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!