FHU athletes, coaches heading into mission field

FHU athletes, coaches heading into mission field

Thu, May 22, 2014 - [FHU News]

HENDERSON, Tenn. - Generally speaking, college athletes get attention for what they do in their respective sports.  And any attention they get away from their arenas of competition often focuses on the negatives.

That said, college athletes across the nation are doing many positive things, and the athletes from Freed-Hardeman are no exception.

Every year, FHU athletes - and coaches - from several different sports take time from their time off and give it to others in the mission field.

Two of those athletes are Christean Covington of men's cross country and Carson Trull of women's golf.  

Covington, a rising senior at FHU, is no stranger to mission work as he has been on several short-term campaigns to places like Tansania (three times) and Guyana (twice).  This summer, though, he will embark upon his first long-term trip heading to southeast Asia for two months.  He departs in early June and returns in early August.

His experience in short-term work, he said, should be a benefit as he transitions to the differences he will face in a longer effort abroad.

"The main difference in the amount of work you're doing," he said.  "The work will be spread out more than in short-term trips."

For a student who intends to go into the mission field full-time after he graduates, the prospect of a two-month trip this summer is exciting.

"I feel like a little kid about to get candy," Covington said.  "I'm really excited about going."

While there, he will face the usual challenges in a foreign country of things like languages, cultural differences and the economy.  This trip will also have the added challenge of doing work in an area that is not known to be mission-friendly.  Still, that is not a deterrent

"I made [running] an idol in my life unknowingly," he said.  "One summer I was going to run 1000 miles.  I got to 950 and got injured, and couldn't finish my goal."

While he recovered from his injury, he went on a trip to Tansania.  That trip, he said, caused him to refocus his priorities.

"I realized that [mission work] is what I wanted to do.  I wanted a life worth living in His service."

Trull, also a rising senior, was a first-timer in the mission field this spring when she went on a campaign to San Juan, Dominican Republic, with her social club, Sigma Rho.  During her week there, they worked at Manna Christian School and at a local children's home.

Like many people say after their first experience in mission work, Trull said it had a profound effect on her spiritually.

"It made me appreciate the little things a lot more," she said.  "Most of the people there work just to get by and they're still happy.  Here, we work to have more than what we need and we're still not happy.  Most people there are appreciative of what they have, even if it's not much."

"It really made me realize how much God does for us."

An education major, Trull already plans on going back next year.  She also wants to apply for an internship at Manna Christian School after graduation next spring.

Two coaches are also heading to the mission field this spring.  Todd Humphry, the head coach of Lady Lion volleyball and softball, will return to Haiti for the fourth year while Jana Pearson, women's basketball assistant coach, will head to Guatemala.

Humphry's trip is coordinated through the Henderson Church of Christ and includes both medical and spiritual elements as they work with local churches in the Port-Au-Prince area.  Being in a foreign culture, he said, has influenced his coaching - particularly since he regularly carries a few international players on his volleyball roster.

"It helps give me more patience," he said.  "Over there [in Haiti], there's no clock.  You are at their pace.  It helps me better understand what players coming here from other countries have to deal with."

Pearson has been a mainstay in the mission field during the summer, and last year she organized a trip for athletes to Nicaragua.  Nine current and former Freed-Hardeman athletes took part.