Learning on the go: Athlete finds meaning in service to others near and far
FLORENCE, S.C. – Whether it’s in the Pee Dee or abroad, Stephen Colones has learned how meaningful it is to serve others.
He’s been to places such as Belize, Peru, China, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Israel and Spain.
For all of the volunteer work he has done, he has also come away with valuable lessons for himself.
He recently finished his senior season at The King’s Academy as an offensive and defensive tackle.
“I went on my first mission trip to Belize when I was 12,” Colones said. “In Belize, we were a 12-hour bus ride from the capital, the south part of Belize. It was the middle of the jungle.
“It was a mixing pot of people. The people were all different. And it just struck me how the people there interacted me and how different than it was in America.”
While there, Colones worked with a sports-ministries camp that his church, the Church at Sandhurst, helped start years ago.
“The goal is to reach younger kids anywhere from early preschool all the way to high school to share the gospel,” he said.
But what about places like China, where Colones’ faith is not that prominent.
“In the Bible, God calls us to act like Jesus did, be a light in the darkness through our actions and our words,” Colones said. “In the part of China I was in, if I was asked about the Bible, I could answer what I answer. But only if they ask you first.
“There are different laws in different places in China, and that was the law for where we were.”
Colones talked about how he has benefited from serving others overseas.
“It’s taught me how to respect cultures, first of all, and to understand the people and how they think and how they react to different things,” Colones said. “And I want to apply what I learned to where I live, how to share the gospel in places you can’t openly share. Get through to people through your actions.”
While serving others in the Pee Dee, Colones does that through the Key Club, as well as the House of Hope.
“With the House of Hope, we go there every couple of months to provide service and provide food,” he said. “I even did it when I was younger and home-schooled.”
Colones is a senior at TKA, and he’s looking into playing college football.
But if that doesn’t work out, he finds fulfillment in serving others.