AIA Mission's Voice

  • From Ohio to Thailand and Back!

    Section: Volleyball

    2017 Teams: Volleyball - Thailand

    Volleyball - Thailand

      It has been ELEVEN days since the THAIeam returned. I went to go pick up those who flew into the Columbus airport on the 12th and loved seeing them sporting patterned elephant pants and smiles despite the 36 hours of travel they just endured. They adventured through Thailand for 16 days, following God in every gym and conversation. God moved people to say yes to Him. God worked within the team. They grew, they pressed in, asked the hard questions, pushed through the language barrier and trusted God.

    In Matthew 25, the team learned, on tour, about how God asks us to invest our talents. He doesn't want us to hide or bury them. He wants us to invest them, use them to make a profit, to impact His Kingdom. All 21 people on this team intentionally did just that for 22 days together! Something I know they will be doing the rest of their lives, wherever they are. But I imagine in this moment the Lord is well pleased with their surrender and faithfulness to Him in joining Him in what He is doing in Thailand. I believe in this moment He is saying to them, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." (Mt 25:21)

      The group message that the team is in has buzzed on day after day, since they returned, with prayer requests, praises, inside jokes and more. It is clear that they really dove into their family THAIme together and have bonded deeply as brothers and sisters in Jesus. A bond that won't just last a lifetime, it will last into eternity!

    Their THAIme together has concluded, for now. But what a THAIme it was. 

    We pray, and please pray with us, that God would cover and lift up our AMAZING in country staff, Sao and Fai. That He would bless their ministries, their walks with Him and that He would guide them in their follow up with the contacts and decisions for Christ that were made while the team was there with them. 

    And we, also, pray for the team, that God would continue to fuel their fire for Him, that He would guide them in the mission fields He has placed them in long term and that He would protect and cause their faith to flourish more and more. 

    Thank you for journeying with us and for your faithful prayers.

    For the team,

    Ashley

    #GoAIAUSA #Volleyball #Thailand #FamilyTHAIS

    Read more of this year's blog: Volleyball - Thailand 2017

    Read last year's blog: Volleyball - Thailand 2016

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  • Extra Innings Episode 03

    Section: Section, X Project

    2017 Teams: X Project - Ohio

    X Project - Ohio

    Lexey M.

    Her smile is contagious as her eyes beam with joy when she laughs. Lexey M. is a shy person at first, but once you get her to open up, she has a bubbly personality with a precious, sincere heart.

    Growing up in Birmingham, Ala., Lexey was the only one of her siblings to attend a public school, which she says prepared her for what to expect when she enrolled at Mississippi College. As a junior studying public relations, Lexey has a passion for promoting and improving nonprofit businesses. Having been involved with sports in high school, she loves the aspect of working for and with other teams.

    Needing an internship for college credit, Lexey began searching in hopes of finding one to fulfill all her needs with one of them being ministry. Then when an internship with Athletes in Action came along, Lexey couldn’t keep it off her mind.

    After graduation, Lexey has a goal of starting her own nonprofit for women in her hometown who have struggled to get on their feet. She says there’s a need for a home in the City of Birmingham for women dealing with real-life issues, abuse, and prostitution. She hopes to meet that need and provide a solution.

    Lexey’s ability to adapt and connect with others on the X Project has proven essential to the group of interns this year as they grow together and help support one another in every aspect of AIA. Her hopes of becoming more of an encourager while growing in her faith and professional life by the end of the summer surely won’t be an issue for this kind-hearted, driven woman.

    #GOAIAUSA  #AIAXP17  #ExtraInnings

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  • It's Not About You

    Section: Urban Project

    2017 Teams: Urban Project - Los Angeles

    Urban Project - Los Angeles - 2017

    By: Caitlin C. (Washington University in St. Louis - Track & Field)

    “It’s not about you.”

    I feel like I’ve been hearing this so much at Urban Project lately, and I praise God for it because it’s exactly what I need.

    It really started last week on Thursday when we did "The Starting Line" exercise. Our project leader, Michael Sylvester, had us all come outside and stand shoulder-to-shoulder across the back of the parking lot. Then he said, “If you were raised in a home with both parents, take twelve steps forward.” He proceeded to read statements that asked us to take steps forward in acknowledgement of our privilege. Once all of the statements had been read, the disparities in the privileges that have been experienced within our group were obvious. We were then asked to stand there in our respective positions and talk about our experiences with privilege, or lack thereof. It was emotional, and it caused what I would consider to be the first real conflict we have had as a group.

    I’ll be honest as say that conflict makes me uncomfortable. When people are upset, my natural reaction is to retreat. We’ve been learning at Urban Project, however, that ignoring conflict doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it often makes things worse. So when we were standing out in the parking lot and yelling back and forth, I did my best to lean in instead of running away—and it was hard. I leaned in, but I quickly found myself facing another temptation: to make it all about me. I wanted to defend myself and to explain why my life wasn’t as easy as my position in the front made it seem. I wanted to rush in and ask what I could do to resolve the injustices experienced by the people standing in the back. I wanted to make it all about what I have and what I can do. But God showed me that this isn’t the right response either.

    I’ve started to realize that in the midst of reconciliation, when someone shares something about their experiences or their perspective, we are presented with a choice to either step towards them or to step back. To take a step towards is to ask the person to share more, and then to recognize that they have the freedom to choose whether or not they will do so. To step back is to take whatever someone has just shared and to make it about oneself. I’m starting to learn that when we give in to the temptation to get defensive or demand that someone share more so that we can deepen our own understanding, that is a step back. For so long, I have been quick to explain why I am not a part of the problem or to offer solutions. In my pursuit of instant gratification, I have been making things all about me. I have been learning at Urban Project that reconciliation requires that we take steps towards one another. It requires a lot of patience and humility to hear one another and to actually listen, but it’s the only way that walls will eventually come down and wounds will begin to heal.

    I believe that God has been teaching us all what a godly pursuit of reconciliation looks like. The Starting Line helped me to see that it requires us to confront the tendency to make it all about oneself. Then we are able to step towards one another in faith while inviting the Holy Spirit into the broken places so that, by God’s grace alone, we may experience real understanding and reconciliation.

    #GOAIAUSA     #withjusticeforall      # upla17

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