Shelby Shipley ('13) | Speech Pathology

shelby shipley

Brownwood, Texas

For many college students, the thought of summer means going home, finding a job and relaxing. But for Shelby Shipley, her summer was the beginning of an adventure. A spur-of-the-moment decision led the Wildcat basketball player to Ghana, Africa.

If God is tugging on your heart strings, don't ignore it. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary at times, but that is when you will experience the most growth and better understand the divine purpose God has for you on this earth.

"I went because God had been tugging on my heart about going to Africa," said Shipley, a senior speech pathology major and captain of the women's basketball team. "In April, I had met a pastor in Austin that was a friend of my cousins, and within five minutes of our conversation I told him I was going to Ghana with him in June. I met the other three adults in the airport in London. So honestly, I didn't even know the people I went with until I was actually in Africa."

The value of simplicity

While in Africa, Shipley was introduced to a new world and culture. The people were inviting, friendly and the culture unlike anything she had experienced.

"The people there were the happiest people I had ever met," Shipley says. "They don't worry about materialistic or petty things. They are all genuinely happy, which was amazing to see and experience."

Shipley went to help the people of Ghana, but it was actually they who helped her.

"One big thing I learned from this opportunity is the value of simplicity," Shipley says. "What is considered trash to us is treasure to them. You think you are going to go and teach them, when actually you are the one leaving changed for the better."

The trip had such a powerful effect on her that she is eager to return after graduation. She encourages others to take a similar chance.

"If God is tugging on your heart strings, don't ignore it," Shipley advises. "Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary at times, but that is when you will experience the most growth and better understand the divine purpose God has for you on this earth."

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