AIA Mission's Voice

  • Speaking the Same Language (More than English)

    Section: Sports Perf.

    2017 Teams: Sports Perf. - South Africa

    Sports Performance - South Africa

    So I was unanimously chosen to write this post because of my excitedment throughout our time at University of Cape Town (UCT) on Tuesday. Our dear friend Zoe, who we met during the Ultimate Training Camp last week, is a student at UCT in the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA). She is currently completing her honors courses, which in the States would be in between a bachelor's and master's degrees. The SSISA is the premier sports science and research facility in South Africa. There is groundbreaking, international research being done and applied here, and Zoe was able to spend almost 3 hours taking our sports medicine team to the various SSISA departments and labs.

    We visited the biokinetics labs, sleep study lab, toured the elite gym, hyperchambers, neuro clinic, and much more! We intereacted with several staff members in their respective areas. Each was so welcoming as we dropped in as curious Americans. They showed us around their lab, gave us a summary of the work they are doing, and answered our questions. One SSISA member even showed us the biking equipment and let us ride the eccentric bikes! I was so impressed by the organization, integration of technology & research, and resources available to sports science at SSISA. I look forward to the day where I can work in a similar environment.

    The interesting thing about a group of athletic trainers visiting South Africa is being able to compare our scope of practie to the sports medicine model in South Africa. Traditionally, we have compared our profession to physiotherapists or physios. What we realized on this trip, after talking to athletes & visiting SSISA, is that our scope of practice encompasses several professions in South Africa. The sports medicine healthcare model in South Africa is much more segregated and compartimentalized. The athletic training profession includes the same job descriptions as sport scientists, biokinetics, and physiotherapists. Almost all of the professionals we met yesterday were appreciative of our wide scope of practice and our ability to bring so many skills together to serve athletes. One of the problems that each SSISA professional identified was that the healthcare system is disjointed. They struggle with friction amoungst themselves, arguing over overlapping scopes of practice, and lack of communicatoin about patient/athlete treatment. As a result, admittedly the athlete suffers and does not receive the best quality of care. 

    At one point as we toured SSISA, Dom turned to me, and said, "You're really in your element!" And it was true, you could see it on my face. This is my passion: bringing sports injuries together with science & research. To be able to be in the SSISA learning environment; to be able to communicate back & forth with each expert in his/her respective field about sport, training, injuries, rehabilitation, and difficulties in our fields; to see what the furture of sports science looks like was absolutely incredible! While there are many things we excell at in the States, it was obvious to our team that South Africa was years ahead when it comes to sports science. I am so thankful that I have been in the sports medicine enviornment that I have been at the University of Nevada, because we have been having those conversations, and we truly strive to be research led.  As a result, I felt like I got a lot more out of the tour Tuesday. Because I was familiar with the work being done in each department, I was able to do more than just listen. I understood the big picture and was able to ask pertinent questions. 

    For those of you STILL reading through all my passionate mumbo jumbo, just know that it was a very intellectually stimulating day for all of us! We really enjoyed experiencing this together as a team and looked forward to seeing what Stellenbosch University's athletic department has to show us next!

    Much love,

    - Jess for the team

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  • Extra Innings Episode 18

    Section: X Project

    2017 Teams: 2017 Teams, X Project - Ohio

    X Project - Ohio

    Maya S.

    A contagious laugh and warm smile, Maya S. prepares for her interview as she continues to note that she might mess up a few times when answering the questions. Honest, bubbly, and kind-hearted, Maya knows how to capture an audience when speaking.

    An upcoming senior at Marysville University, Maya plays basketball and is looking forward to being a leader to the younger girls on her team. Not only has she grown in leadership skills this summer, but more importantly in her faith and walk with Christ.

    Daughter to a University of Dayton basketball coach, Maya has always known she wanted to pursue a degree in sports management, following in her father’s footsteps of working with collegiate athletes. Through her parents Maya heard about X Project, and when her family moved to Dayton this summer, the call to join could not have been any more clear that God’s plan was for her to apply for this internship.

    One thing is for certain, Maya S. will always be there to help and support a friend in need after the fall. Observant and selfless, she makes a statement just by the way she treats others. Maya elevates others by using her servant’s heart all while staying true to who she is. She gains respect by being transparent about her past and the events that led her to become the woman she is today.

    Physical injuries while playing basketball could not stop her from chasing her dream of becoming a collegiate athlete. Similarly, her determination to live a life that is holy and set apart cannot be hindered by anything life may throw her way.

    “This has been such an incredible opportunity just to see the relationships you build. You’re in this wonderful community and I’m just so excited to see what It’s going to be like when we all leave from here cause we all plan on keeping in touch.”

    #GOAIAUSA  #AIAXP17 #ExtraInnings

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  • The Bride of Christ

    Section: Sports Perf.

    2017 Teams: Sports Perf. - South Africa

    Sports Performance - South Africa

    As I started out my journey with AIA I had expectations of what a missionary acted liked. And, it seems, many people share the same view that I did. I thought being a missionary meant every waking moment you were talking about Christ. You eat, breathe, and sleep with the name of Jesus constantly on your tongue. I wouldn't have been surprised if missionaries even talked about Christ in their sleep! But the longer I have been in South Africa and the more I have been trained to evangelize my perspective has changed. 

    Being with a body of believers creates a community stronger than any I have ever seen. In less than two weeks the team I have joined in South Africa has become family. We have become so close we even share our milkshakes with each other (you know that's love!). And one of the most important things I have learned from this family is what it truly means to be an evangelist or a missionary. You don't have to be constantly saying "Jesus, Jesus." But you can glorify Him with your actions and intent. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says it best, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." As Christians every aspect of our life has the potential to honor God. Singing off key in a van can give God glory. Eating pizza together can give God glory. Stretching hamstrings and quads can give God glory. It is all about your intent, purpose, and attitude. Are you allowing God to take control of your life? Are you intending for your actions to be for God or for yourself? Is your life your own or His? 

    With this new found knowledge my team and I set out to evangelize at Stellenbosch University and cover the campus with prayer. We began by praying together and asking the Lord to allow us to move aside our pride and weaknesses so that He could move in a mighty way. Afterwards, we broke for lunch and the Lord moved in a mighty way. We decided to use the time we had to eat and play a spiritual conversation game called Soularium. Two students sitting beside our table were invited to join. The game includes pictures of random images and each person is asked a series of questions like, "Which three images most represents your life at this time?" The point of the game is to allow the people playing to open up and share about their life and their spiritual beliefs. As the game progressed, each person opened up more and more and it became visible the students we were talking to were also believers. By the ending of the game it was revealed that one of the students was struggling to find the courage to evangelize and talk about Christ with those around her. This allowed us to pray together for the strength and courage to "...go and make disciples of all nations." Then the other student shared with us that her mother was struggling with a lung disease. We also were allowed the chance to pray for her and her family through this trial. Lastly, we got to plug them into a disciple group that meets Wednesday nights on campus. We were allowed the chance to encourage and minister to children of God through chow mein and a card game. How cool is that!?

    After lunch we continued to cover the campus in prayer by doing a prayer walk. Our group (the athletic trainers) specifically prayed for the women's dorms. It was very eye opening to see that college students struggle with similar issues no matter the culture. Two of the big issues the students, specifically the female students, face is depression and searching for their identity. In America, college students face the same issues. As a college student it is encouraging to know that I can pray for these issues in both South Africa and on my campus. Prayer is not limited to time, space, or country.

    As we finished our prayer walk another missions group performed an interprative dance about the saving power of Christ. It was incredibly encouraging to see we weren't the only people minstering on campus. Apparently, Jesus is working in South Africa this summer!

    The day came to a close with a group workout and dinner. But the thing that stuck out the most during the day was a comment made while playing Soularium. One of the questions asked was, "Which picture most represents your life?" And one of the believers from South Africa joining us for evangelism picked the picture of a bride. This would be normal for an engaged woman to pick but the person who picked it was a twenty year old guy. We asked why he picked that card. He replied, "As part of the Church (the body of believers) I am the bride of Christ and it is amazing to be a part of such a loving relationship." I was in awe. I have never seen a guy take the perspective of a bride when talking about Jesus but the expression of absolute love on his face completely embodied what it means to be a Christian. We are the bride of Christ; therefore, we should cherish our love relationship with Him and proudly brag about our groom. And as our time in South Africa begins to close I pray that I would continue to cherish my love relationship with Christ and proudly brag about Him wherever I go. 

    In Christ's love,

    - Rachel for the team

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