First Baptist Church of Eugene takes in U.S. Basketball Academy

The U.S. Basketball Academy lost all power and water at their facilities in Blue River, and the First Baptist Church of Eugene offered to give them a place to stay.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 11:46 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 11:55 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- First Baptist Church of Eugene is already paying forward the good deed that was done for their youth group during the recent winter storm.

On Sunday night the youth group became stuck in Oakridge, taking refuge at a local church.

READ ON: CHURCH GROUP STRANDED IN OAKRIDGE SAFELY RETURNS TO EUGENE

Now, they're back home in Eugene, where First Baptist and Camp Harlow have taken in another group of kids because of the winter storm.

Around noon on Tuesday, the church got a call that the United States Basketball Academy in McKenzie River needed help.

"All the time we've been in existence, 22 years, it's never happened before," said USBA President Bruce O'Neil. "We've had snow, but nothing like this where we didn't have any water, no power. If it were a power outage, it's been a day."

The academy is currently hosting 50 kids between the ages of 12 and 15 from all over China.

O'Neil said these kids are some of the top young basketball players from China, and they're here to improve their skills in basketball and English.

"They've been picked by a selection committee in China, by the Minister of Sports, to come here and spend a year with us," O'Neil said. "Then we place them in high schools and prep schools around America."

For some of these kids, like Yuntao Xue, they've never experienced something like this.

"I used to live in South China, so I haven't seen snow before," Xue said. "But, I like snow. But the snow like this, I dislike it."

Even for those who have seen snow, like Lily Liu, potentially having no water or power for a week was a terrifying thought.

"We thought: one week. No electric, no water, what are we going to do," Liu said. "I thought, what happened? I can only imagine what will happen in this week. But after coming out, I thought, woah, it's just a new life for me."

O'Neil, his staff and the kids are all grateful that First Baptist was willing to help them out in their time of need.

"And thank God we were able to get in touch with Camp Harlow, because they saved us," O'Neil said. "There are no hotel rooms in Eugene, and all the sudden now -- this has been just a gift from God for us to be here."

O'Neil said they could be at Camp Harlow for another four to seven days, depending on how long it takes to get power and water restored out in McKenzie River.

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