Patriot Volleyball Visits China as Part of GSMI – Day 6 and 7 Update

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DAY 1 – Shanghai, China

The DBU Lady Patriot Volleyball Team embarked on the journey to Shanghai, China, on Saturday, March 9, as a part of the 10th trip in DBU Athletics Global Sports Mission Initiative.

The 22 person traveling party, including student-athletes, athletic and university staff, started the trip departing DBU at 4:45 AM for DFW airport for a 8:00 AM flight to Los Angeles.  What was supposed to be a two hour layover in LA, turned into five hours, putting the team leaving LA at 4:30 PM (Dallas time), 2:30 PM LA time, and 6:30 AM (Sunday morning) in Shanghai.  Confused yet?  Don’t worry, our bodies feel the same way.

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photo provided by dbupatriots.com

After a 15 hour flight, the group arrived in Shanghai at 9:00 PM on Sunday night (Shanghai time) and 7:00 AM Sunday back home in Dallas.  After getting a quick bite to eat at KFC and checking into the hotel, we plan to try to get some sleep and get ready for a full day experiencing China and in a high school setting on Monday.  We plan to visit with several classes and give them a perspective on college life in the US, before the team will play volleyball with the students.

We have arrived safely and everyone is doing great.  Thanks to so many of you who have helped make this trip possible for us, not only from your financial contributions, but more importantly with your prayers.  Continue to keep the group in your prayers this week.  Pray that each individual on the trip will feel God’s protection around them, as well for opportunities and a boldness to share their faith with the people of China.

DAY 2 – Shanghai, China

The DBU Lady Patriot Volleyball Team spent their first full day in China serving at the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) Shanghai Private School. SMIC Private School is a company-run K-12 school located in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park of Pudong, Shanghai, China. The school was founded in 2001 and has over 1,500 students, 70% of which are on an English speaking curriculum.  Several DBU alumni and former students are currently teaching and employed by the SMIC school.

The Lady Patriots taught volleyball skills in the morning PE classes to 6th graders and spent lunch with the high school volleyball players discussing life in America.  Each and every one of the girls did an incredible job at building relationships and talking with the Chinese students.

After lunch, two members of the DBU International Office were on hand, who are also here in China recruiting for DBU, gave a presentation on DBU and Tyler BradsherKendall SepanekSarahBeth Duke, and Erika Papadeas talked about their experiences and college life at DBU to the sophomores and juniors.

In the afternoon, the team taught more volleyball skills to the junior high PE classes and discussed nutrition, fitness, and staying fit as college student-athletes. After school, the DBU Lady Patriots played a friendly game against the men’s and women’s varsity high school teams. Needless to say, the Lady Patriots are undefeated in China, even though the official score was not recorded.

The team visited an authentic Taiwanese restaurant for dinner and were able to experience a wide array of Taiwanese dishes with numerous teachers and staff from SMIC and DBU alumni who are serving in Shanghai.

After dinner, the group visited “The Bund,” a waterfront area in central Shanghai, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, facing Pudong. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. After experiencing the downtown life, the team took the subway back to the hotel for so much needed rest.

“I was surprised by the English spoken by the children in the school.  Everyone we met today was so friendly and welcoming to our team. We enjoyed playing and teaching volleyball to the students, as well as getting to know them on a personal basis.  It was an honor to be able to share about DBU and our reason for visiting China while experiencing the Chinese culture,” Junior Tyler Bradsher.

Please continue to keep the team in your prayers. Everyone is doing great and in good health, but jet lag has begun to set in for many and I think everyone is ready for some much needed rest tonight. We have another busy day tomorrow as we visit Shanghai Ocean University.

DAY 3 – Shanghai, China

The Lady Patriot Volleyball Team started their third day of their Spring Break trip to China, by checking out of the hotel in Pudong and traveled to Shanghai Ocean University, where they will stay in the on-campus hotel on Tuesday night.

Shanghai Ocean University has an enrollment of over 14,000 students and is the leading science school in China.
The DBU Team is one of the first American university groups to ever visit and be on the campus of Shanghai Ocean University.  After a tour of the beautiful, five-year old campus, they were treated to a traditional Chinese lunch.

After lunch, the team played several matches against the university volleyball teams, which included games against the men’s team, the women’s team, and a mixed team of both men and women. After almost three hours of volleyball, the Lady Patriots remained undefeated.

The team was invited to dinner with several university officials, staff, and students to celebrate the recently agreed upon enrollment partnership between DBU and Shanghai Ocean University.

After dinner, the group was able to spend time sharing and reflecting on the first three days of the trip and their experiences thus far.

Even though the group was not given the opportunity to openly or directly share and minister to the students today, they were encouraged when one of the professors on campus made a comment that she noticed something different about the DBU team, compared to other groups they have had on campus in the past.

Wednesday morning the team will head to the airport and travel to Chongqing, where they will serve throughout the city for the remainder of the week.

“Today the team and I were truly humbled by the generosity and love shown by the students at Shanghai Ocean. We were able to get to know some of the students well and noticed their desire for freedom. We are so blessed to live in a place where we are free to pray and worship Christ daily.  My prayer is for more opportunity to share that freedom with the students and people we encounter for the rest of this week,” Junior Kendall Sepanek said.

DAY 4 – Chongqing, China

The DBU Volleyball Team woke up to a rainy day in Shanghai and checked out of the hotel at Shanghai Ocean University and headed to the airport for a flight to Chongqing.

Once the group arrived in Chongqing, they were greeted by 20 student volunteers from Yucai College, which is the campus the team will be working with for the remainder of the week.  The Yucai campus was very excited to host the DBU Volleyball Team and when they were notified that a group from the US was coming, over 300 students submitted applications to volunteer with the Lady Patriots.

Yucai College is just 13 years old and has over 18,000 students. DBU is the first international group to ever visit Yucai and the entire campus community is beyond ecstatic about the team being on campus and for the volleyball game on Friday.

The afternoon was spent touring the downtown area of Chongqing and many historic sites of the city before dinner and evening shopping in the market.  On Thursday the group will spend the entire day on campus at Yucai College.

“We have had a wonderful trip so far and are thankful for safe travel and good health for the entire group. Everyone we have encountered has been very welcoming and friendly to the team and the players are going out of their way to engage in the Chinese culture.  I ask that you continue to pray for the players and give them the courage and opportunities to share their faith, directly or indirectly,” Director of Athletics Ryan Erwin said.

DAY 5 – Chongqing, China

On Thursday, the DBU group traveled to Yucai College for a full day of activities after breakfast. The Lady Patriots were greeted on campus by the administration of the university and many faculty, staff, and students.

The team was given the opportunity to participate in a formal and official meeting between DBU and Yucai officials regarding the two institutions agreement and future relations regarding international studies. Many top officials from within the university administration were present in the meeting including the President, several Vice Presidents, the Secretary of the regional Communist Party, and many deans and faculty.

DAY 6 – Chongqing, China

The Lady Patriots continued their week long trip in China on Friday at Yucai College in Chongqing.   The morning started with a college calligraphy class for the entire team with one-on-one instruction by current Chinese students at Yucai.  Each individual was able to learn numerous Chinese characters that helped show the traditional culture of the area.

rp_primary_IMG_0331After lunch in the college cafeteria, the DBU team took on the volleyball team from Yucai College. The teams played to a 1-1 tie before playing a third game where the teams were mixed, putting the American and Chinese players on the same team.  Both teams were very excited to have the opportunity to co-mingle and enjoyed the international interaction.

The Lady Patriots ate dinner in the on-campus cafeteria and were able to play pick-up basketball and ping pong with the local Yucai students before the evening dance party and celebration. The Chinese students performed several traditional Chinese dances, as well as teaching the team a few historical games and dances.

The DBU group was treated very graciously and as diplomats the entire week by everyone at Yucai College, including the faculty, staff, administration and students.

“Friday was full of new experiences of Chinese culture involving calligraphy, dancing, and games.  I have been able to make great Chinese friends that have impacted my life.  Being able to see the joy in these students by us simply showing our love and care is such an amazing experience,” Junior Cameron Hartson said.

DAY 7 – Chongqing, China

The Lady Patriot Volleyball Team spent Saturday, their final day in China, exploring several shopping areas and markets in Chongqing in the morning with several students from Yucai College.

After dining on pizza for lunch the team and the Yucai students visited Diaoyu Fortress or Fishing Town in the afternoon. Fishing Town is one of the great ancient battlefields of China.

The ancient Fishing Town covers an area of 2.94 square kilometers. Situated on a hill surrounded by water on three sides, it is located near the confluence of the Qu, Fu and Jialing rivers. The mountainous terrain is precipitous yet beautiful. The fortress consists of many historical artifacts and a Buddhist temple.

The group ate dinner at a traditional Chinese hot pot restaurant, which is similar to fondue and refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table, which included a wide variety of meats and vegetables, as well as a few new food types that only a few tried.

After dinner, the group returned to the hotel to pack and prepare for a full day of traveling back to Dallas on Sunday, with layovers in Shanghai and Los Angeles.

“What an amazing experience we have been able to be involved in during our week in China.  I am so proud of the young women who have selflessly served and stepped outside their comfort zones to make a lasting impact in the lives of so many individuals,” Director of Athletics Ryan Erwin said.

“Overall I think the trip was a humbling experience and I enjoyed learning about the Chinese culture along with their beliefs. Even though we were not able to directly share with the students, I believe we were able to plant a seed at the universities we visited and hopefully this will open the door to future relationships throughout China,” Senior Kristin Secord said.

“The Volleyball Team should be applauded for their attentiveness and courteous behavior throughout the day.  They represented DBU well and for most of the Yucai students, the DBU students are the first American college students they have met,” Dean of Students Jay Harley said.

After the meeting, the group was given a tour of campus by the President and his staff, which included the Fine Arts building, the art studio, the campus museum, and the on-campus driving range.

The University President and several members of his staff treated the players to lunch, before the team was given the opportunity to teach English and share about college life in America to several college classes.

After teaching English the Lady Patriots were able to conduct a volleyball clinic for many of the students in the newly renovated gymnasium, which we were told, was done just for our visit and the game on Friday.  After the volleyball instruction, the team took part in a Tai Chi or martial arts class before dinner in the on-campus cafeteria.

“China has been a great experience so far and we have enjoyed learning about the Chinese culture. We have been given the opportunity to love on so many students and have been humbled by their gracious hospitality,” Assistant Volleyball Coach Kaylyn Millard said.