Rachel Hockaday Blogs From FCAV
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Cyclone senior outside hitter Rachel Hockaday is headed to Huntington Beach, Calif. this summer to work with Fellowship of Christian Athletes Volleyball. Throughout the summer, Hockaday will blog about her time with FCAV, giving Iowa State fans an inside look at one student-athlete's summer plans.
I can’t believe one week from today I will be leaving California! This summer has gone by extremely fast, and I’m sad to see it coming to an end. We have had an extremely busy July with work blocks, projects and camps. We just got back from a nine day trip to South Carolina, the home state of FCAV’s director, Daniel Rich. This week was a chance for his supporters, family and friends to get a glimpse of this amazing community of believers in action, doing work for God’s kingdom. I mean this with 100% honesty: this week has changed my life forever.
A year ago, Daniel brought along 12 FCAV staff members to South Carolina to run a camp for about 40 kids. Even though numbers were few, lives were still changed because he and his staff were obedient in the calling to make the trip across the country. This year, we were able to bring about 40 staff members from all across the country - players from the U.S. National team, Florida State, Clemson, players from schools in California and Georgia - all met up in South Carolina to run a camp for about 400 kids. This camp was the most amazing experience of my entire life, and the coolest thing was the success of the camp had nothing to do with us as a staff, but it was solely a result of God working in and through us to make it such a moving experience. All but two of the teams at this camp came from public schools, so the idea of incorporating God and volleyball in the same context was new to most of the teams. Each of us had our own team, or “huddle,” that we lived with all week. We were with them from the minute
they walked through the doors until they left at the end of the week. I got to know each one of them individually, and it was such as blessing to be with them all week.
Practice sessions were held during the day where we would have a mix of volleyball, prayer, mental training and staff members sharing their testimonies. At night we would all go to Program where our speaker, Greame Cowgill, would share a message, and then afterward, we’d meet with our huddle groups for an hour. Yes, the practice sessions and game-play were competitive and the girls got better at volleyball, but the true success of the camp came at program and during our huddle times at night. This was where the life-change happened. This was the time where I was able to talk to my girls on a deep level about life - the real struggles we face, the fears we have and just the day-to-day battles we fight as women. My nine girls opened up to me about things that were going on in their lives. They were able to share things they had never talked to anyone about before. For the first time in their lives, they felt the presence of God and felt Him tugging at their hearts. On the third night, all my girls had been ROCK
ED by Graeme’s message. He gave an invitation for the campers to accept Christ into their hearts. One of the girls in my group sat next to me with tears in her eyes and boldly raised her hand. That night, two of the girls in my group accepted Christ for the very first time, and the remaining eight re-committed their lives to Him. We sat for 3 hours after the message crying, sharing and talking about the true meaning and purpose of life.
My girls admitted to me that they did not want to come to camp at the beginning. They were fearful and had no idea what it looked like to play WITH God and incorporate the two together in the game of volleyball. By the end, their view had totally changed. They went from not wanting to come to not wanting to leave. From what I heard, this was a mutual feeling across the entire group of campers, and little do my girls know, this week at camp probably blessed me more than it did them.
Even though each team got a lot better at volleyball throughout the week, the success of this camp came from life-change. As a staff we didn’t just see the girls as volleyball players, we saw them as people. We took time and effort to love on them, to serve them, to get to know them. Each one of the girls could see that we didn’t have an agenda. They could tell we came to them with pure hearts and genuinely just wanted to get to know them for who they were. There are so many other stories I wish I could share, but the main point is, God did some amazing things at this camp and hand-picked each one of those girls to be there. Seeing God move truly changed my heart forever. All praise and glory to HIM!