As His Daughter

My time here at X Project thus far has been so influential in many ways. Immersed within an environment centered on Christ, it’s almost as if by interning at Athletes in Action’s headquarters the Lord has confirmed to me that athlete ministry is the career path I should follow after college. On our first day, an AIA staff member gave us interns a tour around headquarters. I remember getting butterflies in my stomach hearing about AIA’s history, mission, and vision, its various projects and ministries around the country, and the impact it has had on the lives of athletes and staff members. The butterflies have only intensified throughout my time here. Having project dinners, spending time in the office with my fellow interns, and helping lead at the high school Ultimate Training Camp has shown me that working for AIA truly is a life goal of mine.  

 However, while submerged in this ministry “bubble” I have still struggled. I consider myself to be a fairly honest individual and I will state that there are aspects of this internship that have not meshed well with my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and struggles with anxiety. For those of you who may not know, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a psychological disorder in which an individual partakes in compulsions to ease anxiety brought by excessive and intrusive thoughts and obsessions. This disorder coupled with stress usually does not mix well and unfortunately, I have not made the greatest decisions because of this conflict in my past.

 I want to say that these issues haven’t affected me here at X Project. I so desperately want to believe that because I anticipate a career in athlete ministry, these problems will not persist. But I am human. Even though I know my transgressions are wiped away because of Christ, I still let unnatural, unholy thoughts and impulses weave their way into my life. They persist even when I have access to the support of loving brothers and sisters in Christ. They persist even when I know that God is reaching out to me, telling me that I am accepted and worthy and loved as His daughter.

The ironic thing is that being surrounded by loving Christian friends is what contributed to my recent struggles. This may appear incredibly confusing- and possibly the opposite of everything I understand about the Christian faith- but let me give you some context.

 

Last week for Independence Day, we interns enjoyed a day off from the office. To celebrate, a few interns organized a classic American cook out. You know, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, eating refreshing and juicy watermelon, and simply enjoying each other’s company. Yet I knew something was off that day. Something within me was saying You don’t feel right, Olivia. Granted, the night before I had a huge anxiety spell but I prayed over it with the Lord. I was anticipating spending time with my friends and relaxing while celebrating good ole American freedom… but my OCD had other plans. Later that afternoon, when we were all hanging around, a wall of anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks and I had to leave the company of my dear friends for an extended time. It’s a scary feeling, not knowing why you feel this way, not knowing why you absolutely must get away from people who could actually help you and pray with you.

 

I won’t go into too much detail. Even though I am comfortable with being vulnerable about my experiences, there’s too much to unpack for one simple blog post. What’s more, everything I felt that afternoon likely cannot be expressed in words. I will say, however, that I spent a good hour in prayer. I read Scripture and knew that I needed His love and grace. What’s more, I needed to spend time with my brothers and sisters who were celebrating the holiday two floors below me. A fellow intern sought me out that afternoon and we conversed about the whole situation; what she said stuck with me. She made the point that right now, I am closer to the Lord than any other time in my life. I am immersed within a ministry bubble so expansive that I have a better understanding of His Spirit. Yet because of this, Satan has been doing everything in his power to pull me from the Lord. He knows that God has already won, but he also knows that my struggles with OCD can break me and make me contradict my own faith. This internship, though beautiful and indicative of God’s grace and truth, is simultaneously challenging me in my struggles with self-worth, self-harm, anxiety, and beliefs about myself as a competent young Christian woman.

 

The good news about this experience is that it doesn’t diminish my desire to come on staff. If anything, I want to join AIA more because I know that this sort of environment will be good for my struggles. When things get rough, I know I’ll have loving Christians surrounding me who will support and love me. Plus, as an added bonus, I potentially have the opportunity to counsel other individuals going through similar situations using Scripture and prayer, aspects of the faith that greatly ease these burdens.     

 

To my fellow interns, I simultaneously thank you and apologize for everything. There have been times this summer where anxiety has obviously made it difficult for me to be around you but you have shown nothing but love and patience. You have shown me what true Christ followers look like, and for that, I thank you.

 

Written by Olivia, XProject Intern

 

Meet The Ladies


Bri is a junior at the University of Colorado and she is returning to serve as Tuff Camp Staff!

“Last year was my first TUFF camp experience, and it was awesome. TUFF isn’t just a running camp; it is a family. There is so much love and friendship shared between counselors and campers through workouts, Bible studies and our crazy games and shenanigans. I’m going back to build off of the relationships I have formed and to allow God to work through me to help in whatever way I can. And also to get my chance at playing water polo that the staff did not get last year.

“People can be praying for the athletes that are thinking about coming to camp, that they can reach out to friends and teammates that have never been to TUFF, and that everyone who wants to come this year is able to.”


We welcome Mikayla to our Tuff Camp Staff! She is looking forward to growing her relationship with God, to be able to display His glory, not just where she lives, and traveling to a new place. She’s praying that through this trip, the Lord molds her into someone who can be an example to others at the camp, as well as back home.

“I would like that you guys pray that I stay focused on God as my goal, not get distracted, as well as opening my spiritual eyes and heart to receive everything God has for me. And that I also make sure I show God’s glory, not my own.”

Anna brings a unique component to the Switzerland team as a physical therapist! She is looking forward to making genuine connections with people as she serves them professionally. She’s excited to see how God can use her in presences and conversation.

“I am praying that God can create healthy relationships and healing conversations during this trip.”

Please pray she continues to walk closely with the Lord as she prepares for this trip and that she is continually gaining wisdom through His Word. And please pray the ministry for the whole team is influential to others.

Also joining the team are Jacqueline, Amy, Paige, Jordyn and Sarah. Amy, Paige, Jordyn and Sarah will start their summer with Tuff Camp and then will head to Switzerland.

Meet The Ladies, Part 2


Paige was born and raised in Pottsville, PA and this Syracuse senior is joining our Switzerland team! She is looking forward to learn how to more effectively share her faith, especially with younger athletes (she will also be helping with the Tuff Camp!)

“I am excited to share how my faith has changed how I view my sport and how I approach competition. I am also looking forward to meeting the other women on the trip and growing in our faith together. I am praying the Lord will help me step out of my comfort zone and continue to develop the leadership skills necessary to lead people to Him.”

As she prepares for the trip, please pray she makes her relationship with God her number one priority daily. Pray she continues to grow so she’s ready to serve the Lord this summer.

We are excited to have Sarah, from Western Michigan University, join this team!

Meet The Ladies, Part 1


We welcome Jordyn to the Switzerland team! She runs cross country and track for UC-Berkeley, which was quite the change from Centennial, CO! She is looking forward to traveling to another country, to spread the AIA ministry and to learn from other athletes on how their athletics have been impacted by their faith.

“I am praying that the Lord will speak through me throughout the trip and allow me to share my story about how identity, purpose, and faith has influenced my life and my sport. I also am praying that the Lord will allow me to spread the knowledge I gain onto my team and campus at Cal.”

She asks that you pray for courage, openness and learning through the new experiences for her and for her to grow into a better leader of Christ.


Amy D is a senior at UW Madison and enjoys competing in her hometown. “I cannot wait to go on this trip to Switzerland because the Lord has continued to give me opportunities to reach a variety of people and also to continue to learn from fellow followers of Christ. I’m looking forward to getting to reach the community in Switzerland but also get to help high schoolers really know the true meaning of letting God be in control of all your life not part.” (She will also be serving at TUFF camp).

She’s praying the Lord flows through the team, that they are true ambassadors of Christ and that through this trip, she can form relationships. As she prepares for the trip, she asks for prayers for the hearts of the people “we try to connect to are softened towards the gospel and God allows them to have ears that hear. For all of us in fundraising that he provides us the resources we need in order to partake in this mission. Even for all of us to experience the Lord in such deeps ways we never are able to look at the word and our relationship with the Lord the same.”

Our Fearless Leaders

Tim, the director of AIA Track & Field, is returning to St. Moritz, Switzerland for the third year in a row. He is looking forward to, “the opportunity to travel with our project athletes and see them step out in faith to connect with the athletes training there in St. Moritz, which is one the best places for distance runners to train.” He asks for prayers for Vinci & Regi Carrillo who are AIA Switzerland staff members as they make preparations to receive a team. Please also pray for spiritually open hearts of the athletes in St. Moritz.

Sue is joining her husband for their third trip to St. Moritz, Switzerland. She enjoys the unity the small team brings and the team Bible studies. She asks for prayers for this team’s unity and for good connections with the athletes at the track, who will be from all around the world.