By James Summerlin
The Union women’s basketball team has shown talent and excellent play on the court in the NAIA over the past few years.
But the women on the squad have shown brilliance off the court as well. Kayla Bryant is a senior psychology major and transfer student from Lambuth University. Bryant has publically voiced her call into ministry, specifically working with orphanages.
Last year, head coach Mark Campbell brought to the team’s attention during the preseason a blog of a girl who worked with children in Uganda. Bryant said she felt called to do mission work overseas in a Spanish-speaking country. One orphanage was able to contact Bryant.
“I felt that was totally a God-thing,” Bryant said.
She went by herself to El Pregreso, Honduras, to serve at the Copprome orphanage that summer. For one week, she was joined by her friend Shelton Wicks from Lambuth and his mother and pastor.
Bryant, a Spanish minor, said she was not confident in her Spanish-language skills going into the trip, especially since she was alone for most of the time.
After her trip to Honduras, Bryant traveled with the team to Uganda on another mission trip to work with children there.
Bryant said her time in mission work gave her confidence in her call to ministry.
“I decided that I want to start a foster home in Shelbyville (Tenn.) or the surrounding area,” Bryant said. “They are in need of a foster home. (Foster children) usually get sent out of the area.”
Bryant has been able to use her gifts to influence others as she shares her passion for missions.
“I use basketball as my platform,” Bryant said. “I feel God has given me basketball in order to do a lot of things. One of those things is orphan work.”
Union’s basketball teams have been raising awareness about the seriousness of sex trafficking. Bryant said Union students need to get involved in stopping this serious crime.
“Union has a good outlook on missions,” Bryant said. “But after working on the sex-trafficking project, I feel like a lot of people do not understand how much sex trafficking is going on in the United States. Really, it is happening here and probably in Jackson.”
Bryant’s work has not gone unnoticed.
“She always has a great heart,” Campbell told Baptist Press. “She is willing to do what she has to do. She is not one of those who is intimidated by situations. She is really responsible when it comes to meeting other people’s needs.”
Many Union players on the team say they remember that there is more to life than basketball. Bryant is an example of service over self.