The Heart of a ChampionA Baylor senior athlete, Melissa's name has corresponded with win after win after win as she has flashed her moves on the court, scoring impossible three-point shots and holding an intimidating presence that clears the basket for her teammates.
So, after months of intense training to stay on her game, while balancing the workload of her speech communications major, you would think Melissa would kick back for the summer--but that's not the story for this star student-athlete.
Instead, Melissa closed her eyes to her own gratification and opened them to the despair (and the surprising joy) of orphans and impoverished families in Kenya. Joining with teams of Baylor student-athletes, Melissa has spent part of her last two summers serving the least of these--bringing value and hope to those who are too often forgotten.
"Many of the children on the streets are so inspirational, as they wish to get on their feet and do things such as go back to school," Melissa recalled. "It brings tears to my eyes to see what they have to go through."
Incredibly moved by one child's story in particular, Melissa humbly untied her own laces and gave away the shoes she was wearing--holding nothing back as she fulfilled Jesus' greatest command: to love Him and to love others.
Leading sports clinics, waking up at 5 a.m. to feed children on the streets and washing the feet of Kenyans who have painful infections from the unavoidable chiggers, Melissa's extravagant heart for others shone brightly every day.
"Most people have the image of us coming to Africa to help and change people over here," she explained. "If I have learned one thing, however, it is that the people here have changed me. I thank God for helping our team make a difference here, but also for the positive change that is going on in my life as well."