Sports Spectrum Weekly

Managers On A Mission: College basketball director serves Malawi

Managers On A Mission (MOAM) is an organization striving to “develop uncommon individuals of character,” and particularly “future leaders of sport,” through Christ-centered service projects.

Fueled by donations from countless teams across the college and professional landscape, it invests in both the children of Africa and the future of coaches, trainers and student managers by serving overseas, providing sports equipment and preparing the next generation of leaders for a career in sports.

In partnership with Sports Spectrum, MOAM is sharing stories of some of its own up-and-coming sports leaders, specifically their experiences serving in Africa this summer.

***

Person: Shaaliyah Lyons
Position:
Director of basketball operations (Seton Hall University)
Place:
Malawi

“The power of giving back is what drove me to MOAM. Giving back is one of the best experiences in life. It gives a person the opportunity to share blessings with others and watch how a little kindness and faith can go a long way. Throughout this trip, my goal was to get closer to God and strengthen our relationship. I could write a book on how Jesus has impacted my time in Malawi … If I could categorize the ways in which Jesus has impacted me, I would sort it into three key categories: my faith, my heart, and my perspective.

“The first devotional I led [there] was on the topic of identity. I had about five to 10 children in each group answer the questions, “Who are you?” and “What is your identity?” … [and] the one answer I was looking for, I did not hear often: “Child of God.” Even when I asked myself the same questions, that was not in my answer …

“Being in Malawi brought forth a happiness and sense of purpose that I hadn’t had since the passing of my father. The work I was doing on a daily basis had value and the kids showed their appreciation towards me, which is something I was not used to. Throughout my time, I saw a common theme in my conversations with them, which was about betrayal. They felt betrayed by their friends and family from time to time, and this betrayal would get to them, eat at them. Some of them struggled with the concept of true forgiveness … While I was giving advice, I realized when it came to certain people in my life, I was the same. I would let them upset me, ruin my day and just take me off my game. We looked to the Bible for an answer and stumbled upon Proverbs 4:23.

“My perspective on life has drastically shifted … I became much more grateful for the little things here in America and just detaching more. Jesus has impacted my life through my ability to disconnect from everything and live my life at the moment [and] enjoy the presence of who I am with. I am much more aware of everything going on.

“I want to use my platform as a leader and Director of Basketball Operations in the sports industry to encourage athletes, as well as people, to have a relationship with God, and always give back despite what they are going through. I would encourage my athletes, as well as the coaching staff, to get involved with mission trips and lead a more value-based life. I look to answer the question: As an athletic program, how can we begin to make an impact domestically as well as internationally?”

RELATED STORIES:
— Managers On A Mission: Notre Dame football manager serves Ghana
— Managers On A Mission: College basketball coach serves Uganda
— Northwestern basketball staffer sees God’s protection in escaping armed robbery in Africa
— For ex-NFL LB Emmanuel Acho, serving Nigeria is an affair of faith and family
— NFL Players Team Up To Bring Clean Water To East Africa