USA Eagles ministers to others through basketball
by Tim Miller
For most basketball players, summer is a time for players to hone their craft and meticulously work on small parts of their game. Some do that through private workouts, while others join summer teams to get additional in-game experience.
For Cedarville University senior guard Patrick Bain, part of his summer was spent both improving his game and working toward strengthening interpersonal relationships for a traveling basketball team.
Bain was selected to join the USA Eagles this summer to travel to different countries to play exhibition games, teach students about basketball and paramountly, establish relationships with cities and countries that they visit.
Bain spent May 14 through June 4 in East Asia with players from other Christian universities from the Midwest. Although this was a time for Bain to improve his basketball attributes for his final season at Cedarville, he said there was a bigger purpose than just basketball.
“The opportunity to serve the Lord in a different country was a big opportunity,” Bain said. “Being able to use the talents God gave me as a platform and play against good competition is something not many people can say they’ve done.”
Although Bain’s desire to travel with the USA Eagles manifested, the challenge of raising enough money to support his trip could’ve halted his journey before it began. Bain had six weeks to raise a substantial amount of money to go, which he said was stressful to do.
The money covered expenses like food, lodging, insurance, uniforms and more. Although it took a lot of energy, Bain said God opened a lot of doors for him and that once he had raised enough money, it was definitely worth all the work and meetings.
Prior to leaving for the trip to East Asia, the team prepared in Los Angeles. While there, Bain bonded with his new teammates and was prepped on how to go about living in a closed country. Bain is a Tipp City, Ohio, native and had never traveled that far west, so the trip to the west coast itself was a new world.
“It was definitely different than being in Cedarville and Tipp City,” Bain said. “It was culture shock, if you will, just being out there in a fast lifestyle. It was a lot of fun for sure.”
Upon arrival in East Asia, Bain spent a lot of time traveling to different schools in the country. When he wasn’t playing, a lot of Bain’s time was spent on a bus getting to and from the next location.
When Bain wasn’t playing or traveling, he was teaching kids ranging from third grade to 12th grade about basketball. The flow of practices were slowed down due to needing a translator for everything said.
“Language barriers were tough,” Bain said. “Sometimes they wouldn’t understand so we’d have to go all the way over it again.”
Because the players were in a closed country, they could not talk with others about their faith. Bain said that his team had to basically go undercover due to the laws.
“We had certain code words we had to use and we had to be kind of secretive,” Bain said. “We weren’t allowed to really share anything. We opened up doors so our team of people over there could build relationships with cities and go back there.”
The experience opened Bain’s eyes to how privileged he is to live in a country in which he can read his Bible, pray and share his faith without any repercussions. The trip revealed more than just basketball erudition for Bain.
“Since we went to a closed country, a lot of them don’t get to hear the Gospel as much,” Bain said. “Being able to not take that for granted kind of puts that in perspective for me. Who am I not to share my faith where I am when people in a different country aren’t allowed to?”
Tim Miller is a sophomore marketing major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, sipping Dunkin Donuts coffee and striving to be the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.