For Jaime Norum, the opportunity to travel to Germany this summer with Athletes in Action began as the chance to simply enjoy playing basketball again after recovering from an injury-laden final season at the University of Alberta. However, it became so much more than that as Jaime realized how God was able to use her on tour in ways that stretched far beyond her ability to play basketball.
Midway through tour, she re-aggravated a previous foot injury and found herself back on the sidelines and unable to participate in the training camp the AIA team was running for an elite girls club team during the week. Yet due to these circumstances, she had the unique opportunity to get to know one of the injured German athletes on a much deeper level. Jaime stepped out in faith during those conversations by shifting her focus from worrying about asking the right questions or trying to force God into the conversation, to merely listening well and focussing on what the athlete was sharing with her. Norum described how she came to realize that “Jesus inside of me speaks greater than words”. As God transforms her to be more like Jesus, questions will naturally be stirred up in other people. Jaime returned home after tour with increased confidence and a changed perspective on approaching spiritual conversations with much more freedom: to simply be genuine with people and surrender the outcome to God.
When looking back on this tour, it is the connections she made with people that Jaime cherishes most. Having the opportunity to spend time and connect with people living in refugee camps, especially the children, was a life-giving experience for Norum as she encountered “so many people who just desire to be loved”. In the midst of the transition of graduating from university and feeling a lack of purpose and direction, Jaime shared a quote that has been meaningful to her and really hit home during this trip: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman). Affirmed by teammates and mentors, Norum believes she has discovered her purpose and passion, and the direction she believes God is leading her next.
Returning home with a renewed vision of what it means to “go and make disciples”, Jaime shared how she believes “God can use us for things so much bigger than we can imagine”, whether that is on international tours with AIA or locally in our own cities. Trusting that God is always at work means that, for Norum, it doesn’t end after Germany; she has a lifetime to serve and build connections with people and pursue the opportunities that make her come alive.
Experiencing victory beyond competition for Jaime meant realizing that it is about so much more than basketball; basketball is a beautiful game that provides an incredible platform to build deeper connections with people off the court, which will always be more important than wins and losses.
Athletes in Action is committed to giving athletes like Jaime opportunities to “go and make disciples”. How are you using your sport to build trust and go deeper with people? #goAIA #AIAnGER #AIABasketball