For the second consecutive summer, a Valparaiso University women’s basketball player is set to pursue the experience of a lifetime.
Through Athletes in Action, redshirt junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) will head to Barcelona, Spain from Aug. 12-21 as part of a team of collegiate women’s basketball players from across the country who will compete against professional teams in Spain. The mission trip will be preceded by a four-day training camp in New Jersey from Aug. 8-12.
Meredith Hamlet, a 2019 Valpo graduate, went on an Athletes in Action trip to East Africa last summer. Hearing about Hamlet’s experience inspired Stoller to pursue a mission trip of her own.
“When I was a little girl my church would do mission trips, and I’ve always known I wanted to go on one when I got old enough,” Stoller said. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this because you hear so many great stories about how it changes people’s lives. This is a great opportunity to learn about other people, grow in my faith and challenge myself. It’s super exciting and comes at the perfect time.”
The tour will provide a rich, life-changing experience for all participants and offer ample opportunities to share the love of Christ with the people, players and fans of Spain. Since 1966, Athletes in Action has been using sports as a platform to help people answer questions of faith and point them to Jesus.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Addison to grow not only as a basketball player but also in her faith,” Valpo head coach Mary Evans said. “She can go out and see a different part of the world from a basketball perspective. It will be good for her to play against that level of competition and grow as a player as well. This will help her continue to gain confidence in being a vocal leader for our team.”
The players will do missionary work, visit schools, attend church and share their testimony during the 10-day stay in Spain. They will play three games in Spain against professional teams and one practice game in advance of the trip.
“Opportunities like this clarify your purpose,” Stoller said. “Everyone has a different purpose, and this gives me yet another reason to continue pursuing basketball because I am able to use it on a bigger platform in a way that is heart-warming. I am able to combine two very important aspects of my life into one action. Not many people get the opportunity to experience something like this.”