The men’s rugby club will be traveling to Belfast, Northern Ireland for a mission trip in coordination with Salt Factory, a ministry organization.
The club will minister to children through sports and have the opportunity to play other rugby teams during their time in Ireland.
Alejandro Ruales, third-year fly half for the club, said he is excited about the trip for the evangelistic opportunity.
“We expect to be able to share God’s love through keeping our worship to the Lord while singing the Doxology and taking a knee to pray with the other team,” Ruales said.
Ruales traveled with the team to Los Angeles, Calif. in 2014 for the USA Rugby College National Championships. He said it was one of the major highlights of his college experience. He acknowledged that representing the Christ Over All motto on the back of their jerseys carried through in everything they did on the trip.
“We would shake hands with the players and would have a good attitude even after the loses,” Ruales said. “The coaches and trainers from the other teams would highlight that we have some of the best sportsmanship that they have seen.”
Jeremiah Moore, third-year scrum and lock for the club, also traveled to California with the club.
“I can’t begin to explain the feeling of solitude and kinship among those 22 men after the games in California,” Moore said. “After giving our blood, sweat and tears together, we were forever changed.”
Moore also studied abroad in Ireland for a semester in 2013 and said he wouldn’t miss the chance to return to the country.
“These guys are among my most trusted friends, and the opportunity to travel overseas and not only play rugby, but also minister to kids, will only draw our team closer together,” he said. “Traveling together for two weeks in an unknown land and taking our love for rugby with us will give us a chance to build lasting memories unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.”
Moore said he believed the trip is about growing closer with his team through expanding the Kingdom of God. In addition, he added that it will also be nice to play on a field of green grass.
“Our field is just so dead and dusty right now,” Moore said. “The grass really bites on those tackles. Between that, the chance to interact with some of the cheeriest people in the world and the opportunity to do something bigger than myself, bigger than this team, I can’t explain how excited I am to begin this venture.”
David Zamora, third-year hook for the club, studied abroad in Ireland this last semester. He said that he is excited to experience Ireland again this time with his rugby team.
“The guys will benefit from this trip by creating community within our team,” Zamora said. “We will have the ability to grow as spiritually, mentally and emotionally. This trip is going to challenge us to become better men for Christ.”
The men have been using Gofundme accounts to fundraise themselves toward the $3,000 that each of them needs for the mission trip. Ruales said has been getting creative with his support raising by making bracelets, key chains and giving haircuts.
“Haircuts have been a great opportunity to make guys look good, listen to their favorite music and have some pretty manly conversations,” Ruales said.
Ruales mentioned that he was not so experienced when he first started and almost had a slip-up in the process.
“I was cutting someone’s hair at midnight,” he said. “My eyes were closing slightly. Halfway through, the clippers started to die off. They weren’t cutting anymore, but I made the transition from clippers to scissors pretty smoothly and I don’t think he noticed.”
Ruales said he ended up getting one of the best hairstyles he has done and has purchased new clippers.
Students and faculty alike can support Ruales by buying bracelets for $10 or key chains for $7 from Ruales. Additionally, many men on the team have Gofundme accounts will continue raising support until their trip on May 9-24.