Judson senior to do mission work in tsunami torn south India

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 24, 2005

“Nothing is going to prepare me for what I am going to see, and what I am going to do but making sure that my faith is securely in God,” said Ashley Clibrey.

Through an organization called Adventures in Missions (AIM), Clibrey, and 15 other 18-22 year olds from across the country will go on a nine- week mission trip to Southern India in the state of Kerala.

Clibrey, a 2002 graduate of Dallas County High, and a senior majoring in psychology at Judson College, explains her desire to participate in this mission.

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“One summer, I went on a beach project,” said Clibrey. “Through that, I learned different ministry skills and heard statistics on how many people have never heard about God, His mercy, and His glory. It opened my eyes and I started praying.”

After researching the organization, Clibrey felt that AIM’s mission and purpose best represented the direction that God was leading her in. She applied in October 2004 to be a part of AIM’s Real Life Mission Team, and was accepted.

Even though Clibrey received word of her acceptance before the December 2004 tsunami that devastated India, she never considered canceling her mission trip.

If anything, she was more determined to go.

“There is going to be more work now, and that excites me,” said Clibrey. “I will have opportunities to help build up villages where the tsunami hit.”

While in India, she and the other members of the Real Life Mission Team will also work in the leper colonies, orphanages and slums of Kerala.

“I don’t know where she gets it from,” said her mother Diane Austin. “I’m terrified and excited at the same time. She, on the other hand, would say nothing about being terrified.”

When asked if the prospect of her upcoming trip frightened her, Clibrey simply said “not really.”

“I’ve completely given control over to God and I trust in Him to see it through completion. His will is perfect and will see me through the end.”

Before going to India, Clibrey and the other team members will receive training for seven days at AIM’s headquarters in Gainesville, Ga.

“We will be living together, outside in tents – roughing it,” said Clibrey. “We will learn about the region we are going to be in, and have other team building experiences.”

Many different arrangements are necessary to prepare for this trip.

According to Austin, Clibrey’s belongings have to be shipped before she actually leaves because it takes so long for packages to arrive in India.

“I have to get my vaccinations and get a physical,” said Clibrey. “I’m still raising (financial) support and praying for it daily. There is a lot of spiritual preparation.”

“I’m scared, especially with all this stuff going around in the local news about missionaries being killed in Africa,” said Austin. “But, being a parent, you just have to let them (children) spread their wings and fly.”

Established in 1986, AIM is an interdenominational, short-term missions organization, which provides youth, college age students, adults, and families opportunities to mission on both national and international levels.

AIM’s Real Life Mission Team will leave for India on May 26, and will return on July 28.

“We are there to help people, we are not there to help ourselves,” said Clibrey.