptance into CEI’s 2016 International Sports Ministry Team, I cried tears of joy and immediately texted my Kennesaw team’s group text to share the good news. I was ecstatic to go on my first mission trip and couldn’t wait to see how God was going to use me. After the excitement died down, I came to the realization that I’d be leaving the country for the first time…on my own. I began to question whether or not I made the right decision on committing to go. Luckily, God placed people, such as Sterling Brown, my family, and my teammates, that supported and encouraged me along the way. Without them, I wouldn’t have felt courageous enough to go and would not have experienced the spiritual game-changing moments that I did while on this trip. For that, I can’t express how thankful I am for ya’ll.
While in Guatemala, my team and I partnered with Athletes in Action to help train the junior and senior national softball teams, conduct softball clinics, and visit schools throughout the country. Our goal was to be a light and use softball as a way to minister the Gospel. Our hope was that the Guatemalans would see something different in us, because our identity was in Christ.
We spent two weeks competing against the junior and national team to help prepare them for a World Cup in Canada. After each game, one of us would share our testimony to the teams, coaches, and fans. Guatemalans speak Spanish…I don’t, so that was the first time I got to have my story translated! That was so cool to me. Along with competing against them, we participated in team-building activities and quickly formed friendships with the girls on the team. Our goal was not to win every game, but to pour into the girls and show them that they are worth more than anything they do on the field. On the final team dinner with the girls, one of the national players accepted Jesus into her heart. I get emotional every time I think about this because we’re now part of her story. How many people can say that? God is going to do incredible things with her and the other Guatemalan softball players.
Before I left, praying out loud in front of others or reading a bible verse during small groups gave me anxiety. By the end of the trip, I was praying over players in the streets of Guatemala and leading bible studies in my group. Once I was bold and willing to step out in faith and allow God to work through me, sharing His word became easy. I found myself sharing the Gospel out of passion for who He is and what He has done in my life, rather than doing it because I felt obligated to do so.
I used to put pressure on myself to live up to society’s unrealistic standards. Guatemala shifted my focus to look at myself the way God thinks of me: valued, beautiful, and worthy. I now feel secure in my faith and have a better understanding of God’s plans for me. God chose me and gave me unique gifts in order to glorify Him.
I always understood and believed that softball can influence others in many ways, however it was hard for me to believe that what I do on the field could lead others to God. How could it? It’s not like I am preaching or sharing my testimony. All I’m doing is swinging a bat and fielding groundballs. One of the most humbling compliments I received while on this trip was that they could see the Holy Spirit in me while I played. I have one more year of eligibility on the field and for the last 4 years, I have been so caught up in my stats and it’s always left me unsatisfied. This final year, my mindset has changed to glorifying God so I can hopefully impact my teammates and have a joyful senior year.
He redeemed every failure, imperfection, and hardship from my past and used it as a way for others to see Him. There are parts of my story that’s not easy share, but once I put my pride aside and was transparent with others, it enabled others to do the same. Your story can transform lives, don’t waste that opportunity.
My team trained in California for a week before Guatemala. There were multiple instances where God used us to share the Gospel because we were simply following Him and keeping our eyes open for opportunities to share our faith. Personally, one of the coolest moments occurred while we were on the beach. I just so happened to wear my FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) shirt I received from a leadership camp earlier that summer. A high school girl, hungry for Jesus, sprinted up to our group because she saw my shirt and wanted to hear about FCA Camp. Not only was I able to pray for her, but I also got to share how God has worked in my life. All He is asking is to faithfully follow Him and love others.
When I was asked to share my story, I was excited and grateful because this trip has a special place in my heart. It showed me that God can shine through me in ways I never thought was possible and created a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father. I encourage those reading this that if there’s ever an opportunity to go on mission to serve others, step out in faith and do it. The Lord will be with you the whole way.
Thank you for allowing me to share my incredible experience!
- Chandler Griffin, KSU '17