Monday, August 5, 2013
Final Reflections – 2013 AU Volleyball PR Mission Trip
-It was an absolute joy to be able to spend the week building relationships with the kids at camp and getting to share with them about what God has done in our lives. We have been able to grow so much as a team during this trip and I have loved getting to know all these amazing girls better! And yay Spanish music an Puerto Rican food and YUMMY IGUANAS!
-God’s presence has been evidently seen and felt the entire time we’ve been here. The fact that we were able to help all five days and build those relationships with the girls (and a few boys) was crucial, and I believe was the reason why God was able to use us as he has. I thank God for all of these girls and the wonderful experience this was for me.
- This trip has been nothing but a blessing. Not only did we get to build our relationship amongst ourselves, but work together to serve for God’s glory. Seeing each camper improve daily at the camps was such an awesome experience, especially the much younger players. I loved every part of this trip, even though sleep was at the bottom of the list. I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us as a team and how else we will represent Christ.
-What an unforgettable and eye opening experience for my first mission trip! Leading up to the trip I prayed that I would keep my heart and mind open to God’s presence and I truly felt that as I developed relationships with girls at the clinics and on this team. Each day was a new mini mission, but had so much in store for us. I feel so blessed to be able to have had the opportunity to share God with people of PR and to grow as a member of this Asbury Volleyball family.
-I feel so incredibly blessed to have spent my first mission’s trip in Puerto Rico with this amazing volleyball team. Learning about the difference between being a “fan” or a “follower” and hearing the stories of my teammates and their journeys has inspired me and taught me a lot about what it means to truly follow Christ with all of your heart. It was a blessing to share not only our love of volleyball with the girls in the clinics but share our faith and extend love and hope. They have impacted me in a way that I know I’ll never forget.
-I am honored to be on this mission trip with my new volleyball family. I have been blessed in many different ways, but I have truly been blessed by the way that the Mayes family has served us selflessly for this week. They have inspired me to pursue being a true follower of Jesus and not to be ok with being a “luke warm” fan of Jesus. I treasure all of the friendships that I have formed this week with all the little children in the clinics. I am so thankful for this week and all that I have learned.
-Being on this missions trip has been incredibly eye opening and has made me realize how blessed I am. I am so thankful to have girls on my team who are on fire for the Lord and cannot wait to develop stronger relationships with these young ladies over the rest of the season. Having the opportunity to help out with the volleyball camps has been so much fun and it was amazing to see how all of the girls looked up to us. One of the things that I have learned on this 10 day trip is the difference between a fan, and someone who is a true follower of Jesus Christ. It really made me think about what type of relationship I have with the Lord.
This mission trip helped me open my eyes to Christ’s call to be a follower, not just an enthusiastic admirer. Even before the plane left, while reading the book Not a Fan, I realized that I need to change. On this trip, I have come to a better understanding of who God wants me to be – through the devotionals, the stories, the selfless leaders who serve, and the amazing people we had the opportunity to reach out to in the simplest of ways. This trip has brought me closer to my awesome God and amazing team. I am thankful.
I wasn’t prepared at all for what I learned on this trip or the experiences that I had. I was touched not only by God and my teammates but also the little girls we taught. I have come to understand more and more that growing up in a Christian home doesn’t mean life will be easy. I still have to struggle with God to understand my faith and my purpose in this life. The last night Chad, our missionary, put it perfectly… any of us will stand in the gap for our teammates and I think that is the purpose God calls us to, to stand in the gap and pull people to Christ.
This being my first mission trip I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I boarded a plane with a bunch of strangers but now I am coming home with a bunch of new sisters! My health during this trip hindered my ability to serve but it could not hinder my ability to absorb all of the newfound inspiration to my forever growing faith in the Lord Jesus. The people of Puerto Rico are truly blessed to have the Mayes family living among them. Their fire for the Lord is unmistakable and their example for their children is undeniable. We were truly blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside them.
This has been one of the favorite mission trips that I have ever been on! The people we met here were soooo excited and thankful that we were here! Volleyball is such a big sport here in Puerto Rico, so we were able to relate to the girls and their parents in a way that was easy and natural for us. It was awesome to see what an example we can set for the girls as the potential future that many of them want and need. Many of them looked up to us, and it was such a special feeling! I would love to come back in two years (even though I won’t be on the team technically! L)
Going on the Puerto Rico Mission Trip has been a great experience. I really enjoyed getting to know my teammates better and being able to use volleyball to reach the girls of Moca and Augadillia has been an amazing opportunity. I was really shocked to see the appreciation of the people of Puerto Rico and I’m so glad to have been apart of the trip.
Puerto Rico was my first mission trip, and after this experience it will not be my last. I was very nervous before the trip, but now that it’s over I realize that I had nothing to be scared of. I defiantly saw God this trip through the kids and nightly group meetings and I am so thankful for it because I can honestly say that my relationship has grew with Christ.
Being able to come on this trip was truly a blessing. I am so unbelievably thankful I was able to come with my team. I can honestly say I have the best teammates. Being able to spend the past 10 days with these girls hearing each others stories and sharing our love for God has been indescribable. Working these clinics with the girls here has been amazing, they were all so thankful for us simply teaching them how to play volleyball. I hope I will be able to return and do more work here.
This is my first mission trip, and I’m happy to say that it was such a huge success! I’m glad I got to spend the past 10 days with an awesome group of girls. I’ve definitely learned a lot about not only the girls, but about myself as well. After working the volleyball clinics, and learning about the cities in Puerto Rico, I’ve come to realize how truly blessed I am to have the life that I do. I am so grateful that I got to come on this mission trip and create so many memories with some great people.
Coming on this trip was the most amazing experience. Being my first mission trip, I really didn’t know what to expect. The people and relationships I have met and made have and will continue to impact my life. Seeing how people contently live there lives everyday with a substantially less amount of amenities than us took me back. But the most rewarding moment was on the first day of the second clinic. Towards the end of the session, Natalia and I were talking and I asked if we could take a picture after. She grew a huge grin saying she’d love too. Her excitement blew me away, making me realize how much we take for granted. Needless to say this trip has sparked a lot of reflection for me. Along with all of this I have come so much closer to all of my lovely teammates. Within each day God jam-packed it with numerous examples to show me just how blessed I am.
-Morgan Blake Newton
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Hillarie gets painted
Allison, Halee and Cat work with the little ones
Kellianne shares while Catherine interprets
Courtney shares on the last day of the clinic
Silver Girls U12 team we watched play. They were all at our clinic all week.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
This verse has been a central part of our book study of Not a Fan and has been a recurring theme of our activities here in Puerto Rico serving the kids of Moca, Aquadilla and Mayaquez. Friday was another fulfilling day as we finished up our week long volleyball clinic in Moca with a round robin tournament. This time 62 kids showed up as well as 30 parents watching! This was a challenge to run warm up drills and play a tournament with that many players on two courts. However, all of it was worth it as we saw the faces of the kids as they sat in the stands and listened to Courtney share her testimony. We have had a chance to present the Gospel all five days we have worked in Moca. We hope that the seeds have been planted in their lives. We finished the session by presenting the girls with AU tshirts, wristbands and an AU Vball postcard that our girls signed and added their favorite verse. The first thing out of the little girls’ mouths as we were leaving was ‘are you coming back next year?’ The beauty of facebook is that we can stay in the lives of these kids……thank you Mark Zuckerberg!
Amazingly, the mayor of Moca even came over to the gym to thank the girls for coming and giving to their community. We thank God that doors have been opened for Chad and his gang here on this side of the island to build relationships.
We couldn’t linger long in the gym after the clinic because we were immediately off to the Cradle of Peace Orphanage nearby. This Christian orphanage is run by a Spanish missionary, Magdelena, who works with local agencies to provide a safe haven for kids from the streets who have been abandoned. There are babies up to 8 year olds who are either in the process of adoption or being provided for until their family situation becomes healthier. It was an inspiring place to be and the girls loved playing with and loving on the kids. The girls were also able to lay hands on Magdelena and pray for her ministry and the futures of the children.
Our final stop of the day was to attend the youth meeting at the church we attended last Sunday in Mayaquez. Amazingly, most of the message dovetailed nicely with the themes laid out Not a Fan. Continue to pray for us as we share each evening our stories around the circle. The bond in Christ continues to grow…………an exciting season is ahead!
Friday, August 2, 2013
What a stretch of 24 hours we have had! Last night, after attending a U12 volleyball match in Boca involving a large group of our campers we came back for our second round of sharing our life stories. It was another emotional night as the players opened up to each other. It was beautiful to see how the girls rallied around each other as their stories poured out. The closeness that this team has established already is incredible to see. The freshmen are already a part of the inner circle and are surrounded by 24 sisters as they face their first days of college.
Today we started with another volleyball clinic in Boca and welcomed in 54 campers. The courts are becoming smaller and smaller each day we run the clinic! The girls have all stepped up to the plate and done strong work organizing and working with the kids. Kelly, Mackenzie, Cari, Jessie and Allison have done a great job leading the 5 stations we have established each day. Kellianne shared today using the verse Joshua 1:9 to frame her message to the kids. The afternoon was our first chance to do manual labor to help the missionaries here in PR. The group was split in two with one group painting a classroom and cleaning up the grounds at a local Christian alternative school. The second group helped paint a part of a missionary home and move some concrete and tiles. Needless to say we were a tired group as we returned to the gym for the evening match (tough match that we won) at 7 pm against a team that included several of the outstanding older players that had attended one day of camp. These repeat encounters with these players are starting to bear fruit as the girls are connecting the kids in a deeper way. God is good and we know that each seed planted will bear fruit. Tomorrow is another big day as we finish the clinic with a mini tournament followed by a trip to the local orphanage to visit the kids. The girls are excited. We covet your prayers as we look forward to our final days in PR.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
The last day and a half have been full and exciting. Each day has started with a 7:30 breakfast and seen us on the go until we come in at between 9 and 10 pm. Monday and Tuesday we gave a clinic to kids from the Moca area from 9-12 noon. The first day there were around 13 kids, the second and third day 50+, ! The girls have shown great leadership and adaptability in helping to run the clinic, give their testimonies, chat with the girls and interact with the players. Many of the players in the clinics and others that we are playing in matches have excellent English skills so it has been great to be able to relate directly to them. They are hungry for direction and great role models and our girls have been able to give them some of both. Each day we also have had a second clinic in the late afternoon with girls from a volleyball club in the city of Mayaquez. The skill level has been very high but the opportunity to share a passion for volleyball and Christ has been rewarding. The last few days Courtney, Sarah and I have had a chance to share what God has been doing in our lives. The outpouring of love in both directions after these talks has been exciting to see. Yesterday I shared Phillipians 4:13 with them in my talk and was able to hand out wrist bands that had AU Volleyball and that verse printed on them. An additional opportunity came our way when a local news crew came by the gym to video the girls helping the girls and to interview Catherine and me about what we were doing in Puerto Rico. It was a great opportunity to again share the Gospel with a wider audience, an unexpected gift. Finally, we were able to share a pizza dinner with our opponents last night on the gym floor and get a chance to talk with them. Relationships were being built with every moment we spent together. On another note we have played some tough opponents since we have been here, with some success (2-1 so far) and have enjoyed integrating the freshmen in to the lineup.
More to come soon.