In the last blog I posted, I wrote about investing in yourself so that you may be able to see things from a better perspective, increase your value, and be able to help others with that value. I wrote about how new experiences and meeting new people from all over open new doors within you and open your eyes to different ways of thinking. In light of that, I have chosen to be a part of a mission trip to Ivory Coast in West Africa through Athletes in Action (a CRU affiliation).
Going on a mission trip has always been on my bucket list because I’ve always known deep down that it would be a life changing experience where I’d get to share my faith and testimony with others who may be less fortunate. However, I never imagined that I’d have the opportunity to use my faith and my basketball skills together on one. On this trip we will be building relationships with athletes, fans, coaches, and officials to help them accelerate their ministries by sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. We will be putting on youth camps, coaching clinics, helping the U-19 Ivorian women’s national team prepare for the upcoming Francophonie games, and providing humanitarian aid to the greater Abidjan area.
And like I said in my last post, the people I interact with there will leave as much lasting impact on me as I hope to leave on them. Through this experience, I’m striving to deepen my relationship with God, learn how to more effectively share my faith with others, continue to better my leadership skills, and to give other young athletes the opportunity to grow in their own personal relationship with Christ. If nothing else, I want to plant a seed in these youth’s minds and I want them to plant a seed of thought in mine. I want to be able to give to everyone I cross paths with any form of love, kindness, and aid that I am capable of.
In retrospect of that, I have to admit that sometimes I get so caught up in my own world and getting myself “right” that I neglect the relationships I have with others. I forget to give back in order to get back and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I say that I’m just really “focused” at the moment and drop my social life or don’t think I have time to do little things like volunteering in the community. When in reality if something is important enough, you make time for it. So this year I’ve actively been trying to grow in that mentality of “giving back” because when you give back, you get back more than you could ever imagine.
I feel that it’s important for me to add that I understand I don’t need to go all the way to the Ivory Coast in order to give back but one way I’m giving back in my local community is through my church. We have a community involvement weekend once a month and on this day for about 2 hours we just play with kids in what is considered the “bad” part of town. We meet them in their neighborhood, play games, do art projects, have food for them, and have other fun stuff for them to do. Just the act of being around them and giving them your attention and love is enough. They love every minute of it. Of course you can find me most the time on the court balling it up with some of them. Only occasionally schooling them … when they start getting cocky. 😉 But I can say that just being with them for 2 hours out of what I consider my “busy schedule” is worth every minute. It warmed my heart and impacted me more than I thought it would. So this time I’m trying to get some of my basketball buds from the gym to join in and hopefully I can round up a few. You just don’t know what you’re missing until you’re actually a part of it and seeing the difference that you are making.
In basketball you might say, “the more you pass the ball, the quicker you’ll get it back.” Meaning, the more you give, you’d be surprised to learn how much the universe is willing to give you back. In order to “get”, you need to “give”. That can be said for relationships, friendships, or business aspects as well.
This mission trip is another opportunity for me to give back outside my local community while investing in myself on a deeper, personal level as well. But in order to be a part of this trip, I am required to raise $4,500 for my portion of it. However, I do not have that kind of money just laying around because I am “still getting my life together” and haven’t found my sugar daddy yet. Just kidding… kinda. Haha. But the $4,500 portion of the team’s goal covers food, lodging, travel, and other team expenses. And all the funds must be raised by June 12 in order for our team to report to training camp.
I really am not the type to ask for money because I am an “independent woman, and don’t need no man.” 😉 But since this is for a great cause and will essentially reach the hearts of many people who might not be as fortunate as us to know what it is to have a close personal relationship with God, I will. Also, I ask because I would really love to be a part of this life changing opportunity and be able to leave a lasting impact on someone else’s life. If you would like to help fund my trip and share in our mission and purpose in Africa please go to www.give.ccci.org and enter my Tracking Number: 0945781 (My fundraising code) in the “Give A Gift” box, or you can make a check payable to Athletes In Action and return it to me (though you will have to ask me for my address because I don’t think listing it so openly is the best idea ever).
As I’ve been considering whether or not I should go on this trip, there’s been one phrase that really spoke to me: “Nothing that you have not given away, will ever truly be yours”. To me that means that I should try to give away every piece of what makes me, me and use it to help others. Whether that be through my blogs and everyone they impact or simply giving someone my time, attention, or advice. My love, my kindness, my compassion, my faith, and my knowledge can all be used to uplift someone else and that is what I am trying to do. I’m trying to be better. I’m trying to make a difference because sitting around just thinking about it won’t change a thing. God gave each and every one of us talents, characteristics, skills, and personalities that are meant to change an entire person’s life. Whether we choose to share them with the rest of the world is a personal choice.
I love that phrase because in a way it’s also directed at a materialistic view of things. You can give items, money, and clothes away. They also can be taken from you. Those things are never truly yours. What’s yours is every little detail and piece of you that makes you, YOU. THAT is yours. Nobody can take away what makes you, you. But the fact that you can choose to give someone your time, attention, and love is something else altogether. All that stuff is YOURS. Your Love, your compassion, your kindness, and your attention. It makes the choice to share them with another that much more meaningful. So I ask you to please consider sharing in my mission to Ivory Coast in any way you choose – whether that be by helping to fund me, sending me your love and positive vibes, or simply by sending me your prayers. I appreciate them all in any way, shape, or form! Thank you! XO
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.””