Pioneer mission trip postponed

May 20, 2011

PLAINVIEW – If you were to ask any member of the Wayland Baptist University Pioneer basketball team their thoughts on taking a mission trip to Brazil, they would tell you how exciting an opportunity this is for them – especially Johnny Terra and Rodrigo Silva, both from Brazil.

              Needless to say, Terra, a junior from Rio Janeiro, was a little conflicted earlier in the week when he heard that head coach Robert Davenport was leaving Wayland to take the Athletic Director’s position at Oklahoma Baptist University.

              Terra expressed his disappointment in not being able to take the trip to his home country, but he said he was happy for Davenport, who was not only his coach, but also his friend.

              It was due to the urging of Terra and Silva that the Pioneers planned a summer trip to Brazil to spread the gospel through basketball. Now, the team will put that trip on hold as Davenport transitions from coach of the Pioneers to head of the OBU athletic department, a job he begins on June 2.

              Lead by Davenport, the majority of the money for the Brazil trip was already in place. The team was set to purchase airline tickets then continue with the remainder of the necessary fundraising. Without a point man on the project, however, university administrators felt it would be in the best interest of the athletes and the university to postpone the trip in order to ensure success at a later date. The money that has already been raised will remain in a special fund designated for the trip. Pioneers will continue to accept donations in order to raise the remainder of the funds.

              “All of the donations that we have received so far are still in place,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Dr. Claude Lusk. “We feel that it is best to postpone the trip in order to make sure it is a positive experience for those involved. In fact, we are hoping that through the postponement we can include even more people who might like to take part in a trip like this.”

Administrators are looking at rescheduling the trip for May of 2012. Dr. Lusk would like to see other interested individuals, whether they are members of the community or other groups or churches, have the chance to support the trip. With the lengthened timeline, Lusk said the university will investigate the possibility that the trip could include an expanded group of participants.

              “We want everyone to know that this trip is not cancelled,” Lusk said. “This trip will happen, and we are excited about the additional opportunities this postponement could create for others to get involved.”