It’s a little known fact that Double Oak has been visited by world-class tennis players from all over the globe due to the efforts of one its residents to reach out to them.
During the past four and a half years, Krista White has dedicated most of her free time traveling the world with professional women’s tennis players in order to support, help and serve them, with the hope of changing their hearts.
When White was growing up, her Dad encouraged the self-described military brat who moved to Double Oak in 1993 to engage in athletic activities of every sort. She played soccer, basketball, and softball in high school, and eventually played soccer at Liberty University.
Somehow, tennis never made it to her to-do list, yet today she is living her dream life as a freelance writer, a life that enables her to travel among the Women’s Tennis Association Tour. This mobile community of world-class international tennis athletes is far more vast than would ever be suspected by mainstream television viewers.
The notion of living and working in a mobile community had never occurred to White until 2002 when she watched a Wimbledon match including one of the top ten ladies in the world at that time. She describes the particular moment as an unprecedented experience.
“My heart began to feel so burdened for this young lady as the commentators told her life story that I just began to pray for her,” said White. This routine went on for several months after this one match. “I knew the only way I would know if God was answering my prayers was to follow her career on tour.”
White began praying that God would place someone inside the tour who would be close enough to some of the ladies to share faith in Jesus Christ. One day while at home, White watched a match on television and knew that God had answered her prayer when after winning the match, the young athlete took a brief moment to kneel down silently, before the entire crowd. When the on-court interview took place, the commentator asked what she had been doing earlier. White knew that she had found the person she had been looking for when the player stated, “I was giving glory to my personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
“After seeing this interview, I sent word to a possible connection to let this young lady know that I had been praying for her. But I never considered a response possible. It wasn’t the reason for my email anyway.” Within twenty-four hours, the athlete surprised White by personally responding to her, thanking her for her prayer support.
In 2007, White decided to investigate opportunities to spend some time in France. That time proved to be very fruitful. One connection led to another, and in May of that year, White was invited within the very closed circle of the professional tennis tour. Connections soon turned into friendships, and friendships opened up more opportunities to serve.
“I had no clue what God had had in store for me. If I did, I would probably be scared to death,” said White. “However, one door after another opened. I had to face cultural barriers and relate to people with all kinds of backgrounds, it is a constant learning experience, but I knew I had to do it.”
Since then, White has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles around the world, attending such tournaments as Wimbledon, the Australian Open, French Open, and U.S. Open. She said that she averages around 12-13 tournaments per year.
Her travel expenses are covered by proceeds from her writing, donations from friends, airline buddy passes and the kindness of her new friends and their families.
“There is so much of the sport that fans don’t see on television. One major issue that all the players face is the strain of travel, being on the road for most of the year.”
White found a niche in helping the players to secure comfortable housing with local families in each city, rather than stay in a hotel. She noted that she has only had to stay in a hotel room for six nights during the past four and half years.
White said that her journey has produced lasting friendships and bridged cultural divides. “I have gotten to know over 30 of the players pretty well. Some of them even visit me at home in Double Oak,” said White.
“God has opened opportunities for me to provide service, support and friendship to people from very diverse backgrounds, and the thing is that we’re all called to do that.”
To connect with White and find out more about her work, contact her at www.kristawhite.info.