I apologize for this post being long overdue. It’s funny how you leave for 3 weeks and time stands still ,but as soon as you get back it continues full speed. It sweeps you up back in its current and you get lost trying to keep up with it again. So you could say that I got swept back up in the routine of it all again.
Let me get back on track by telling you a bit more about our mission trip experience.
Every day we would practice at the local university on a rubber court with random people strolling in and out. Every day there was this little boy who would be waiting for us come rain or shine. Every day, we’d arrive to him standing in the doorway waving at us. This little boy was 10 years old and would walk miles barefoot to be at the gym hanging with random students from the university. This little boy wanted us to call him Jordan, after Michael Jordan. He was a little baller with some pretty darn good ball handling skills and every day after practice we would give him a lift home. After the first day of meeting him, getting on the bus he looked so sad we were going and as I was stepping on the bus, this little barefoot boy asked me if I had any food. It broke my heart to tell him that I didn’t have any on me and to think that I was hopping on that bus to go back to a bed, eat some food, and drink fresh water. This was just one of the many instances where children and adults asked us for food. Needless to say, every day after that we all made sure to have food on hand, shoes, socks, and gear to give him. The happiness on his face to see his gifts, to simply see us every day, and to sit on our bench during games was absolutely heart melting. It was even more heart melting when we had to tell him we were leaving to go back to the States at the end of the week.
We came to find out that Jordan lived with his mom and grandma miles away. They couldn’t afford to put him in school so he simply wandered the streets every day, however far he wanted. He’d come back home whenever he decided to make his way. Imagine, not knowing where your child was the entire day and then coming home late at night after walking miles, crossing busy streets alone. Yet, we come from a country where we give our kids a phone as soon as they pop out of the womb and don’t let them cross the street without someone holding their hand. Where we hardly see a child without some kind of shoes on their feet, let alone walking ALONE in the streets. As soon as we stepped off that plane and we were in a completely different world down there.
During games and camps we shared our testimonies, our hearts, and our stories with the people there. Our main focus was the girls on the national team and the audience members at the games. We interacted with them the most out of anyone. At the halftime of our matches we would share our testimonies and hand out brochures on how they could become a part of the AIA program locally. Many people from the audience and from the Ivory Coast Women’s National team filled out those papers wanting to learn more and be a part of the local Christian community. It was amazing thing to see. A lot of them commented on our spirit and the way we conducted ourselves throughout the games and at all times of the trip. They were inspired by the way God was working through us to impact the lives of everyone we met. Whether that be the children in the orphanage we visited, the Ivorian basketball team, people in the audience, or the women and children we met on the broken, dirty roads of Abidjan. It was amazing to see how our love and our faith made a difference in their lives in such a short time.
How often do you get that chance? How often can you say truly, without any question that you impacted someone’s life in a good way? It honestly should be daily, but for many of us that isn’t the case. You shouldn’t need to go all the way across the world to be able to say you made a difference in someone else’s life or to be able to spread the Word of God. You can do that right where you are, with the people you interact with daily. Everyone is in need of a little faith, love, and kindness in their life. The only difference is that some may need it more than others. This trip allowed my teammates and I to love on every child, player, and stranger we encountered all the way across the world. God shone His light through each and every one of us. He allowed us to shine our light into the dark corners of the hearts of those who may never have known about God and the miracles he is capable of. Each one of us came back shining a little brighter than we left and I hope we sparked the beginnings of a flame in the hearts of the Abidjan people. I hope we sparked a bit of curiosity about what having a personal relationship with God is like. All it takes is one spark to light a fire. Though, without any action how can you expect a reaction?
So I ask, share your light, share your warmth, share your faith, share your fire, and share God’s Word. He wants to be known and to use you to save others. Don’t sit back asking why God doesn’t do something more. He created you to do that something more. You are that tool to start a fire in this world and spread His Word. BE the change. BE the difference. BE the kindness. BE the hand extended to the broken looking up. Don’t let yourself get so caught up in the fast paced current of the world we live in, that you forget to look around. Tunnel vision, stepping on the hands of people fallen to get where we think we should be. Life is more about the people you impact along the way, than it actually is about you. Remember that. It’s the people along the journey that make it special because those are the people you should be hoping to see again at the end of this life journey.