Sports Perf. - Armenia

  • Wrapping It Up

    Section: Sports Perf.

    Sports Performance - Armenia Project

    Now that the team is back on American soil and has had a couple days to readjust to our respective time zones, I finally have time to recap the last bit of our tour.

    On our last day (Saturday) in Armenia we had the opportunity to visit the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan. The experience was something that is hard to put into words, even days after visiting. It was utterly heart-wrenching to read about and see the tyranny the Armenians went through in the early 1900s. 

    After a somber morning and a visit to a street market for some souvenirs, we headed over to Florence a restaurant alongside a river. At this dinner we invited the administration and faculty from the Kinesiology Institute as well as the New Life Armenia staff. This was the culmination of our mission for the trip. To plant the seeds at the Kinesiology Institute and open the door for the NLA staff to come in and follow-up on the relationships we had built. By using our education and knowledge in the field of sports performance we were able to open the door at the Institute for future Sports Performance Tours and a way for NLA to come in. The Rector (headmaster) and the head of NLA sat across from each other at dinner and had wonderful conversation throughout the dinner. Halfway through the dinner, Varden (the head of NLA) looked at Paul and said "this is AWESOME" because of the openness the Rector showed towards NLA's presence at the Institute. Previously, no missions minded organization or Christian establishment was allowed in the Institute. Now the Rector welcomes NLA's presence and is encouraging students and faculty to take part in the English classes NLA offers. At the English classes, NLA presents The Gospel.

     

    Armenians like food. They also like dancing.

    Often times, when Christians go on short-term missions they think they are going to change the world by building a house in Africa in 2 weeks and bring hundreds of people to Christ. Reality is that isn't realistic. Very often, short-term missions is more about seed-planting than actually being able to watch the harvest come in. This was the first tour I have been on where the emphasis was on seed-planting. But what a joy to be planting seeds that are already reaping a harvest! The Rector insisted we come back in the fall and asked if we could take bi-annual trips. He also suggested sending Armenian students to America in the future! Praise God for all the work being done in the hearts of the administration at the Kinesiology Institute. As well as the persistent praying of the NLA staff. It was a joy and privilege to come and serve alongside the New Life Armenia staff. 

    Until Next Time,


    - Camille A.

    #GOAIAUSA     #AthleticTrainers

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  • The Last Day at the Institute!

    Section: Sports Perf.

    Sports Performance - Armenia Project

    Friday, March 18th. 

    Have you ever taken time in your morning just to meditate on the awesomeness of God? Our team was able to take part in that today. Our team Bible study discussed how we deal with suffering and how God uses pain to refine us (1 Peter 1:6-7). After that, we drove to an overlook of Mt. Ararat. How beautifully breathtaking is this mountain?! And to think that God handcrafted this majestic mountain.

    Today was bittersweet because it brought the final day of the conference at the Physical Institute. This tour has been incredibly successful at furthering the ministry at the Physical Institute. Building stronger relationships than ever with the Dean and Rector. Between afternoon lectures we have coffee breaks, taking this time to build more relationships with faculty and students. Because I (Camille) neglected to gather stories from other team members before they went to sleep, I shall share a personal story with y'all...

    This beautiful girl is Marina. She is a refugee from Syria. Her family relocated to Armenia after they were denied entrance into the US. I noticed her on Tuesday during our first lab session with the students. Something about her seemed very familiar. Turns out she's the Syrian twin of a good friend of mine from college! She continued to come to our student sessions throughout the week and quickly struck up conversation with me. When she first told me about Syria she choked back tears. But her family has settled in nicely here in Yerevan. I found out yesterday that she is a Christian and attends church weekly! Today I introduced her to Tigran. Part of our mission at the Institute is to identify Christians and connect them with Tigran and the New Life Armenia (NLA) ministry. At first she was very hesitant to meet Tigran, but he came over and told her about the English Classes they offer at NLA. Her eyes lit up and she immediately wanted to know more. She is now very excited to join the classes and learn more about English and get connected at NLA. Praise God for the way He has been breaking down walls and building bridges during this week at the Institute!

    Prior to coming on the tour, there was some concern with the team only having one female (myself, obviously). Today, I took a second to realize that a majority of the faculty are women. A majority of the students also seem to be female. A handful of female students opened up with me the last couple days and took particular interest in my knowledge and understanding of Athletic Training. I am overjoyed that God was able to use my presence to connect with these women that might not have felt comfortable opening up otherwise! On the drive back to the hotel tonight I chuckled thinking about how we try to make plans and have ideas about what we think is best. When really, God's plan is so much greater than anything we could ever imagine. Even something as small as being concerned with one female on the team, and that turning out to be a blessing! 

    Before leaving the Institute our team sat down with the Rector and Dean. They shared their gratitude for our presence at the Institute this week and in years past. They also seemed excited to continue with this partnership. Bringing an AIA team back to Armenia and hopefully soon sending students from the Physical Institute to America for a visit! The Lord has truly opened new doors of ministry this week!

    Dr. Phil's One-Liners

    Uncle Si wanted his picture taken with "Pulpy" his drink of choice for lunch. Also, I will leave you with this quote from him today.

    When talking about his role after getting married...

    "All I have to do is listen to the voices in my wife's head"

    - Camille for the Team

    #GOAIAUSA     #AthleticTrainers

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  • Building Bridges!

    Section: Sports Perf.

    Sports Performance - Armenia Project

    Thursday, March 17th was another day where we sought to build bridges.

    First with one another and then with the faculty and students at the Physical Institute. Several Sport Doctors from the Armenian Olympic Committee also came to our conference today as well.  The team has come together very well with lots of laughter. We really enjoy one another and the team has embraced Tigran as he has hosted us daily from morning to night. It has been great for me to see old friends and make new ones but it is even more joyful to see this team build bridges with the New Life Armenia staff so quickly. 

    During today's Bible Study time we discussed one of AIA's Principles. The Principles are the gospel applied to sport, experienced through sport and spoken in the language of sport. Our time today took us to the third of the five Principles titled, "Holy Sweat, Wholly Surrender". This Principle asks the question, "How do I grow?"  The theme teaches us to train ourselves spiritually by allowing the Spirit of God and the Word of God to transform our lives and sport.  Each morning we have met for an hour of team Bible Study and 30 minutes of sharing our life stories with one another. These times have helped to build bridges within our team as we discuss God's Word and pray for one another. 

    Another drive down from the mountains near Tsakhkadzor where we are staying into the capital city of Yerevan took us to the Physical Institute the third day of our conference. We listened to an excellent lecture from one of their graduate students, then Dr. Phil engaged the audience with a talk on exercising in the heat. Despite the 'colder than we planned for' weather we are experiencing here this week, Armenians have to adapt to extremely hot temperatures in the summer. There were lots of questions for Dr. Phil about his research, some even from our our team.

    After lunch Gary and Nick took over the stage delivering talks on ankle and foot injuries (Gary) and corrective exercises (Nick). In between these talks Gary, Nick and Camille led some practical labs on examining the ankle. The crowds of doctors, professors and students pressing in around them testified to the interest of the Armenians in these subjects. The practical teaching times allow us to engage and build bridges with the people in a personal way. The presence of the Olympic Committee Sports Doctors was an answer to prayer and we hope it opens another door of ministry for Tigran and Lusine. Please join us in prayer that through these bridges we will help to build AIA's ministry in Armenia. 

    Tonight at dinner we Tigran and Lusine shared their heritage, heroes, highlights, heartaches and hopes. This is how we get to know each other during the tour. We call it the 5 H's. We also got to hear the wonderful story of how God brought them together as a couple. God continues to build bridges here between our team, our hosts and our friends at the Physical Insititute. Please join us in praying that we finish strong over the next two days before we travel home on Sunday. 

    Paul. N.

    Dr. Phil's One-Liners: While Camille took a break from writing the Blog tonight, she did supply me with another one of Dr. Phil's one-liners...

    Dr. Phil to Camille... "You're kind of like that older sister I never had."  I'll let you figure out their age differenced from the picture below.

    - Camille for the Team

    #GOAIAUSA     #AthleticTrainers

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