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Three Weeks in Rafiki Village - Throwback Blog #1

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

You may or may not know this, but Uncommon Sports Group was once known as Managers on a Mission! Managers on a Mission, or MOAM, was known for providing fully funded service projects and mission trips to Equipment Managers from the college and pro sport industry.

Over the course of several years, MOAM provided more than 100 students with service and mission opportunities. In 2017, Mackenzie Duggar, the then Equipment Manager at the University of Northern Colorado, attended a missions trip to the Rafiki Village in Ghana. Read on to hear about her experience.


“Filled with Your wonder

Here I surrender

Held in Your mystery of grace

Calling me closer

Waking desire

Coming alive in Your name


Holy is the Lord

Worthy to be praised


Fire rising in my soul

All consuming flame


Everyone makes an impact. Actors impact the movies and television we watch. Professional athletes impact the teams we cheer on and the clothes that fill our closets. Family impacts the traditions we have and the memories we cherish. Friends impact the places we eat and the activities that fill our evenings and weekends. And orphans impact the way you think about your life.

They make you think about the things you take for granted and the things you place too much value in. They put joy in your heart with a quick smile or a laugh. They break your heart with their stories and then put it back together with a song and a hair braid. They make you laugh with their riddles and cry when they lead their cottage in devotions.

It is hard to know what your impact will be or was. The three weeks in the Rafiki Village in Ghana changed my life. But I am still trying to figure out exactly in what ways it impacted and changed my life and exactly what God is telling me now. Impact is complicated and hard to understand sometimes. I know that my eyes were opened to a different part of the world that I had never experienced before. I was able to love on orphans for three weeks by simply playing sports. I was able to see dance transcend any barrier. And now, five strangers have a bond that can’t be broken.

But was the impact that I left on the 80+ orphans as great as the impact that was left on me? They may have shed more tears than I did when we left. They may have written me more notes than I wrote them. But it is more than notes and tears. God moved in mighty ways during the three weeks.

He made a remote village in Ghana feel like home; he allowed me to memorize almost 90 names with ease and reminded me daily what a beautiful name it is in Jesus. He has made me think about what I want my impact to be in the large things and the minutiae everyday tasks.

God knows the impact of the things he has planned for us before it has even crossed our minds as an idea. He impacts us in ways we never expect. I think that God has a really funny sense of humor sometimes too.

As we prepared for this trip and I found out I would be teaching principle 4 ‘Hurtin for Certain’ to the kids, I began to wonder how I could teach God's words about suffering to orphans. Little did I know that when I got to Ghana, I needed to hear what I was talking about more than anyone else.

While I am sure and hoping the kids were impacted by something from us studying the life of Joseph and understanding how he dealt with suffering by leaning into God and not running, I learned the most. I came up with a simple phrase for the kids to remember what I taught, but I was the one that needed the reminder. It's simple “trust in God, and he will help you in the good times and the bad times,” and the kids embraced it completely. How quick are we to not press into Jesus and instead run? How quick am I to not trust God with my life?

I want to leave you with this challenge to consider the impact you want to make in everything you do. Are you following God's plan for you by fully trusting him in the ‘good and bad times? I may never get to see the 80+ kids again, never fully know the impact our team made on them, or see what they achieve in life, but the impact they and God had on my life in three weeks is something I won't soon forget.

Matthew 16:24-25

Impacting the Kingdom One Day at a Time,

Makenzie Dugger,

Assistant Athletic Trainer

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

To God be the Glory!


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