Life Pacific adjunct professor Aimee Selby led a small team of students to Lesvos, Greece during Spring Break bringing hope to refugee women and children, and transformation to our students.
Aimee Selby, LPC alum, adjunct faculty, and global worker, loves the fact that “God leans toward the broken, the downtrodden, the outcast, and the forgotten” people of the world.
During Spring Break this year, Aimee traveled to Lesvos, Greece with two Life Pacific students she mentors. They provided aid to people living in overcrowded refugee camps from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, the Democractic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and other countries.
The team was invited to train female refugees with self-defense techniques. Their task was especially important because of the immenent threat of gender-based violence to the women and children living at the two camps at Lesvos.
“Many of the women told me they haven’t showered for two or three months because they are in danger of being raped in the showering facilities,” Aimee says. Human traffickers set up right outside the camp gates in an attempt to buy or kidnap vulnerable women and children.
“Equipping these women with the skills necessary to defend themselves and their children is a huge felt need,” she says.
The number of participants in the self-defense classes grew every day. On the last night of class there were 26, representing 10 nationalities and speaking English, Arabic, French and Greek. Aimee says, “We learned that smiles, applause, high-fives, and hugs are international.”
Using her ability to speak Arabic, Aimee listened to women share their stories about all they have lost, about their lack of hope, and their concerns for their children. Most of all, Aimee says, “I wanted them to know that they had not been forgotten in the dark of the refugee camp.”
“Teaching at LPC feels like coming home. I’m back on the same campus and in the same classrooms where my life was molded and shaped, but now, instead of sitting in a desk listening to a lecture I’m the one standing in front,”
While in high school, Aimee went on a youth trip to Juarez, Mexico. She experienced the tangible transforming power of God and decided to spend her life seeking out hopeless places and taking the message of true hope to people who live there.
She graduated from Life Pacific College in 2002 and earned a Masters of Education at Boise State University. While in Idaho, Aimee worked in a maximum security men’s prison where she was trained extensively in self-defense techniques.
Following one year teaching at San Diego State University, Aimee spent seven years abroad teaching English, caring for abandoned babies, and teaching self-defense classes for women.
In 2016, Aimee moved back to the United States and began teaching at her alma meter in San Dimas. “Teaching at LPC feels like coming home. I’m back on the same campus and in the same classrooms where my life was molded and shaped, but now, instead of sitting in a desk listening to a lecture I’m the one standing in front,” Aimee says.
Beyond teaching, Aimee is a mentor to other young women with a desire to reach the world – women like Jenny and Aby, the students who accompanied Aimee on the trip to Greece. They say their lives were transformed by the journey and the ministry Aimee shared with them there.
“Hearing and seeing the women encourage one another in different languages throughout the self-defense training was empowering and beautiful,” Jenny says.
She was particularly impacted by 8-month old Abdullah. She says the tight grip of his hands reminded her of the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40: “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me,” (MSG).
For Aimee Selby, these encounters of faith in the real world are what teaching is all about.
Aby concurs. “It’s hard to explain the feeling of being broken and remade simultaneously,” she says. “What has happened to these people is almost too much to take in.”
Two little girls that Aby met, Mais and Noor, brought small pieces of food to her. They wanted to share what they had with her in hopes that she would pick them up and hold them.
“They fed me before they would take a bite,” Aby says.
Then, she realized the children were picking the food up off the ground, scraps that others might have crushed under their feet. These children did not see waste. Instead, they wanted to be held.
For Aimee Selby, these encounters of faith in the real world are what teaching is all about. She has been accepted into a Ph.D of Intercultural Studies program and hopes to continue teaching at LPC. Further, Aimee plans to continue mentoring students and leading trips, like the one to Greece, as our students prepare to be laborers in the Lord’s harvest fields.