East Texas Baptist University’s Tiger Golf Team traveled to St. Andrews, Scotland, in early June, marking the first Tiger Athletic Mission Experience (TAME) trip since the COVID-19 pandemic and the thirteenth TAME trip overall. The group of 20 student-athletes, coaches, and staff, partnered with International Sports Federation (ISF) and spent eight days serving the people of Scotland and playing golf before returning home.
“The ETBU Golf student-athletes were nothing short of spectacular as they fought through exhaustion after a hectic travel schedule and adjusting to the time change,” Vice President for Student Engagement and Athletics Ryan Erwin said. “Once we arrived in Scotland, the team was excited to start serving. After a good night’s rest, the team spent their first full day ministering in Edinburgh. Our Tigers did an amazing job, and it was really cool to see how the Lord used them throughout the week.”
During the first full day in Scotland, the group was divided into five ministry teams to serve alongside Bethany Christian Mission. Group activities included gardening, painting, assisting in a homeless shelter, cleaning, cooking, sorting clothes, and evangelism.
“We woke up bright and early and traveled back to Edinburgh to serve the community,” sophomore nursing major Hannah Blaha said. “This meant so much to me because my love language is acts of service. This allowed me to express my gratitude toward the country and people of Scotland. Because of this trip, I now have a deeper passion for serving on mission trips and for helping others in need. I have also saw God’s presence within the people that we served.”
The student-athletes also partnered with Young Life International where they spent an evening at a park connecting with local youth, playing games, and serving food. In addition to service opportunities, the Tiger Golf team had the chance to see many historical landmarks, including the first golf course ever created, the Old Course at St. Andrews. The group was also able to play golf at various courses around St. Andrews.
“During the trip, we were able to play an amazing round of golf at the Castle Course at St. Andrews, where we got to witness Coach Harvey make her first hole-in-one at the birthplace of golf,” senior accounting major Hank Crain said. “I had an amazing experience in Scotland with my teammates.”
East Texas Baptist continually partners with ISF for many TAME trips due to the alignment in mission and values between the two organizations. ISF exists to bring the life, hope, and love of Jesus to the world through the exciting and vibrant world of sport. TAME was created to allow ETBU Tiger student-athletes to use their God-given talents and abilities to share their faith with people all across the globe as they strive to transform the world for Christ. Since 2016, ETBU Athletics has sponsored trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Serbia, Israel, Jamaica, Slovakia, France, Japan, and Greece.
“Before we parted ways, Dr. Cheryl Wolfinger, Founder and President of International Sports Federation, gave the team a talk about mental health and what each one of us can bring to the table every day,” graduate student Emily Watson said. “As an athlete, life can easily catch up and throw some bumps in the road, but being able to stay strong in your faith, respond, and bring your energy every day impacts you and those around you. This trip has been an amazing experience getting to serve the Lord with my Tiger family! It was personally impactful getting to help those in need and grow in my faith alongside my coach and teammates.”