Charleston Southern soccer players following God's call to the mission field

Lydia Frierson, a senior captain on the Charleston Southern women’s soccer team, had served in college ministry for three summers, sharing the Gospel on a regular basis. But God asked her to start doing devotionals with her entire college team before games, and it terrified her.

“Doing devotionals with the team is actually intimidating, but the Lord put it on my heart to do one prior to every game this year,” she told the CSU website. “Then other people started stepping up to lead and it was cool to see. Everyone was listening and started to get involved every time.”

That act of faith has led to Frierson and three of her teammates to sign up for a missions trip with Athletes in Action to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in March. Frierson will be joined by Jazzmin Gonzalez, Kelly Hinkle and Peyton Motley, as well as 15 other student-athletes from N.C. State, Wake Forest and Ball State.

“I’ve always wanted to go on an Athletes in Action missions trip because my dad has been on several in the past,” she said. “He played on the basketball team in the summers and went to Guatemala and all of these places, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to go with everything that happens with soccer… However, I realized I was just giving myself excuses for why I couldn’t go. This is my last spring break and I didn’t know when I would get the chance to do this again. I started talking with Jazz and Kelly about the trip and we sent the opportunity to the whole team. Pey joined in and that’s how we really got into it.”

The women will work with Global Aid Network (GAIN) to help provide relief to areas affected by Hurricane Maria, whether that be passing out boxes of supplies to the people, demolition work to help prepare for rebuilding, or passing out clean water filters and teaching people how to use them. The athletes will also get time to visit the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez to share the Gospel and their personal stories of faith.

Frierson said one of her prayers ever since she arrived at CSU was that she’d be a light for the Lord to her teammates and make an impact. Seeing three teammates join her on this trip is the fruit of those prayers. And the pregame devotionals were a big reason for the growth of the women’s faith and their desire to go on the trip.

This will mark the first missions trip for Hinkle, Gonzalez and Motley, and Frierson knows they’ll come home changed for the better. But she’s been on enough trips herself that she also knows God will do a work in her too.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned on past trips is that my belief going in has been that I’m going to go and help all these people,” Frierson said. “However, in reality, it’s more the Lord just wrecks my heart and opens my eyes. This trip will be different for me, a different ministry as we’re working more with college students and people our age. I want to coach college soccer and think it will be really cool to learn how to evangelize to collegiate students and just trust the Lord to teach me through the unknowns.”