That's a Wrap

With Xenia in our rear-view mirrors, a time of reflection is needed to remember the events and effects of the summer. How fortunate to have 13 peers to do life with, learn from, grow in knowledge of the Lord with, encourage, and cultivate deep friendships with. So many thoughts are present – thoughts of thankfulness, joy, sadness, anticipation, expectation, and fullness. We leave this summer with a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s love, kindness, provision, strength, glory, and holiness, a greater appreciation for God’s work through sport, a deeper understanding of the power found in community. Memories abound and friendships for a lifetime are a highlight of nine weeks spent in Xenia, Ohio. The challenges we faced personally this summer were met with open arms, wisdom, and support from brothers and sisters in Christ, known by God to become a family.

We wrapped the final weeks up with a few more get-togethers and an outreach to the homeless in Cincinnati, having conversations and praying with them. It was a needed time of learning more about them and taking time to understand their situation. We were all blessed by one interaction in particular. We had split up into groups around the downtown area and planned on meeting at a local restaurant for supper in the early evening. Shortly before meeting for the meal and debriefing, we met a man who greeted us, saying “The Spirit is with you. I can tell.” This, of course, sparked a conversation and we were able to talk about what he was dealing with in his life right then. He asked for prayer and we were able to buy a bus ticket for him to see a family member who was sick. When all of us gathered together for the meal, we discovered other groups had talked with this man and prayed with him, each group trying to figure out a way to give a tangible gift in the form of a ticket. The group before ours had run into different stores and even the police station, asking if they could use a printer to print a ticket. After not being able to produce a ticket, the man reassured the group that God would provide. Little did we know that God would fulfill that man’s statement of faith through us within 20 minutes. This is not of ourselves- one of the members of our group simply followed God’s prompting and bought a ticket on the spot. To some, it probably sounds strange. Why buy a ticket for someone you just met when you don’t know if they’re telling the truth? But whether or not the story was true- whether or not the ticket was actually used-is of no relevance to us. In James, it is written, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” We are commanded to give physical evidence of our faith. In this instance, physical evidence came in the form of a bus ticket.

Our last gathering as a full group was breakfast at Chick-fil-A, where we were able to wrap up some last-minute responsibilities and share prayer requests going into the school year. Our final week in the office ended with a baseball game, exit interviews, and conversations with our supervisors about our development this summer. With one intern already home for a family commitment, we officially ended our time together with a farewell banquet, a celebratory event centered around encouragement – from our supervisors, for our supervisors, and for each other. The goodbyes were drawn out even longer, as Saturday morning found us together for breakfast before heading out. Hugs multiplied and thank yous resounded in Coffee Hub, a local place where we had found much-needed caffeine and relaxation throughout the summer.

“Though our internship with AIA is complete and we don’t know if we will all be together in one place again until heaven, the work and the investment that started in Ohio is just the beginning. The joy and intentionality we experienced this summer is only a small piece of what the Lord has planned for us. Being able to see others on fire for the Lord has fanned our small flames and inspired us to begin to catch fire. No matter where the Lord calls us after this summer, this journey has been one to remember. Xenia will always have a special place in our hearts and this summer will always be a continual connection point between the interns. This summer will be looked back on as a time of growth and huge influence on our faith walks. This summer will be a reminder of just how good God is and how great He’ll move when you give him your time.” -Ali and Josiah

Written by Heather, X Project intern

South Africa Project Begins

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This blog was originally posted on our AIA team pages

We have offically made it to South Africa and it is safe to say that God is already doing an amazing work in our team. It has been extremely different for each one of us, but we already know that it is going to be incredible for each one of us indivdually, not only in our relationship with God, but with each other. We would like to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves.

I’m Delelany, one of the athletic training students on the team. Day one started much earlier than the rest of my teammates for this California Girl. Despite two long exhaustuve days of travel, I had the opportunity to spend some serious alone quiet time with God. I had the chance to ask God and prayer for the time in South Africia, that he would reveal to me what he had inteneded for me to learn on this trip. I also was extremely excited to serve in a capacity beyond myself a world away.

I’m Callie, the other athletic training student on this trip. Athletes in Action has already played a part in my family’s story and  I can’t believe that i get to be part of this opportunity. Our first full day in South Africa allowed us to experience some of the culture and history of this city and nation. We started our day at the District 6 Museum. This area of Capetown was a specific area that was severly impacted by Apartheid; this was a decision by the goverment to seperate the whites, blacks, colors and indians, It is very similiar to our segeration in the United States. Our tour guide Noor lived in District 6 during this time and was forcibily removed from his home and is patiently awaiting his return to District 6. He has helped build the museum with his own picutres. He shared his own personal story and showed  us a glimpse into his life. It impacted all of us. He shared a story of when his son was young and needed to use the restroom, however the only available restroom was one “for whites only.” Unfortunately, he had to hold it until he couldn’t any longer and use the street. I had to use the restroom tonight, however in the middle of a team debriefing, I did not want to be disruptive and so I held it and waited for over an hour and a half. It was painful and uncomfortable, but in those moments I had a new appreciation for the story Noor shared and I truly began to understand that this was something I have never had to or will never have to experience in the comfort of my life back home, It has been prespective shifting.

I’m Katie and I’m the other Certified Athletic Trainer rounding out the team. Our second full day here has not only allowed us to become further aquainted with the culture here in South Africa from the local staff in particular, but this spurred a conversation that allowed our whole team to grow closer as we prepare for the athletes’ arrival tomorrow. We were real and honest and talked about how much this trip will not only impact us to do something here in Cape Town, but also back home. If there is one thing we can appreciate is that the racial tensions we see prevalent here, are also present back home. It is clear that God intends for us to not just change Cape Town, but to take what we learn and change our world for the better both near and far. As I write this , the laughter of my fellow teammates is erupting from a riviting game of “signs” and it is clear that we will be leaving here with new prespectives and a heart that hurts for our hurting and broken brothers and sisters, but friendships to last a lifetme.

We can’t wait to fill you in on the rest of the story that God is writing, but for now to be continued….

Provision

I have learned many things this summer but one thing I’ve learned that continues to be an ongoing theme is God’s provision. A year ago I knew I would need an Athletic Training internship to graduate, so I began looking. I had intentions of going back to my hometown and working at a division two school to fulfill program requirements. However, those plans fell through nine months ago and I was back to square one in searching for an internship. Within the same week, a good friend of mine mentioned a previous dream I had shared with her two years past. The dream was to do a summer mission with Cru. This lead to me researching their opportunities and eventually stumbling across X-Project, which was ideal.

After a phone conference with my now supervisor, my program directors gave me the green light. I applied, had two interviews, and two months later received an email confirming my spot.

The months leading up to the project were very hectic as I was trying to wrap up the semester on top of raising support. Despite getting sick and starting support raising late, God’s plan for me prevailed. In less than three months, my entire support was raised. I was also lucky enough to meet one of the other interns on the trip prior to coming as our schools were 15 minutes away from each other. Leading up to our coffee date, mutual friends spoke highly of one another, which calmed my nerves and allowed me to have at least one familiar face the first day in Ohio.

God also opened doors for spiritual conversations through this experience. My professors started incorporating the topic of faith into my simulations and I was able to start a conversation with a family member with different views on spirituality. In that conversation, I was able to explain what I would be doing this summer and share a little bit of my heart with her. Though I was nervous of support raising, God used it to open many doors and rely on his faithfulness. Someone once told me that if it’s God’s will then it’s God’s bill. Never did that statement become so real to me than in the months leading up to my project. Coming into this summer I had hoped to learn how to combine my major and my faith. Every experience has provided a better picture of what it looks like to bring God into the sports performance field.

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to witness and help others combine their sport and ministry through the various camps that AIA has put on. I’ve gotten to visit different businesses that welcome spiritual conversations and incorporate faith into their training/rehab. This led me to pray with a woman while shadowing at a physical therapy clinic. One of my main responsibilities is working with the Xenia Scouts baseball team and it’s been amazing to watch them pray before games and use their sport as a platform to witness to the other teams over a meal after the game.

The experiences have helped me see how God works not only in this field, but also in those I have gotten to work with. The preceptors I’ve had the privilege to work with are some of the most intelligent and servant-hearted people I have ever met. They’ve shown me what it looks like to give grace in every moment and how to care for athletes not only physically, but also holistically, making sure to take the psychological, social and spiritual factors into consideration as well.

Though this summer started off as a means of meeting a graduation requirement, it has become so much more than that for me. He has shown me ways to bring him into every part of my life, not just my work. He’s given me resources to keep growing. He’s provided an amazing group of people to work with this summer who inspire and challenge me daily. And He’s given himself completely that I may love and serve in whatever capacity he calls me to.

Written by Ali, X Project Intern

Ministry in the Mountains

St Moritz, Switzerland is a mountain village sitting at 6000 feet which is relaxed and friendly, making it an ideal location for training and focusing. World Class athletes from around the world train here each year.

AIA Switzerland serves this unique group by assisting them to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. They provide physiotherapy and massage therapy services, hosts discussions on balancing life and sport, and holds devotional groups to share insights on applying biblical truth to everyday issues.

Our team provides support for this mission by co-leading the devotions and discussions, training alongside the other athletes, bringing a physiotherapist, and seeking to begin and renew friendships.

We are looking forward to growing ourselves as we connect with athletes from around the globe.

Tim, on behalf of the team

This mission has developed over the past few years by building the reputation of Athletes in Action as a group which serves the needs of athletes well. The openness and trust of our hosts and of AIA in general has grown stronger. Conversations around the track, and village have become more numerous and more open. The participation in the discussions has increased as well over the past couple years. We are excited to see the response to the track side devotions this summer.