The Los Angeles Dodgers' left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw may not be making as many headlines as star quarterback Tim Tebow for his faith, but the Christian athlete is nonetheless doing big things in the name of Jesus.
Clayton, along with his wife, Ellen, recently returned from the southern African country of Zambia, where they are involved in building an orphanage in Lusaka, the capital city. A book co-written by the Kershaws and Ann Higginbottom, titled Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself, was released earlier this month detailing the couple's experience in Zambia and how meeting a young orphan inspired the name of the orphanage, Hope's Home.
The little orphan, Hope, was homeless and suffering from HIV. It was after meeting her that the Kershaws conceived the idea of building an orphanage.
"You want to be remembered for something other than baseball and I think that's the point, that's the whole life purpose we're trying to figure out," Clayton said at a news conference last week, according to ESPN.com
The couple's most recent trip to Zambia was Clayton's second and Ellen's sixth to the African nation. The Kershaws have been working with the Christian non-profit organization Arise Africa, whose mission is to "help in ways of education, healthcare and sustainability," to build Hope's Home.
His latest trip to Zambia, Clayton shared during the news conference, was "more relational stuff," bonding with the orphans and playing soccer – a sport Clayton isn't known for in the U.S.
"Clayton, Ellen and I have been friends for a while. Last year both helped build classrooms for a school and Clayton helped with a kids Bible study," Alissa Hollimon, the co-founder and president for Arise Africa, told The Christian Post Tuesday, "He's a friend."
Last season, Kershaw pledged and donated $100 for each strikeout he chalked up, throwing a National League best of 248 strikeouts. The Kershaws have raised in total almost $100,000 in the past year to help construct the orphanage.
"We're expected to break ground in the next few weeks, so we're ready to rock and roll," Hollimon said, "It's very exciting."
Once the orphanage is built, the kids will be able to attend school, eat healthy food, and will have someplace to call home.
While Clayton makes it clear that there is more to life than baseball, people around him can't help but note what a spectacular 2011 season he had. Kershaw was recognized with the 2011 National League Cy Young Award and the Triple Crown for his stellar pitching.
"His career has grown and the Lord has blessed everything around it," Hollimon remarked to CP.
In response to inevitable comparison to fellow Christian athlete Tim Tebow, Kershaw said that "I guess you could say that I'm a little more understated than Tim is. Not to say that either one is wrong, that's just kind of my personality."
The Kershaws' book Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself is available for purchase, with sales proceeds going to Arise Africa.
On the web: http://kershawchallenge.com