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Former Texas Longhorns LB Emmanuel Acho pens piece on mission work in Africa

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The NFL free agent writes about his two weeks in Nigeria for The Players’ Tribune.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Acho’s time with the Texas Longhorns ended long ago. Now an NFL free agent, he’s used a portion of his offseason to visit other cultures and volunteer his time.

After a recent trip to Nigeria, Acho wrote his own piece on the experience for the Players’ Tribune:

Acho remains a free agent late in the offseason, a prospect which is making him a little nervous. But he gained a new perspective on the situation on his trip to Africa.

Why Nigeria specifically? Because his father was born there in a town called Isuikwuato and started Living Hope Christian Ministries after moving to the U.S. The trip is a family tradition of sorts, with his parents visiting regularly over the past three decades to provide medical aid for the locals.

Joining Emmanuel was his older brother, Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho, and De’Vante Bausby, also with the Bears.

On the trip, Emmanuel Acho learned the following eight lessons:

1: In America we're overwhelmingly blessed, but have underwhelming gratitude

2: Fear of the unknown is no excuse

3: Money does not equal happiness

4: The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few

5: They say it is better to give than receive, but I say the two aren’t mutually exclusive

6: There is a level of poverty that is completely foreign to Americans

7: A life lived selfishly is not worth living

8: God’s grace abounds

In a country where 60 percent of the population lives off less than a dollar a day, Acho learned a lot. All of these were important for Acho, who would be living in Nigeria himself had missionaries not heard his father preaching back in the 1970s and decided to bring him back to the U.S.

During my two weeks in Nigeria, I often found myself depressed and dejected over the conditions in which I saw people living. I realized that in a world filled with so much injustice, we can either passively give in, or take a stand and try to fix things. I choose the latter. Even though change can’t happen all at once, it can occur one person at a time. I saw this firsthand in Nigeria. And this is the most important thing I’d like to share with my fellow Americans. It’s nothing short of a blessing that we are privileged enough to be put in a position to make a difference in the lives of others.