In addition to lifting weights and preparing for a new football season, Landon Reel had a greater purpose in mind.

This football season, Landon Reel hopes to open running lanes for his team’s talented stable of backs.

Over the summer, however, the Mountain Island Charter offensive lineman participated in a cause greater than any he’ll find on the gridiron.

Alongside members of his church - Beth Haven Baptist Church in Denver - Reel visited Grenada for a mission trip.

“I’ve been going to (Beth Haven Baptist Church) since I was in the womb, so when I was given the opportunity to go on a mission trip I knew it was meant for me to go,” Reel said. “It was honestly me doing my best to stop trying to work in my power, and instead let God work through me.”

During the group’s time on the island, they held revival services to reach those both young and old. But before doing so, they had to do their share of work to ensure a ticket.

“For us, it was $200 down (payment),” Reel said. “Then we also had meals that we had to get ready and sell outside of the church.”

The sweat equity didn’t stop there, with them having to pack every item necessary for the trip - from clothes and snacks to props being used for ministry.

“There was a mini-stage we took with us that got kids excited, but shortly after that we had to get everything ready for a church service.”

While there for a purpose, Reel said the group was able to enjoy the bounty for which the island provided.

“Grenadan food was awesome,” he said. “Fish and chicken were a mainstay in their dishes, and they found more ways to cook them than I thought were possible.”

Another food also made a certain impression on him.

“It was the first time I ate opossum,” the Mountain Island Charter senior offensive lineman said. “I wasn’t a huge fan, but at least it is something I can say I tried.”

Reel came back a week later grateful for the opportunity, the kindness of those he was seeking to reach with the gospel at the forefront of his mind.

“Us back here in the U.S. joke about ‘island time.’ But it is a real thing, they are so laid back, genuine and nice,” he said. “They were always supportive of us, a group of strangers. They always helped, always encouraged, and I’m proud to have been in their presence.”

Reel missed a week of practice for the mission trip, which offered the local football standout a clear view of the correlation between football and the church.

“There are more important things than football, but there are ways they are intertwined,” he said. “In both you are working together for a common goal. In football, it is to achieve wins … but with the church it is about something greater.

“That’s what we’re after, and making sure others are able to experience the same.”

Said Robert Washington, Reel’s head coach at Mountain Island Charter: “Our goal is to win games … and I’d like to think no one loves to win more than me. But if we can help create the next generation of productive citizens to their community, I believe we have truly done our job.”