How God is Using FCA Softball to Equip Tomorrow’s Leaders
Left Photo: Ava and Lauren Brandt, Freshmen at Lakeville South High School; Right Photo: Lauren (left) and Ava (right) with FCA Softball staff member and mentor, Allison Carpenter
While promising to love, honor, and cherish each other in the glow of the Hawaiian sun and in the presence of friends and family, Holly and Lee Brandt never imagined the road that lay ahead of them. A road laden with pain and heartbreak, but ultimately leading to two of the greatest blessings God could have ever given them. They met in 1996 while both working for Northwest Airlines, Holly, a flight attendant, and Lee, a pilot. Three years later they were married and wanted to start a family, but the way seemed blocked as they battled infertility. But, God made a way and in 2002, they adopted twin girls, Lauren and Ava, at birth.
The Brandt Family
As a family, they have been very involved with their local church in Burnsville, Minnesota. Holly led Lauren and Ava’s Sunday morning small groups for several years. Lee volunteers with Mission Outpost, the food shelf located in their church. Lauren and Ava volunteer as well, leading their own Children’s Ministry and Vacation Bible School small groups. They also love own Student Ministry small group and will be going on a mission trip with some of their fellow students to the Dominican Republic this summer.
Both Lauren and Ava were introduced to the Gospel and the love of Christ early on in life, but when they met coach Allison Carpenter, FCA Softball staff, last summer through Lakeville Fastpitch Softball, they began to see their faith in a new light. The Brandts have been involved in the world of softball for eight years but hadn’t really heard about FCA until meeting Allison. Her commitment to the team and leading devotions before games began to stir something in Lauren, Ava, and some of their teammates. As Lauren puts it, “She would lead devotions before games and tournaments, which was different for a lot of us because in the past, faith and softball had stayed separate things. As I came to find out throughout the season, it was actually quite the opposite of that.”
As the season came to a close, the team decided to start a Bible study, led by Allison, so they could stay connected and continue to grow in their faith throughout the off-season. Holly and Lee have graciously and generously opened up their home every Sunday afternoon, inviting the girls and Allison to have space to dig into the Word and share life together.
The impact of this time together is starting to show. As Holly says, “We were impressed with how much our girls looked forward to spending this time with Allison, exploring the Bible and their faith journeys. As time went on, we noticed a maturity and confidence in Lauren and Ava regarding their faith, and they seem much more comfortable using the Bible.”
Currently freshmen at Lakeville South High School, both girls have noticed how much their faith has grown since last summer. Ava reflects, “Doing Bible study and being a part of FCA has really helped me see how God is always working in every aspect of my life. Bible study has also helped me to connect what I learn at church to how I can use it on the softball field and in other areas of my life.”
Lauren is also learning how faith is a part of every hour of every day of her life, “God is always with me, not just on the field or in church. Playing softball is a gift from God and I shouldn’t take it for granted.”
Through their family, local church, and Allison’s mentoring, these young women are learning how their faith in Christ changes everything. It impacts how they play, how they interact with teammates and friends, and how they approach anything life throws their way. Looking to the future, these two have leadership written all over them and will be able to help pave the way for other athletes looking to grow deeper in their faith. Perhaps in the next couple of years they will each become an Allison to someone.
“I hope that other FCA athletes can continue to step out in their faith and become more involved with their faith in and outside of their sports.” – Ava
“I hope that other athletes will be able to become more comfortable in their faith. It would be really cool to get to see other people come to the realization that they can trust in God all the time whether you’re on the softball field, at church, or anyplace else.” – Lauren
Lakeville Fastpitch Softball Team
Posted on Mon, March 5, 2018
by Emily Werness