"It took me completely out of my comfort zone," remembers Terry, who 21 years later still teaches math and physics and coaches at Covington High School in Indiana. "I had 3 young kids at home and had to ask others for money. But I went and it has proved a big blessing."
Terry, having 19 travel experiences with AIA, the sport ministry of Cru, to his credit, has either coached or led short-term mission teams to places such as Brazil, Mexico, Moldova, Russia and the Philippines.
Volunteering Around the Globe
Terry has both seen the world and God at work.
"Once, in Brazil," says Terry, "one [referee] shows up with his son with him. A local minister explained the Four Spiritual Laws Booklet in Portuguese, and afterward, both father and son prayed to receive Christ."
Today, Terry continues to volunteer with AIA, and it is becoming more the norm. Since October 2008, 40 non-AIA staff members from varying professions have attended 1-day training sessions for volunteers.
Training Provided for Volunteers
At the trainings, prospective volunteers learn about opportunities and get details of what is required to lead a mission trip or to join one as a coach. Some receive training in how to spiritually mentor student athletes on a college campus that does not have AIA staff members present.
"We are seeing the big picture," says Tim Pitcher, coordinator of the AIA volunteer training initiative. "We can't do it on our own."
"People who own businesses, manage others, coach or teach Sunday school are able to help if trained," adds Tim, noting that through volunteers, AIA was able to send an additional 50 student-athletes into the mission field this past summer. "We need others willing to step up to the plate."
Involving the Family
For Terry, his initial ministry experiences with AIA resulted in opportunities for his entire family to get involved. His wife, Anita, as well as his son, Tyler, and daughter, Tiffany, have all been on AIA trips.
He appreciates the work done in the lives of his family members as well in his own life through such times.
"The tours have forced me to become more vocal as they have created a lot of opportunities to talk about my trip and to tell others about my faith," he says. "I have received tools to help me better communicate, learning how to give my personal testimony."
Coming Back for More
Yet in spite of his significant on-the-job training, Terry still chose to attend another 1-day training session in February of 2009.
"It seems the more training I get, the more I have to learn," he says. "AIA has given me tools. But the training reminds me that the fields are ripe for harvest. It is up to us to say 'yes' or 'no' to being a part of it -- to seeing others change and being changed ourselves."
A Place for You
There is a place for you, too. Consider joining AIA at one of its upcoming future 1-day sessions to train and equip adult volunteers.
Learn more at www.volunteers.athletesinaction.org.