For a number of years, AIA has sent a group of NFL players to Costa Rica to conduct sports clinics and share the love of Jesus through service projects.
“The trip impacted my life in many ways. Seeing families in hard situations who still had smiles on their faces and appreciated the small things in life gave me the conviction that I can’t complain about anything in my life. They blessed me more than I blessed them by far.”
– Demar Dotson, offensive lineman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“One of the things we try to do is be a catalyst to ministry that’s already happening there, so that when we leave they’re further down the road in their work. It’s all to help build relationships and develop credibility for the local ministry.”
– Doug Gilcrease, AIA staff member and chaplain to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Through partnerships with More Than Sport and Companies With a Mission, a group of professional cyclists took a two-day trip to Mexico to help build homes for five families in need.
“It was certainly an unforgettable experience. It was so great to know that I’m directly helping a family in need, and to work with my hands to achieve it. To finally put skin in the game of helping others is very powerful, and I have thought about it every day since. It’s impossible for such a trip to not give you some perspective.”
– Chad Haga, pro cyclist for Team Giant-Shimano
“The athletes in this sport are so disciplined that giving up three days of training on their bikes is unheard of, especially if they are giving back to someone else.”
– Todd Henriksen, director of AIA Cycling
In December 2012, a team of pro soccer players traveled to South Africa, where the group engaged in a variety of service projects, outreaches and soccer clinics at churches and orphanages. The trip served to accelerate ministry that was already happening at local churches and through AIA.
“Even though so many have so little, I saw that God still showers His love on those who follow Him. It is very encouraging to see this, reinforcing my belief that joy and peace are not circumstantial.”
– Sean Kelley, goalkeeper, Orlando Soccer Club
“The trip was such a success that we already know we want to do this next year. Players are telling us that all of their friends want to come. We believe that this tour and the fruit produced from it will catch like wildfire around the league.”
– Zach Blaine, AIA staff member and tour coordinator
During a 2007 AIA-led mission trip to Togo and Nigeria, athletes had the opportunity to talk with soccer players about Jesus.
“I got more out of Africa than Africa got out of me.”
– Steve Smith, wide receiver, Carolina Panthers, NFL Pro Bowler