These girls are an inspiration to all! I went to church today expecting the same as usual: Sacrament meeting first hour, Sunday school second hour, then off to teach the Young Women for third hour; but there was a slight change to the program. The BYU Rugby team was here visiting!
Typically during Sacrament meeting (after the ordinance where we partake in the bread and water) we hear from members of the ward who have prepared talks on a certain gospel topics. Today was unique because we got to hear from the coach (Tom Waqa), the team captain (Kirsten Siebach) and a team member (Rebecca Bunnell), who all shared their testimonies regarding their recent experiences.
They were ranked 6th in the nation and had a really good shot at making the Quarterfinals in the national playoffs this weekend. Due to an oversight, the playoffs were scheduled on a Sat-Sun instead of the promised Fri-Sat. Because of their beliefs to keep the Sabbath day Holy, this team unanimously chose not to participate in the Sunday round. These girls raised $10,000, bought nonrefundable plane tickets and had hopes of winning the rugby national championships, and I can only imagine the despair they felt.
The BYU Rugby team visiting our ward (Longwood, FL.)
Coach Tom Waqa pictured on right.
Kirsten Siebach pictured kneeling on far left.
Rebecca Bunnell pictured standing on far left.
Coach Tom Waqa (from Fiji) bore a simple and powerful testimony of the Savior and how he's so happy for their decision, despite how heartwrenching it was. He knew they were making the right choice and was proud to be their coach. He also said how strengthening the girls' examples were to his testimony.
Kirsten Siebach (a "Super Senior") shared her feelings about the situation and overall had a very gracious and positive attitude. She said if she could send one message to all, it would be to "Stand for something right, then stick to it." Her honest words and heartfelt testimony was powerful.
Through tears, Rebecca Bunnell spoke for the team when she said they wouldn't want to be anywhere other than where they were today. She said for the entire team it wasn't even a question of "IF". When they found out the news, she said they all "just knew" they wouldn't play. Growing up, she always heard that she should choose now what her standards would be and choose now to live them later when the time of trial came. For her and many others, that time came, and she was glad to have listened.
Their unity and friendship was inspiring as well. During Sunday school, I sat in front of a few of the girls, including Kirsten Siebach, and they played with Bella and were so sweet while she climbed all over the pews and threw Cheerios at them.
Turns out I have family on the team! Chenel Arts is my sister-in-law's niece. Very awesome to see her!!
The New York Times picked up the story. Click to read.
These girls truly are an inspiration to so many, and to me! You don't have to be a Latter-Day Saint to have standards and to stick to something you believe in. Stand for something and stand tall.
These girls stood tearfully, but proudly knowing they were standing for something bigger than a rugby championship. They were standing for Christ. I hope I can be a little more like them! Thanks for inspiring many!