Senior Claire Bullington has definitely been given gifts relating to her volleyball skills, and she hasn’t been afraid to use her talent to serve.
Bullington lived out 1 Peter 4:10 this summer, which says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
This past July, Bullington had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and play with a team of strangers against Costa Rican volleyball players of various skill-sets.
“I was supposed to go to a college camp with this coach, but he ended up asking me if i wanted to go to Costa Rica to play on this team instead…after seeing some of my film and other outreach things I’ve done, he thought seeing me in that atmosphere would be the best way to get to know me and be an opportunity I’d never forget,” said Bullington.
Turns out, that Coach Bob White from the University of North Alabama, was right.
White is the UNA coach, where Bullington has verbally committed to attending in the Fall of 2019.
“We played teams of all levels: High School, National, and Pro.”
The team Bullington played on won 2 out of the three games in both high school and professional levels. They even played Costa Rica’s National Olympic team!
“They were some big women…” said Bullington referring to the National team, consisting of professional adult players.
Bullington’s team lost the game against the national team but won against a local high school and pro team.
It was amazing that Claire’s team worked so well together, as the girls had never met before the plane landed.
“We all met each other the day before we went to Costa Rica. We all had to find our own way to get to Fort Lauderdale, and we all met there the day before… it was easy to figure out how to play nicely with each other since none of us were new to volleyball, and we all had the same mindset. It doesn’t matter win or lose and even though we were against women who were 27 or 28-years-old on the national team, we were playing for God’s light.”
Not only was Bullington able to do what she loves in playing volleyball, but she was able to show love to others in Costa Rica.
“My favorite memory of the trip in total was the widows ministry. We were able to play with the kids there and hear their stories and how they altogether had different stories but the same like basis of being left, and how they had come to know true love in Christ,” said Bullingtion, eyes lighting up at the memory of serving.
The widows ministry consisted of each girl spending a mere $20 on 2-weeks-worth of groceries for the widows. After giving the ladies their groceries, the team stayed with them and played with all of their children.
The coach Bullington traveled with has gone to Costa Rica for 33 years in a row, only missing one year due to having heart surgery. Claire hopes that as she goes to play for him in college, Costa Rica will become a shared passion and she will be able to go back regularly.
Although she described the trip as “life-changing,” she does wish she could change one thing.
“I wish my mom could have gone with me,” she said wistfully. “ I hope I can go back next year and bring her with me.”