Here's the numbers for this summer's Managers On A Mission trips to Africa:
5 – How many consecutive years MOAM has served orphanages in Africa
3- How many weeks MOAM and their selected Student Equipment Managers serve at orphanages in Africa
5 – How many countries MOAM serves during their mission to Africa
25 – How many Equipment Managers are selected to serve at orphanages
1 – How many Molly Hart's partcipated.
We introduced you to Molly a month ago as she prepared for the trip. She's back now, sounding a bit tired, but excited about the experience.
“The kids were easily the highlight of the trip – the biggest highlight of my trip,” Molly said. “They were so sweet and loving and happy all the time. They were so happy all the time. When we first drove in they were waving at us and smiling at us and were so excited to have us there with them. For them, it was their summer break for three weeks.
“It was so sad to say good bye to them last week.”
Molly, an Equipment Manager for Notre Dame Football, served at a Rafiki Foundation orphanage in Ghana. The Rafiki Foundation runs orphanages in several African nations. The MOAM teams serve to give full-time missionaries a three-week break every summer, and to teach the kids there about soccer, basketball, volleyball, and other sports. By mixing in devotions and times of teaching from the Bible, the faith of the kids, and the MOAM team members, is strengthened.
“What we really saw this year, was spiritual growth among students we sent,” said MOAM founder Drew Boe. “Tt was really cool seeing that. A lot of these individuals seemed pretty good with their faith. Then they stepped into a third world country and lead devotions and lead a group of teenagers through study of scripture. We heard from them how much they were challenged in doing that and we saw confidence grow. It was really cool see individuals be challenged to step out of their comfort zone – physically, emotionally, and most significantly – spiritually. It was really cool to see.”
Molly, who hails from Michigan, told Helmet Tracker the trip gave her perspective and courage.
“This trip taught me how to be more open about my faith. These kids wanted to know everything and anything. They showed me how to be open with my life and open with my faith,” she said. “It showed me that I don’t have to do something spectacular like solve cancer to have a huge impact with my life. I have to be there and show love to someone. To be available.”
Drew knows these trips can shape a student manager's outlook and strengthen their faith. That's what happened to him. His trip years ago to Rwanda transformed Drew and began what became MOAM.
“God put it on my heart to combine the sports industry with what He was doing at these orphanages,” he recalled.
Small Things with Great Love
Molly will remember the conversations she had with Azuma most of all.
“There were a number of kids I grew close to. One was Azuma. She was 11 and she – I miss her so much already – she was kind of, in the beginning, very quiet. There were some outspoken kids who were ready to drag you out to talk all the time. But getting to know Azuma, she would ask me about my family, tell me what she wanted to do when she was older, everything. We talked a lot about how I came to be a Christian and I told her about my journey. So we talked – she asked all the big questions – it was nice to hear. When we left, she wrote me one of the sweetest notes.”
The experience also helped Molly decided on her future.
“It helped me decide to stay in sports. This is not something I want to take out of my plans. I don't know specifically, but I do know I want to be able to do something like this trip again. I want to be able to, not necessarily go to this Rafiki village in Ghana, but something similar. This trip has helped me to grow in so many ways – in ways that I haven’t fully realized yet.”
Molly said a quote her Dad often references, sometimes attributed to Mother Teresa, became more real for her this summer: “We cannot do great things, but we can only do small things with great love.”
Read about Molly's pre-trip here.
Encouragement and Follow-up and Commitment
Drew said many of the mission trip student managers have said the trip offered them a significant experience.
“We saw the way God's Word really helped individuals grow in areas. Many recognized their faith was important and significant in their lives, but never committed the time to develop or rely upon their faith as they were forced to do during this trip,” he said. “Now is the real rubber meets the road time as far as being back. The reality of being back is very challenging. It can be real easy to become defeated. We've all had this sort of mountaintop experience, but those we work with have not. One student manager went back to practice Monday and no one asked him about this three week trip.
“It's easy to have a mountaintop experience while over there and surrounded by the kids and close group of friends in Christ. There, time is scheduled for spending time in the Bible, and now you are back and school will start up soon and practices are in motion and all these things are screaming at you that they are more important.”
Drew said this return to normalcy, but now with this experience and more of a commitment to God, can be difficult but MOAM prepares for it.
“For us, this is a real fun, challenging time to encourage and spur these men and women on in their faith,” he said. “We try to focus everyone on what God is doing within them, what He taught them, and where He located each of them where they are to do specific things. Those who go have the opportunity in the sports industry, a platform, and we can encourage them when they may not see the opportunities for ministry where they are right away.”
Read more about the trips at MOAM's Blog page: http://www.managersonamission.org/news–blog
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Learn more about Managers on a Mission here: http://www.managersonamission.org/
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