AIA Mission's Voice

  • Alumni Spotlight

    Section: Basketball

    Team Notes ( Non- Project): AIA Basketball

    Kenya 2017

    Eric played for Concordia University Wisconsin

     

    1. How did you learn about the Kenya tour?

     The first time I learned about AIA in general was from two of my college coaches. We were on a road trip and they asked me if a tour was something I would be interested in going. It seemed like a great opportunity so I said yes and they really worked out getting me connected with James Bolin. Once I was in contact with James, I learned more about the details of the tour and the great things that would come with it.

    2. What was your initial mindset before attending?

    I was nervous for a lot of different reasons. Basketball wise I was nervous because I was coming from a much smaller school than everyone else so I wasn't sure I would fit in. Also, I was nervous because you don't know what to expect. You meet your team in Ohio and practice for a couple days and then you literally fly across the world with guys you've never met. Before the tour, I had never travelled internationally so that was nerve-wracking, but it was amazing to see how God can bring strangers together to build something special. 

     

    3. What is one thing you learned from being a part of the tour? 

    There is so much that I learned from being a part of the AIA tour it's hard to pick one. I would say that I learned how valuable relationships are. I still talk to my teammates and coaches from the tour and we all have a bond for the rest of our lives. I even keep in contact with some of the Kenyans I met while we were over there. So learning how important relationships are was one of the many lessons I took with me. Along with that, I learned how to be comfortable with my faith. Before the tour, I never really shared my testimony to a group of people, I honestly didn't really know what my testimony was. I gained a lot of confidence with my personal faith when I saw that there were other athletes who loved both basketball and the Lord and were comfortable being a Christian athlete. 

     4. Was there anything you were surprised on learning about yourself while attending?

    I was surprised at how well I clicked with everyone on the trip. Before we were all strangers, had different experiences and came from different backgrounds. I thought we would only relate through basketball and God, but it was much more than that. We really learned about one another and I found out that I was just like a lot of the people on the tour which was something that surprised me.

     5. What is your current profession?

    Currently I am playing professional basketball in Ireland.

    6. How has God played a role in your life to date?

    God has played a major role in my life to date because I wouldn't be here without Him. My faith has brought me places I never would have imagined and I am very grateful to God for blessing me. Now that I live in Ireland, I have a great opportunity to continue to build my relationship with Christ along with spreading the Gospel to another part of the world. 

     7. What would you say to someone considering tour?

    I would say go for it with an open mind. At first it seems like everything is very daunting and scary, but just be open to the opportunity to let God work through you. Once I put away my own expectations and just let it happen, God really took over and made my experience one I will never forget. Everyone I have talked to who has been on a tour said it was life changing and for me, that couldn't be more true. I would go on another tour in a heart beat. 

    8. Fun story that happened on tour?

     There are so many great stories that happened during the tour it's hard to choose. We were on the safari near the end of our tour. We were at Nakuru National Park and were up on a cliff and some monkeys had come up on the railing. Then all of a sudden one took off and jumped right into one of our vans looking for some food and when it found nothing, it jumped right back out. I had never seen anything like it. I'll be honest, I got scared and ran away a little bit so I didn't see the whole thing happen, but it was a hilarious moment for us all. 

    Kelly

  • Alumni Spotlight

    Section: Basketball

    Team Notes ( Non- Project): AIA Basketball

    Guatemala  2014

      Ashley is a Erskine College graduate.

        1. How did you Learn about AIA Tour?

        College roommate who also attended the same trip.

        2. What was your initial reaction/mindset before attending?

      I was excited to learn how to use basketball as a platform to share the Gospel, so I could do so the remainder of my college basketball career.

        3. What is one thing you learned from being a part of the AIA tour? 

     One thing I learned was that my identity is in Christ and not my performance or the opinions of others. The only thing that matters is that Jesus died     for my sins and now God sees me as righteous and pure and I am forgiven! I am His daughter. That is my identity. My identity is not in being a good basketball player, but being a daughter loved by the Most High. My performance can never change that or make Him love me more or less. This is the only solid place to find my identity. 

        4. Was there anything you were surprised on learning about yourself while attending?

      I learned that I struggled with fear of failure and trying to be perfect. This comes from the root of pride and trying to be faultless in front of others. I was in bondage and didn’t even realize it. During the training before the trip, I learned that I struggled with this and that I could be free by finding my identity in Christ and not the opinions of others. 

        5. What is your current profession?

      I am currently a dental student at UNC Chapel Hill studying to be a dentist. I hope to one day incorporate missions into my practice and use dentistry as a platform to share the Gospel just as AIA taught me to use basketball to share the love of Jesus. 

        6. How has God played a role in your life to date?

      God has given me hope and a purpose in life. Through my relationship with Him, I can celebrate the peaks and have hope in the valleys. In everything I do I strive to bring glory to His name, whether that be through sports, school, or anything!

        7. Fun story that happen on tour?

      While in Guatemala, we traveled to 9 different cities. In each place we would put on a clinic for kids during the day and then play against a local girls team at night. One night we played against a team and absolutely blew them out. After the game one of our players shared her testimony and a few of the other players surrendered their lives to Christ. We went back to the hotel and went to sleep. We were excited to sleep in a little the next morning. So we thought. At about 5:00 in the morning we were awoken by loud blasts that sounded like gunshots.

      The “gunshots” were accompanied by blasting Spanish music. We thought someone was coming to kill us because we were Americans, Christians, or because we beat the local team so bad the night before. I was staying with Kelsey, the trip director, and she was going to attempt to leave the room to check on everyone amidst the "shots". I yelled at her to stay in the room or else the people would come in and get us. Some of our teammates were even huddled under the window praying that we wouldn’t die that night in Guatemala. After a while, the music was cut off and the loud bangs stopped. We went outside and saw an abandoned car (where the music was being played from) and fireworks everywhere on the ground. We later learned that in Guatemala on someone’s birthday, they wake them up with fireworks and Spanish music really early in the morning. We learned that one of the hotel workers was staying above us and it was her birthday. So if you are ever in Guatemala and think you are about to die at 5:00 in the morning, don’t panic, it is probably just someone’s birthday. 

        8. What would you say to someone considering an AIA tour?

      I would highly recommend going! My trip with AIA was one of the greatest trips of my life and I would go on another one in a heartbeat if I could!

    Kelly

  • Reflections from Kenya

    Section: Golf

    2017 Teams: Golf Kenya 2018

    Golf - Kenya

    It's hard to believe the team has been home from Kenya for over two weeks. As a team we would like to share with everyone our final reflections, take-aways, and highlights from our twelve day journey. Enjoy!
    Dean writes,
    "Two weeks back from our Kenya trip and I'm all ready to go back again. While I have been wrapping up the organizational and financial details from the trip, and have submitted a summary of this year's events and recommendations for next year, I've also had time to debrief with others and reflect on the trip in my quiet time. Through that, I have landed on 3 action steps to try and incorporate in my walk with Christ:
    1. To reflect more often on the wonderful diversity of color and culture that is a part of God's kingdom on earth now, and will be in heaven. Our two fantastic Sunday church worship and ministry experiences reinforced that with me;
    2. To look forward to discipling from a distance one of the young people we spent time with at the Kariabungi Church,  who had indicated an interest in growing deeper in their spiritual life - and asking me to be their "Paul;"
    3. To pray daily for more opportunities to serve the people of Kenya - for a team(s) from St. Christopher Academy to come to AIA for training, for our AIA Basketball Team's trip there this summer, and for our AIA Golf Tour next year!"
     
    These words from Betty,
    "Each of my 3 trips to Kenya have been distinctive. This one prompted thoughts in a totally new direction.
    Children - I was intrigued by the children we observed in church on our first Sunday; they were so "well behaved." We sat near youngsters as young as 4 or 5 and they all sat quietly throughout the pastor's message. The following week, I joined a very large children's Sunday School class in a very small room, and again, there was a deference to the teacher and an understanding of how to be attentive. I believe there is a great deal to learn about parenting and developing character from our Kenyan brothers and sisters.
    On this trip we interacted with Kenyans in every station in life, from very destitute to very successful and accomplished. As the song says, "people need the Lord." Regardless of our accompishments or resources, we all need a relationship with Jesus.....whether in Kenya or the USA.
    On a final note, I loved the interaction with our team. Being the mother of 2 girls, it was great fun being around our team that included 3 great young men who love the Lord and are great examples of lives commited to Christ!"
    Jim says,
    “This was my 5th Mission Trip abroad, my 2nd trip to Kenya, and my 1st AIA Mission encounter. As an avid golfer, I must admit I was curious about how I would feel regarding GOLF as a Mission Field “sacrifice” ... since I love Golf in the first place!
    However, the Lord blessed me through:
    1) renewing my soul via daily Bible study
    2) sharing Christian business principals
    3) helping Kenya golfers improve their swing
    4) remembering how God has molded my life
    5) rekindling past Kenyan relationships
    6) “seeing” the results of past investments
    7) loving on my team mates during the week
    8) gaining new brothers & sister in Christ
    9) rooming with a Christian athlete (Junior)
    10) being loved by Kenyan Christians
    I highly recommend this experience. Just say YES .... you’ll be glad you did!”
    Susie's final thoughts,
    "Even though my golf is not as good as when I was ranked tenth in the U.S. and playing golf for the University of Arizona, I was still able to use my skills and knowledge to further the gospel of Jesus Christ by reaching people that would otherwise go unreached. This was very fulfilling for me. The leadership responsibilities I had on this trip also helped me to grow in my confidence and personal development."
    Daniel concludes,
    "This was my first mission trip ever and I'm so glad it was to Kenya with AIA. I had only heard about mission trips so I was very curious how this one would play out. I loved that I was able to use my two loves, God and Golf, to share the gospel. While I was there I was able to focus on how God has lead me to this mission trip and just how blessed I was to be experiencing a different part of this world. The Lord did some amazing things in me while I was there like allowing me to grow closer to him through our daily Bible Studies that would get us in the right mind set for the days activities. I was able to share my testimony with complete strangers and tie it into the game of golf. I was also able to help the local Kenyans improve the swings but also provide safe spiritual conversations with them. I meet so many fun, loving, happy and passionate people while I was there. My team was absolutely amazing and definitely made the whole experience so much better. A lot of us had never met before and all of our personality just blended so while together. My best memory was for our time in the slum Kariobangi were I gave my testimony twice. The second time it was during the church service. After the service was over everyone broke into small group and all the youth of the church showed praise for my testimony not because it was amazing story but because of how open, honest, and venerable I was. The Kenyan people of Kariobangi were so appreciative to us. I highly recommend this trip and experience to everyone."
     

    ~ Jacob for the Team

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