Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 3, 2014

Ambassador Baker

PikeView senior to share love for God and soccer in Israel

By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Brooke Baker is a very active student at PikeView High School.

Baker is a member of the soccer and softball teams and part of the school chorus. Last fall she was elected homecoming queen and come June she will be an ambassador, representing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Israel, sharing her knowledge of the sport she loves and bearing her testimony.

“I heard about the trip and I guess God just kind of laid it on my heart and pushed me to go toward it,” Baker said. “I got all the details and found out how much it was going to cost to go and have raised money ever since.”

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Baker, who was a midfielder on the PikeView soccer team that advanced to the state tournament this past season and it incorporates two of the most important things in her life.

“I hope to go there and not only help teach the kids a sport I love,” Baker said. “They are probably going to be better than me, but also to help teach them about the God that we have and how amazing He can be and no matter what they are going through, they have someone they can look up to not only to us as being athletes, but being Christians as well.”

Baker credits her FCA adult leader, Stephanie Stafford for putting her in contact with people who are organizing the trip. She also knows someone who took part in the program in the past.

“I know a guy named Ryan Page who went last year from James Monroe and there’s actually four guys from James Monroe going this year, he said.

Baker has been raising money for the trip which costs $3,900. That includes airfare, hotel and daily meals with the exception of lunches on a daily basis. She talked of her fundraising efforts.

“I’m looking to raise at least $3,900. My father would like me to raise at least $5,000,” Baker said. “That way I have spending money while I’m there and if anything happens and I need to buy a plane ticket to come home immediately, I can do it.”

The trip is scheduled for June 3-21. Baker is not sure whether or not she will stay the entire period.

“I’m either going to stay two or three weeks. The third week is strictly towards teaching American football,” Baker said. “They call soccer football over there. So if I stay the third week I would be doing worship services and things like that.”

The PikeView senior spoke of her involvement with the group in which she is one of the student leaders.

“I’ve been involved with FCA since my freshman year,” Baker said. “We really didn’t have an FCA at Athens (Middle School), but we did like a little prayer group.”

Baker anxiously awaits the trip to the Holy Land and told some of the itinerary.

“The first week we get to go there and tour, learn about the landmarks, we get to go to Bethlehem and go cliff diving. I’m excited about that,” Baker said. “But the thing I am most excited about, not only the soccer, but teaching kids about Jesus.

“That’s the whole reason we are going there. Yeah, we get to teach them about playing soccer, but the main reason we are going there is to help them learn about God.”

Baker said one thing she hopes to do once she has raised enough funds for her portion of the trip is to help her fellow FCA members from James Monroe obtain the money they need.

“They just had a spaghetti dinner and I was helping them,” Baker said. “I am the only one from FCA in Mercer County going and there are four of them from Monroe County, which has a smaller population. Once I get what I need I want to help them achieve their goals.”

Baker is the daughter of Donnie and Beth Baker. She has a younger sister, Kyndall, who is a student at PikeView Middle School. She is eager with anticipation to undertake her mission.

“I’m a small-town gal,” Baker said. “I’ve never been really out of West Virginia. I’ve been to a few states around us, but now I’m just hopping on a plane and going to Israel. It’s so exciting.”

—Contact Bob Redd

at bredd@bdtonline.com