Willis shares message of love at Fellowship of Christian Athletes back-to-school event

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Greater Wiregrass Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes hosted a Back to School event in the Dixon Center for the Performing Arts on LBW’s Andalusia campus Tuesday, August 16.

Guest speaker Vivian Willis shared an uplifting message about love in memory of her daughter Derriunna Gantt who passed away four years ago at the age of 20.

Slade Wicker offered some inspirational messages and sang four gospel songs while playing the guitar.

“I love God and am not ashamed of it. I take Him wherever I go. This message is dedicated to my daughter Derriunna. She was an athlete at Straughn High School from birth. She was given a talent and one I embraced as her mom. You only die one time. The saying ‘You only live once’ is a lie; you live every day. In the 22 years since I was saved, I have made 100,000 mistakes, but Jesus still loved me. Don’t be afraid and ashamed of what Jesus wants you to do. The word I want to speak to you on is love,” Willis said.

She is a resource teacher and co-sponsor of FCA at Andalusia High School.

“Your flesh is never ready for death, but I knew the Word of God and knew death didn’t win. I knew Derriunna lasted in life because I taught her Jesus. You have to know you’re loved. If you feel like you’re not loved, Jesus loves you and so do I. I love the journey God has given me with children. When someone asks if you love God, don’t be ashamed. It is okay and a good feeling to love God because He loves you back. Love is the only remedy for hate.”

Willis added that God’s love is all around, and she encouraged the student-athletes in attendance to love one another.

“I ask you Pleasant Home to love your neighbors from Andalusia. I encourage you Opp to love your friends from Kinston. I encourage you Straughn to love your friends from Red Level. I encourage you LBWCC to love your friends at Enterprise State CC. There is nothing wrong with love. Your mouth is powerful, and when you speak negative or positive, that is what you receive. Love covers a multitude of faults.”

Willis stated that teams can beat one another but should still display love at the end.

“I want to encourage all of you for this school year to go out and play with your heart. Leave it all on the court or the field. Do your thing whether it’s band, cheer, volleyball, basketball, football, or even drama as long as it’s with God. Enjoy this school year and make friends.”

LBW students returned to campus for fall classes Wednesday, August 17.

For more information about the FCA email Janie Wiggins at jwiggins@lbwcc.edu.