Justice Mims and Samantha Smith: Hope Athletics Podcast

Samantha Smith poses for a portrait.
Samantha Smith
Justice Mims poses for a portrait.
Justice Mims

On a recent Hope College Athletics SEED mission trip, juniors Justice Mims and Samantha Smith felt God’s spirit moving within them.

The two student-athletes and kinesiology majors spoke about their time in The Dominican Republic on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. Season 4’s fourth episode featured a conversation with Mims, a guard on the men’s basketball team, and Smith, a goalie on the women’s lacrosse team.

Hope Athletics recognizes that sport provides an opportunity for athletes to have a significant platform from which to influence others. In traveling with the Sports Evangelism to Equip Disciples (SEED) program, Hope College students utilize their passion for sport to share the love of Christ with individuals around the world. 

Through participating in the SEED program, students are intentionally challenged to use their experiences to sow the seed and water the harvest so that the Good News of Jesus Christ takes root in their own lives as it is shared around the world. 

Mims, a native of Rochester Hills, Michigan, near Detroit, remembered how he felt after his group brought and instructed residents of villages to use Sawyer water filters that clean the water.

Rich in spirit

“Yes, they’re underprivileged, but they’re not poor, they’re rich in spirit, 100%,” Mims said on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. “I always say this to people whenever I talk about the SEED trip. I really believe the biggest difference is that they have God in everything. 

“They welcome us in, even though we don’t even speak the same language as them. We’re just strangers, foreigners, and they’re still inviting us in. Having the hospitality to give us their grace, it was just awesome. I really do think that because they had God in everything, it didn’t matter what the situation was, they are much happier than what is perceived.”

Smith, a native of Westfield, Indiana, near Indianapolis, was grateful for how those she met through the SEED mission trip, brought God into every conversation.

“They see God in everything,” Smith said on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. “One of the biggest things that I noticed was our leader, John, told us that when we were done having a conversation with someone, we’d say, dios te bendiga, which means God bless you. Everybody on the trip picked it up immediately. We would say it every two seconds after every conversation, even if we didn’t say ‘Hi’ to someone, we’d say that. 

“I just realized that in our community here, if we told a group of 20 20-year-olds, ‘Hey, after every conversation say ‘God bless you’, we’d all be like, ‘No, that’s kind of random, kind of weird.’ But just because of the community they have created, that’s completely normal and it’s encouraged. That’s something that I’ve been trying to incorporate here in my life, and I’ll definitely try to incorporate it at Hope. There’s always room for God in a conversation.”

Written transcript of the interview

Microphone on a stand.

Keegan DeKuiper and Annie Lockett: Hope Athletics Podcast

Microphone on a stand.

When injuries sidelined Hope College’s Keegan DeKuiper and Annie Lockett from competition last season, they put aside their disappointment and focused on supporting their teammates and coaches.

Their servant leadership drew praise from those around them, including their respective men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams. They were announced as Anchor Award recipients in April at the 2024 Hope Athletics HOPEYs ceremony.

The Male and Female Anchor Awards are presented to athletes who anchor their teams, inspiring their teammates to train and perform at their best. 

Annie Lockett poses for a portrait.
Annie Lockett
Keegan DeKuiper poses for a portrait.
Keegan DeKuiper

DeKuiper and Lockett spoke about their experiences and lessons learned during Season 4, Episode 3 of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast.

They both said they relied on their Christian faith to help navigate a challenging time in their lives.

“It was super tough, but God just has a way of changing your heart (and) changing your mindset,” DeKuiper said.

Added Lockett, “Ultimately, we serve a God who turns these poor things into good things, and he does that through people.”

Ultimate Teammates

A goalkeeper, DeKuiper went from starting nine games as a sophomore in 2022 to missing the entire 2023 season.

The exercise science major from Norton Shores, Michigan (Mona Shores HS) rose to the occasion, head coach David Blahnik said.

“Keegan is the ultimate teammate,” Blahnik said. “Whether he is the star of the game or injured on the sideline you can always count on him to be a servant leader to his teammates and coaches to help in whatever way possible.” 

Lockett earned American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors as an outside hitter in 2022 and helped the Flying Dutch reach the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. 

The business major from Mason, Ohio (William Mason) never saw the court in 2023 but still poured herself into her teammates, head coach Becky Schmidt said. Hope finished as national runner-up last season.

“Annie is a selfless leader who was able to impact the team despite not having one stat this year,” Schmidt said. “Her willingness to put the team first, celebrate her teammates and bring wisdom and perspective to the team was inspiring.”

Written transcript of the interview

Dylan Clem: Hope Athletics Podcast

Microphone on a stand.

Dylan Clem is poised to build a successful and fulfilling career as a structural engineer with a foundation set at Hope College and his hometown of Stevensville, Michigan.

The All-American offensive guard has one more college football season to play, though.

Clem is returning for a fifth season with the Flying Dutchmen this fall. Hope is coming off an 8-2 season despite one of the toughest schedules in NCAA Division III. The Flying Dutchmen’s home and season opener is Saturday, Sept. 7, at 1 p.m. against Loras College (Iowa) at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium.

Clem appeared on the Hope College Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast and spoke about preparing for the upcoming season while also interning in the Washington, D.C., area.

“I took that leap of faith to come down here and spend the money on rent, for knowledge and a little bit of money. The first four weeks have been great,” Clem said. “A lot of what Hope taught me in the engineering program has correlated, along with just the ability to work hard and that comes in the classroom and the football field and just honestly campus in general. That’s just why I love Hope. Everyone has that mission to want to succeed, to want to work hard, to want to do all those things. I’ve really felt the presence of Hope in my life around here in D.C.”

In April, Clem was named the 2024 male recipient of the Be Strong. Be True. Award at the annual HOPEYs ceremony The honor is presented to a junior or senior who demonstrates the true essence of being a student-athlete and embodies the Division III motto of Discover, Develop, Dedicate.  This student-athlete is in high academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.5), plays a significant role on the team, and is involved in the Hope and Holland community.

Career Builder

The award was one of many for the Lakeshore High School alum. In May, Clem received one of two Senior Engineering Prizes from the Hope College Engineering Department. In January, he was chosen for the Academic All-America First Team by College Sports Communicators. In December, he was selected as an All-American by D3football.com.

Dylan Clem poses for a portrait.
Dylan Clem

Along his journey at Hope, Clem served as a team captain for two years, as a member of the Athletes Coming Together / Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ACT/SAAC), and was part of the athletic mentoring program, Team 43. He also worked as a research student in Dr. Courtney Peckens’ lab.

Clem expressed gratitude for Hope’s embrace of allowing student-athletes to follow their passions on and off the field. He said he did not always find that through his college recruiting process.

“When I came to Hope, the first thing Coach [Peter] Stuursma said was ‘All right, let me get you to a football player who’s an engineer.’ He showed me Dan Romano who was probably the smartest person I know,” Clem said. “Ever since then, Hope’s been that place where I felt like I could do it all. Coach Stuursma and all of our coaches really gave us that chance to succeed and gave us that chance to feel like we can do whatever we want.”

Hope’s Engineering Department also set him up for success as well, Clem said.

“The coolest thing about the Hope engineering program was that their intro class takes you through all different types of engineering. You’ll do civil two weeks. You’ll do mechanical two weeks. You’ll build circuits and do electrical,” Clem said. “I really loved the bridge section of the civil and then we got to make concrete and crush it. I was like, that’s pretty cool. I stuck with civil and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Written Transcript

Kara VanderKamp: Hope Athletics Podcast

H-Club Hope for Humanity Award Kara VanderKamp '95 poses for a pictured with head women's soccer Leigh Sears and Associate Athletic Director Lindsey Engelsman.
H-Club Hope for Humanity Award Kara VanderKamp ’95 poses for a picture with head women’s soccer Leigh Sears and Associate Athletic Director Lindsey Engelsman.

Kara VanderKamp ‘95 carries the lessons she learned on the soccer field and at Hope College into her missionary work in Niger.

The 2024 H-Club “Hope for Humanity” Award recipient and Remember Niger Coalition CEO talked about her drive to support educational opportunities for youth in Niger (pronounced knee-jeer), the landlocked western African nation between Libya, Mali, Chad and Nigeria. 

“I think one of the things I really love about soccer is it truly is a team sport that everybody has to play at their best in order to be successful and to win as a team,” VanderKamp said. “You have to sacrifice for the team. As far as leadership is concerned, I think really trying to find the strengths of every person on the team and then drawing that out of them, I find that I use that all the time in the work that I’m doing now. I’m just trying to find the right people with the right skill set, then encouraging one another, being positive, and challenging each other as well to bring out the best.”

VanderKamp’s interview kicks off the fourth season of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast this summer.

The Orange and Blue Podcast features interviews with Hope student-athletes, coaches, staff and alumni. They share their stories of academic success, competitive excellence and transformational experiences at Hope.

Hope for Humanity Award Recipient

Microphone on a stand.

VanderKamp received the Hope for Humanity Award in April on campus. The award is presented to Hope College alumni athletes who have demonstrated Christian commitment and service to others in their careers after Hope. It was first awarded in 1990 and is presented by the college’s H-Club, which consists of Hope alumni who were athletic letterwinners and other honorary letter winners.

VanderKamp graduated from Hope with a degree in political science and an elementary teaching certificate. A midfielder on the women’s soccer team, she served as co-captain during her senior year, was named to the All-MIAA First Team in 1993 and 1994, became the first Hope women’s soccer player to gain all-region honors and ended her career as Hope’s all-time leader in assists.

The Remember Niger Coalition, under VanderKamp’s leadership, partners with 18 schools and serves over 5,400 students. Each year, more than 400 students graduate from primary school and matriculate to middle school. Remember Niger partner schools have a 90% pass rate on the national exam. 

During the past 15 years, 80 classrooms have been constructed in 13 communities, four solar-powered wells have been built, thousands of children have received school meals.  In addition, 115 teachers receive training annually, and 400 boys and girls in primary school and 98 girls in middle and high school who would not otherwise be able to afford the cost of going to school receive financial assistance from sponsors. 

Expanding Education in Niger

Kara VanderKamp kicks a soccer ball past a defender at Buys Athletics Field.
Kara VanderKamp kicks a soccer ball past a defender at Buys Athletics Field.

As CEO of Remember Niger Coalition, VanderKamp leads the initiative to spread the word about the organization and its mission, raise funds and support, and implement, monitor and evaluate projects in Niger. She is actively engaged in leading the staff and serving on the board of directors. 

VanderKamp travels around the United States as a public speaker in churches, rotary clubs, schools and businesses. She regularly travels across Niger to visit each school partner and work closely with each one to ensure that the schools have what they need and students are receiving a quality education. She oversees annual teacher trainings in Niger, and she and her team evaluate and monitor the health and wellness of the students, making sure that students receive school meals and extra healthcare in emergency situations.”

VanderKamp has served as the CEO of the Remember Niger Coalition for the past 15 years.

“What became apparent to me pretty quickly was that they had everything that they needed. They had the, they had the vision. They had a pretty concrete plan. They knew what they were doing. They knew how to start schools in their community in their country. What they lacked were partners,” VanderKamp said. “I thought I could be more useful going back to the United States and helping them find more partners. That’s how Remember Niger started.”

Read a transcript of the interview.

NCAA Division III Week Spotlight: Sophia Farbarzhevich, Women’s Diving

Editor’s note: From Monday-Sunday, April 1-7, Hope College Athletics is celebrating NCAA Division III Week with member schools across the country as we observe and celebrate the impact Division III athletics and student-athletes have on campus and in the surrounding community. There are special events planned at Hope Athletics home events throughout the week. Check out Hope Athletics social media accounts for more stories. As part of Division III Week, Hope softball pitcher and communication major Grace Connelly ‘25 is profiling four peers throughout Division III Week for the Hope Athletics blog.

Hope College senior Sophia Farbarzhevich has made the most of her time, in and out of the pool, as an NCAA Division III student-athlete.

In addition to being a high-achieving diver on the MIAA champion women’s swimming and diving team, she has been on a pre-medicine track: majoring in Spanish and minoring in chemistry and neuroscience. 

Farbarzhevich (Grand Rapids, Michigan / Forest Hills Northern HS) is involved in research, the pre-health professionals club, and the Students Teaching and Empowering Peers (STEP) organization. She is a member of the Sigma Iota Beta (SIB) sorority. She went on a Sports Evangelism to Equip Disciples (SEED) trip to Zambia.

As Farbarzhevich has continued to commit her time to various activities, she has understood the importance of being present. With a rigorous schedule, she has to be intentional with her time and understand what is important.

People are at the top of her list. It’s a priority that has played a key role in the development and success of the diving team, diving coach Becca Garza said. 

“This sport is about relationships and connections,” Garza said. “Soph loves and craves relationships. She has been such a blessing to help build the program over the last four years.”

As Farbarzhevich has grown in this confidence, she has seen success both academically and athletically.  

She was named to the All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First Team as a junior and the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America Second Team as a sophomore. 

Farbarzhevich focuses on what others have given her.  Throughout her time with the dive team, the relationships she’s cultivated have become a huge part of who she is.

“Setting out time for the people I love has been really important and has changed me for the better,” Farbarzhevich said. “I have learned so much about myself and others, trying to understand who I am while growing through diving. 

“As I’ve grown closer with the dive team, we have become a family. I have seen characteristics within the other athletes that I desire to see in myself which helped me become more comfortable and confident with who I am.”

Hope Athletics website

NCAA Division III Week Spotlight: Kyle Langdon, Men’s Swimming

Editor’s note: From Monday-Sunday, April 1-7, Hope College Athletics is celebrating NCAA Division III Week with member schools across the country as we observe and celebrate the impact Division III athletics and student-athletes have on campus and in the surrounding community. There are special events planned at Hope Athletics home events throughout the week. Check out Hope Athletics social media accounts for more stories. As part of Division III Week, Hope softball pitcher and communication major Grace Connelly ‘25 is profiling four peers throughout Division III Week for the Hope Athletics blog.

Kyle Langdon’s experience as a student-athlete on the Hope College men’s swimming and diving team exemplifies how athletics and academics can work together in life-changing ways.

It started before the now senior swimmer for the Flying Dutchmen even decided to enroll at the college. 

From the beginning of the recruiting process, Langdon explained, “[Coach Jake] Taber instilled personal hope in me, and the fact that he believed in me was huge for my confidence as an athlete.”

Langdon (Holland, Michigan / West Ottawa HS) quickly saw his life transformed on campus.

After taking a leadership class as a freshman and connecting with the material, Langdon discovered a passion for leadership and the joy that comes from developing others.  

He is now pursuing a minor in leadership along with his business major. He values the skills that he has been learning, implementing them into practices and daily interactions with his teammates.

“In every conversation I have with a teammate, I want them to be impacted positively, or I want to take away something more personable allowing us to be more connected than before,” he said.

His commitment and leadership led to him being named team captain during the 2023-24 season, a sign of how he had grown into the potential that his coach had seen four years earlier.

“Kyle is one of those guys who finds a way to bring the best out in others,” Taber said. “His value comes from who he is, what he’s doing behind the scenes and how accountable he is to his teammates.”

As Langdon approaches graduation and reflects on his time at Hope, he appreciates the confidence that he has gained as a student-athlete, leader, and professional.

He also believes that growth as a student-athlete at Hope will continue to make a difference to him in the future.

“I feel like I know myself a little bit better now,” he said. “I now know who I am, what I value and who I value. I have a good sense of direction of where I want to be and I’m most proud of those I’ve impacted in a positive way.”

Hope Athletics website

NCAA Division III Week Spotlight: Raven Jemison, Women’s Basketball

Editor’s note: From Monday-Sunday, April 1-7, Hope College Athletics is celebrating NCAA Division III Week with member schools across the country as we observe and celebrate the impact Division III athletics and student-athletes have on campus and in the surrounding community. There are special events planned at Hope Athletics home events throughout the week. Check out Hope Athletics social media accounts for more stories. As part of Division III Week, Hope softball pitcher and communication major Grace Connelly ‘25 is profiling four peers throughout Division III Week for the Hope Athletics blog.

Raven Jemison holds a basketball.

Raven Jemison brought fire to the MIAA regular-season champion and Sweet Sixteen qualifying Hope College women’s basketball team this season but notes that she wasn’t always that way. 

The senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan appreciates how the opportunities as a NCAA Division III student-athlete have transformed her — helping her to live into her full self and pursue becoming all that she was created to be. 

An English major with a creative writing emphasis, Jemison explains that she has become more extroverted as a student-athlete at Hope, going out of her way to see people and engaging in personal conversations creating deeper relationships that will last a lifetime.

Jemison has also become intentional with her time, being fully present with her teammates, living in the moment and investing in personal relationships.  

The perspective was brought home, while far away, on another continent, during a women’s basketball team trip to Italy during the summer of 2022. The opportunity was eye-opening as Jemison realized she would never be in that same experience again with all of her teammates and coaches.

“I will never be a part of this program again, so I have to enjoy what I have at this moment,” Jemison said. “A lot of people want to talk about where they want to be, but you’ll never get there if you don’t enjoy what you have now.”

Jemison is part of a storied women’s basketball program that won national championships three times and advanced to postseason play 23 times since the first national title in 1990.

Jemison started at center this season, helping a young team with five new starters reach the third round of the NCAA Tournament and finish with a 26-4 overall record. The Flying Dutch claimed an outright MIAA championship, their 20th league title.

In addition to her contributions on the court, Jemison played an important role in fostering a winning environment off the court —  a reflection of her dedication to becoming the best version of herself while helping others develop.  

To her teammates and coaches, Jemison is a transformative person herself. Head coach Brian Morehouse said the underclassmen often look to her for direction and guidance.

“She has the biggest soul and continues to use that for good to impact everyone around her,” Morehouse said.“Raven is the kindest girl on the team and highly approachable. She does a great job of recognizing who is hurting and who is thriving and coming alongside them.”

Hope Athletics website

NCAA Division III Week Spotlight: Aidan Kyle, Track and Field

Editor’s note: From Monday-Sunday, April 1-7, Hope College Athletics is celebrating NCAA Division III Week with member schools across the country as we observe and celebrate the impact Division III athletics and student-athletes have on campus and in the surrounding community. There are special events planned at Hope Athletics home events throughout the week. Check out Hope Athletics social media accounts for more stories. As part of Division III Week, Hope softball pitcher and communication major Grace Connelly ‘25 is profiling four peers throughout Division III Week for the Hope Athletics blog.

Aidan Kyle holds a javellin.

Aidan Kyle likes to challenge himself and seek out new experiences. The Hope College junior student-athlete and communication major found meaningful opportunities to do both at a familiar place for his family.

A fourth-generation student at Hope, Kyle arrived on campus three years ago from Weston, Connecticut, as a baseball player but discovered quickly a new passion: track and field.

In the spring semester of his freshman year, Kyle switched sports and joined the Flying Dutchmen track and field team. He devoted himself to an athletic endeavor he’d never before attempted: throwing the javelin. 

Despite his inexperience, Kyle went on to win MIAA outdoor championships in back-to-back years.

“To come in and win as a freshman is astonishing, as he had never thrown javelin before and most people [who compete] have,” head coach Kevin Cole said.

Kyle’s success reflects natural talent for the event, but it is also the result of hard work. His commitment to elevating his own performance also contributes to team culture.

“He is an elite status athlete, which means constantly finding new ways as a coaching staff to challenge him as he desires to improve his craft,” Cole said.

Kyle is no less driven during his time away from the javelin runway and landing sector. 

After his freshman year, he desired a new challenge and a mental reset, so he participated in programs offered through the college’s Fried Center for Global Engagement. He studied abroad in London during the fall semester of his sophomore year. 

Change can be challenging and requires the ability to come out of one’s comfort zone. 

Kyle believes his time abroad proved to be the best experience for him because he immersed himself in new communities, adapted to a new culture, and learned a lot about who he is. 

He plans to use the lessons and experiences he learned through sport as he plans to pursue a future career in media production.

“Being able to live alone in a different country was a really big growth opportunity for me. It helped me become more independent, and built confidence within myself,” he said.

Hope Athletics website

Liz VanderSlice honors her late father, Chris VanderSlice ’99, during NCAA Championships push

Chris VanderSlice stands with his wife and two daughters.
The VanderSlice family, from left, Liz, Chris, Hannah and Tonya.

Junior Liz VanderSlice lovingly wrapped a Swiss-made NCAA Championships watch around her left wrist before embarking on another title quest with the Hope College volleyball team.

Chris VanderSlice ’99, her late father and former Flying Dutchmen basketball captain, remains close to her no matter where she travels.

This week, Liz is in Claremont, California, outside of Los Angeles, to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. It is Liz’s second consecutive trip to the national quarterfinals and her first as a starting outside hitter. 

Led by head coach Becky Schmidt, the second-ranked Flying Dutch (30-2) face ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins, Md., University (28-4) on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The match will be streamed on ncaa.com. The winner advances to the national semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 30.

Twenty-five years ago, Chris helped Hope finish national runner-up on the basketball court for the second time in three seasons. He also was a member of the 1996 team that was national runner-up.

“My mom and my sister, we have his two [NCAA Championships] watches. I have this one; it’s a good luck charm,” Liz said of the gold-trimmed, white timepiece with a black band. 

Cancer Fighter

Chris VanderSlice shoots a jumper at the Holland Civic Center.
Chris VanderSlice

Six years ago on October 28, Chris died at the age of 40 following a four-year battle with cancer. The well-liked and well-respected administrator and teacher for Grandville Public Schools was survived by his wife, Tonya, and their daughters, Hannah and Liz.

While memories of his difficult and long fight against cancer and his physical absence today understandably still are painful at times, Liz said she and her family still take inspiration from him.

“If I have a bad game or if Coach tells me to make a correction in practice, I catch myself sometimes saying ‘I can’t’,” Liz said. “Instead, I’m like, I’m not going to think like that; that’s just ingrained in me. He said, ‘You can always find a way to do something.’ I’ve always had an attitude, just like how my dad raised us in our family like no one’s going to tell me what I can and can’t do.

“Not that Coach ever set expectations like that early on, but I was like ‘I’m not going to let someone tell me I can’t play because I know I can,” Liz said. “When I put my mind to something, usually I can make it happen. I have a confidence in my ability.”

Liz was not invited to play volleyball when she enrolled at Hope after being a three-sport athlete at Grandville High School. She instead joined the track and field team as a freshman.

Opportunity earned

A year later, Liz visited Coach Schmidt coincidentally on the same day that a roster spot unexpectedly opened up. Liz jumped at the opportunity to play volleyball for the Flying Dutch. She saw limited action as a sophomore, appearing in four matches, for the 2022 Hope team that advanced to the national quarterfinals for the fourth time in program history.

Liz VanderSlice flexes her right arm while holding a volleyball in her left arm.
Liz VanderSlice

Not satisfied with just being on the team, Liz continued to sharpen her game during spring practice and drew the attention of Hope’s coaching staff.

This season, Liz has blossomed into a full-time regular on the court after an injury to teammate Annie Lockett — a returning honorable-mention All-American, too — opened playing time on the right side.

Supported by extended family, including her mom and sister, Liz has appeared in all 32 games for the Flying Dutch. The 5-10 biomedical/bioelectrical engineering major and future medical salesperson is averaging 1.90 kills per set and ranks fifth on the team.

It is a similar path as Chris, who saw limited action during the Flying Dutchmen’s 1996 tournament run and became a key leader in the team’s 1998 postseason drive.

Today, Liz made herself into the significant contributor she is, Schmidt said.

Success story

“This is one of those success stories that I can’t take any credit for. Throughout last season, she kept getting up to speed with the college speed of the game. She didn’t have a big role, then she had to adjust to playing different positions. I think that allowed her to dive in, test her own play and find ways to continue to get better,” Schmidt said. “I give her a ton of credit because she took the initiative to make the most out of every opportunity. She kept pushing.

“Then, she took Dance for Sports with Nicki Flinn [-Culver] in the spring. She gained so much more coordination over her body to the point last spring that we were like ‘She is really hitting the ball hard.’ When Annie [Lockett] went down with a sprained ankle and made a need for another outside position, every time we would put people in competitive battles, she kept stepping up.”

Liz reminded Schmidt of someone she respected while a student-athlete at Hope. While Chris was playing basketball, Schmidt played volleyball for the Flying Dutch before graduating in 1999.

“I think about Chris, too. I didn’t know him that well, but we were classmates,” Schmidt said. “I did watch him play basketball and I could see how gritty he was and how hard he worked: just nose-to-the-grindstone type of athlete he was. I definitely see those same traits in Liz.”

Daughter and father: both finely crafted like a Swiss watch.

SEED Mission Trips: Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast

Two Hope student-athletes play with three youth in Africa.

On the season’s final episode of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, four Hope College student-athletes joined Sports Information Director Alan Babbitt to discuss their service-filled and life-changing SEED trips this summer.

Senior Libby Strotman, senior Madeline Tessin, junior David Brace and junior David Hesselbein each took part in a Sports Evangelism to Equip Disciples (SEED) mission trip.

The program annually provides opportunities for Hope student-athletes to serve in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Uganda, and Zambia.

Hope students will utilize their passion for sport to share the love of Christ with individuals around the world.

Through participating in the SEED program, students will be intentionally challenged to use their experiences to sow the seed and water the harvest so that the Good News of Jesus Christ takes root in their lives as it is shared worldwide.

Central America

Hesselbein (Barrington, Illinois / Barrington Community HS) is a goalie for the Flying Dutchmen. The physical and health education major traveled to Costa Rica.

“We were partnered with an organization called Push the Rock,” Hesselbein said. “For the first half of the trip, we did mostly sports camps and a lot of ministry in schools and prisons. The second half of the trip, we went into more tribal areas, less populated and a little bit more off the grid. That’s when we started partnering with Sawyer (Products) to bring water filters to provide clean water for people who didn’t have a source of clean water. That was really cool, too.”

Tessin (Waxhaw Ridge, N.C. / Marvin Ridge) is a swimmer for the Flying Dutch. The exercise science major went to the Dominican Republic.

“We worked with a ministry called Go Ministries and they work specifically through sports and church planting,” Tessin said. “While we were there, we traveled around a lot to different communities. We did a basketball practice with one group, then we just played with kids with another. Daniel mentioned the water filters, and we did those near Haiti.”


Stratman (Park Ridge, Illinois / Maine Township) competes in throwing events on the track and field team. The physical and health education major traveled to Zambia.

“We served the people in Choma, then the two surrounding communities. While we were there, we ran a three-day sports camp,” Strotman said. “We also had a day of service where we built a softball field, which was super cool, and then got to play on it with other people in the community. We partnered with a group called Poetice, which has a lot of Hope history, and was really cool to work with.”

Brace (Plymouth, Michigan / Plymouth) is a midfielder for the Flying Dutchmen lacrosse team. The business major went to Uganda.

“We went to southern Uganda and worked there with Sports Outreach, which brings in children from neighboring communities and teaches the ministry through sports,” Brace said. “We were holding sports camps, and then we’d go into communities in that area and deliver the Sawyer water filters as well. We also went to northern Uganda and it was a little more rural. We gave away a lot of those water filters. It was a great experience. We’re so thankful that Sawyer and Sports Outreach took us in with open arms.”

Read a transcript of the interview.