“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
JOY. My trip with Managers on a Mission to the Uganda Rafiki village was filled with the most unending joy I’ve ever witnessed. The kids at the village have such a child-like faith. They are so wise and find delight in even the smallest things. They love riddles and jokes. Smiles never left their faces when we played tag games in the afternoons. They are hardworking and determined. They are such servants and truly care about each other. It was such an awe factor to see how much they appreciate the little things and how much simpler life is without all the “extras” we think we need in America.
The second night that I spent at the Uganda Rafiki village, I got to attend devotion at the middle aged girls cottage. It was such a sweet time of worship and digging into the word. I was continually amazed at the wisdom of these children and how much Biblical knowledge that they possess. At the end of the devotion, the mama of the cottage told the girls that it was time to pray. Without uttering a word, all of the girls and the mama got on their knees in a circle on the floor and everyone took a turns praying. That is what true worship looks like. I was on my knees in this cottage with tears of thankfulness pouring down my face because I could feel the Lord’s presence so clearly in this moment. And it hit me…When is the last time I literally got on my knees and told the Lord what He means to me, gave Him praise, and thanked Him for all that He does? These girls displayed a 1 Timothy 4:12 kind-of faith that rocked me to the core.
Going to church with the kids and mamas from the village was another one of my favorite activities. Churches in Uganda are so different from those in America. They weren’t filled with fancy lights or decorations and they didn’t even have real walls enclosing the church. They were filled with raw and true worship of people who really believe that the Lord is faithful through struggles and triumphs.
Reflecting on this trip has left me in awe of the way that the Lord uses the passions that He gave me to pursue my heart. The way He uses my ordinary life and enables me to do extraordinary things just because I say yes to Him. Through this trip, He continually reminded me that saying yes to Him isn’t just a one-time thing. Because I said yes to being a collegiate basketball manager and enduring through long hours of hard work and leading others through an uncommon platform and millions of loads of laundry and traveling and games and keep up with school work and good times and hard times and loving people and finding joy in the everyday, and saying yes to going on this trip with MOAM, He was able to mold me. Saying yes to God through all of these things is just the beginning of how He can use me in the sports world. Saying yes to His plan even when I’m unsure, when I don’t have everything figured out, when I’m scared, when I might fail---that is when He shows me what it’s like to have true faith because over and over and over again, He is faithful. The kids, mamas, and missionaries at the Rafiki village living out a 1 Timothy 4:12 kind of faith was so inspiring to see because every one of them knows what it’s like to say yes to God even when it’s hard. That takes true courage, bravery, and boldness. Sometimes God takes you to a place of less distraction--more focus, less worry--more joy, and less extra--more simple to draw you closer to Himself by showing you true examples of how His people say yes to Him across the world.
Going on this trip with MOAM has truly been a game changer for me. It has shaped my perspective on how you can use your platform to influence so many people. The memories that I was able to make on this trip with last for a lifetime and I pray that I the Lord will forever keep refining a 1 Timothy 4:12 kind-of faith in my life no matter where He takes me next!
-Madison Stalnaker, Arkansas State Women's Basketball
To God Be The Glory!