Sam Shipley returns to City College from Mormon mission

Dan Nelson, Dan Nelson, and Dan Nelson

Doing everything from chopping off chicken heads to mowing laws, Samuel Shipley spent two years serving his Lord in rural Texas.

Shipley returned to the City College Vaqueros’ football team after his absence in which he embarked on a Mormon mission as a freshman in 2007.

“Basically, we walk around all day and we ask people if we can help them with anything,” Shipley said.

The hard-hitting linebacker joined the football team in the fall of 2006. Shipley left for McAllen, Texas the following semester.

Shipley spent those years at the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border, as a missionary studying Mormon scripture and spreading the message of Jesus Christ to those around him.

“One of the most powerful days was a month before I came home, it was probably 115 degrees, and with the life as a missionary sometimes people are kind of hostile towards you,” Shipley said.

Most people wouldn’t abandon the temperate climate of Santa Barbara for the sweltering heat of southern Texas, but Shipley had other priorities.

“It was just one of those days when nobody was interested, and I can remember the sun was just beating down on me,” he said. “But just in that moment I knew I was doing exactly what the Lord wanted me to do.”

Shipley’s siblings were also missionaries. Sam’s three older brothers have traveled to Japan, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic for their missions. His older sister has also participated in a Mormon mission program for women.

The missions are completely voluntary and the destination is a surprise. Shipley said prospective missionaries don’t find out until they receive a confirmation letter from church headquarters.

Shipley knew no one when he first arrived in McAllen before he was paired up with a companion, a fellow missionary.

Shipley has plugged his experiences as a missionary straight onto the football field. Last week’s loss against Hancock would have been harder had he not learned how to roll with the punches, he said.

“I think the biggest thing you learn is dealing with adversity and learning to have a short memory,” Shipley said. “It’s something I’ve noticed that’s been a big difference when I play.”

Shipley’s teammates have lauded his work ethic and team motivation.

“On the field he’s a hard hitter,” said sophomore offensive lineman Chris Anderson. “All of us look up to him as our leader.”

But his responsibilities don’t end there.

“Off the field, he’s just as dedicated and hard working as he is on the field,” Anderson said.

Shipley is “big on family,” he spends most of his time with his brothers and nieces, as well as his wife Kaisey, who is expecting their first child.

“Our son is due any day now,” he said smiling.

Shipley is considering transferring to either Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah or the University of Utah after finishing at City College.