Day 6 & 7

Family and friends,

Day 6 was one of my favorite days of camp because there were so many activities. In American Football we started playing full games and they seemed to really enjoy that. Geoff came over to the major and suggested we kick field goals over a soccer goal. That was a brilliant idea because the campers love to kick balls so they picked up on it quick.

There were two games played on day 6 Championship and Commandoes. Championship was an Alpha and Omega competition were campers signed up to play one sport. The sports were dodgeball, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Dinner was served during the boys soccer match and I was able to officiate the match. It was a great experience to officiate an important match especially since it was the main event. Commandoes was a cabin competition where they tried to reach a destination without being caught by one of the councilors. It was a bit dangerous because they turn off most lights but the campers really enjoy this game.

Day 7, the last day of camp, involved majors, Man & Women of Wadi, War-Ball, and closing ceremony. American football could not have gone any better. The boys were playing full games and leading themselves without much coaching. One of the campers told me this was his favorite major so far at Wadi. It was awesome to get that kind of feedback because I wanted to provide the best coaching I could. I gave out awards for MVP, Most Improved, and Best Attitude. Man and Women of Wadi is a swimming and running competition. The guys swim 4 laps and run 4 laps around the Wadi track while the girls swim 2 laps and run 2 laps. Aaron was our representative and did well! He placed 2nd in his heat and 3rd overall if I’m not mistaken. The closing ceremony was bittersweet because you didn’t want camp to end but I was ready for a break. The next morning it was goodbye and I took more selfies than I have ever taken! Egyptians really like to take selfies!!! It was hard saying goodbye to all the campers and I felt so much love from them. We will keep in touch and hopefully get to see them down the road.

God is great in so many ways and showed me why he brought me to Egypt. I was able to trust and have faith in him and was rewarded. My wife got a job while I was at camp after months of trying. And I was able to make an impact on these Egyptian campers. I will continue to serve God in any way I can because the joy that fills my heart is great.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the team of American coaches for their support and passion to serve with one another. I especially want to thank Geoff  and the Rich family for changing my life. A special shout out to my favorite Aggie Chris! You have been a great help and I hope we can continue to serve God together.

Sincerely,

Alfonso Garza, Jr.

Alexandria

Family and friends,

Today we had two morning majors before we took a day trip to Alexandria. My major campers are looking better and better. They are stating to run complex plays and are looking more organized. Over the last two days I hope to fine tune their rules knowledge and play selection.

Our trip to Alexandria started at a place called Fish Market where their slogan is “Best seafood in town”. Fish Market overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and was by far the best seafood meal I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. I even tried new things like hummus, which was really good. Also for the first time I had muscles (clams) and to my surprise I also enjoyed them. Of course we had fried and grilled fish as well as grilled shrimp. For dessert we had local Egyptian ice cream on a waffle cone. We then took a stroll on the pier next to the Citadel of Qaitbay also overlooking the Mediterranean. Lastly we went to the Alexandria Library which was close due to Ramadan. But it was cool to see it up close and walk around.

I forgot to mention in my last blog that I tried the bidet for the first time and it changed my life!!!

Sincerely,
Alfonso Garza, Jr.

 

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

Day 4

Family and friends,

Today we skipped morning majors to play an elaborate game called Bembem. Campers did push ups, running stairs, sit ups, completed sudoku puzzles, and ran laps to earn fake money (Egyptian Pounds). They then had to buy materials to make a costume of a super hero. The costume was judged by the American coaches on appearance and durability based on an obstacle course they ran. Some of the super heroes were Snow Woman, Jungle Man, Captain Wadi, Glitter Man, and Cat Woman to name a few. Of course my cabin and their sister cabin 14 won the game!

Next was afternoon majors and American football is starting to look better and better. We are almost to the point where they can run a play against a live defense. After majors we had cabin competitions where I officiated dodgeball. Dodgeball is real serious in Wadi they even have their own cage courts. The game is so intense that we had to stop the action a couple of times so that the campers can cool down. It’s awesome though because competition is the same no matter what part of the world your in.

Today was the first time I joined the campers in the pool. We were throwing the football around and competing to see who could hold their breath the longest. It was a ton of fun especially since I get to talk to them about anything. And the more I talk to them the more I see how smart they are. Most of them can speak 3 languages. Of course they speak Arabic and some of the other languages are English, German, French, and Spanish.

We ended the night with a game called iWars where apps where transform into real life. Some of the stations included Instagram, Maps, Heads Up, Slam Dunk, and the Holy Bible. I was in charge of the station called Magnified photo where they had to guess what was the object on the picture while magnified. Some of the pictures were the Eiffel Tower, E.T., Sunflower, and a donut.

God has shown me so much on this trip and it has been a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to continue to grow as a husband, son, brother, and friend through God.

Sincerely,
Alfonso Garza, Jr.

 

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

Day 3

Family and friends,

First I would like to pass on a message from my cabin 4 campers…”Please tell them that we don’t ride camels to school, and that we don’t live in pyramids, and that we don’t dance like everyone thinks we dance, we do watch Disney movies, and we do mostly everything that Americans do…”. They made me promise I would share this back home.

This morning my Major which is American Football (Flag Football) was cancelled because they went to the ropes course. So I had the opportunity to train with the Soccer Major and see how good Egyptians are. They have incredible footwork and love for the game. Of course we played World Cup and Shadi (a camper) and I were Mexico!!! We didn’t win but we had a ton of fun.

Next we played a gamed called Legends. Campers competed in six categories to become either Bolt, Messi, Carl Lewis, Einstein, Phelps, and Robin Hood Legends. Each legend had 5 stations. I was a part of Carl Lewis and was in charge of the long jump. I also officiated cabin Alpha and Omega volleyball challenge were the Alpha’s took a commanding 2-0 win.

To end the night we attended the Wadi Party. They like to say No One Parties like a Wadi Party.

The kids are really starting to open up to us American coaches. I think we are beyond the awkward two day stage where they don’t know how to act with us. God is really opening up the reason I came to serve the people of Egypt. I want to thank Geoff and our entire team on giving me he opportunity to not only learn from them but serve God with them.

Sincerely,
Alfonso Garza, Jr.

p.s.
I’m posting picture on Instagram during the day so follow me if you’d like to see.
My name is alfonsogarza23.

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

Day 1 & 2

Family and friends,

The past two days have been amazing and filled with awesome activities. The campers arrived and had a great opening ceremony. I had an opportunity to start coaching football and to be honest I’m learning just as much as they are. Geoff and Greg have been a wonderful help to me guiding me since it’s been many years from my middle school football days. I also was paired with a cabin and have participated with them in their games and challenges. One of the activities we did today was a treasure hunt were they had to built a boat out of noodles and wood and travel across the swimming pool to get their final clue. In the end the prize was chocolate. I also had an opportunity to practice my Spanish with an Egyptian counselor. She could not remember some phrases so later she ran up to me looking at some notes on her phone and spoke with me in Spanish!! I thought it was very sweet of her to try so hard to speak with me. Here name is Farah which means joy in Arabic. Pictures will be coming soon!

I would like to share a verse I learned from Chris tonight during our devotional:
“If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?”  1 John 4:20

Again if you would like to see the website for the Wadi Sports Camp or Red River Ministries just click on the name and you will find more information.

Sincerely,
Alfonso Garza, Jr.

Camp training and fun!

Family and Friends,

Yesterday we spend the day finishing up the W3 camp which is early high school. I got to help and watch flag football, or American Football as they like to cal it, and really enjoyed the crazy plays they came up with. We are actually the first team of American coaches to come to since 2011 so all the sports have been coached by Egyptians. Most kids were able to throw a spiral which was a surprise but the Egyptian coaches have themselves come to camp as campers.

The Oscars was next on the agenda and was a great show. Throughout camp cabins teamed up and created videos based on their core values and categories. The videos/movies were actually pretty good and my favorite one was the winner for best motion picture. It was an Energy Drink commercial which incorporated some comedy. It was also the easiest to follow since the movies were all in Arabic. Speaking of Arabic, most kids know English and most of them speak it better than me! There was even a camper from Spain who I got to practice Spanish with. Back to Oscars, all the campers wore elastic bow ties to keep with the Oscars spirit. Also replica trophies were handed out to campers for best script, best supporting actor/actress, best actor/actress. My favorite part of Oscars night was the performances. Greg got up there and played a son called Marry Did You Know while he played the acoustic guitar. He has a great voice and received a standing ovation. Next we had a Egyptian sing Let it Go from Frozen! Yes you read that right Frozen!!! She did a wonderful job and brought a great smile to my face. I know my wife would have loved it since she is a big fan of Frozen.

During lunch R. Kelly magically stopped everyone with the song I  Believe I can Fly. Everyone jumped up to their feet or on their chair and waved their arms up and down as if they were flying! They all began signing every single word and even carried one camper across the dinning room with his arms extended forward. This is apparently normal in any camp but since this is my first experience with camp life, American or Egyptian, that I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Their prayer for lunch was also pretty cool. It was a prayer done with the tune of We Will Rock You. I will try to record all the awesomeness and take lots of pictures.

We ended the day with dodgeball and basketball were our team participated. Then for closing ceremonies the campers played WarBall which is a huge game of dodgeball  50 v 50. The winners would win the championship between Alpha’s and Omega’s. The campers are separated by cabin and in two between Alpha’s and Omega’s. And if the campers return to camp they stay with the Alpha or Omega teams respectively. So of course the counselors have their favorites since they were campers once. They try to be neutral but it’s hard as some of you can imagine. Awards were handed out and final prayer was said. The night ended with fireworks!

Sincerely,
Alfonso Garza, Jr.

Arrival in Egypt!

Family and friends,

Our Red River Ministries has arrived in Egypt and we are settling in. On our way to camp we got a glimpse of the Giza Pyramids!! Tomorrow we will help finish up a ongoing camp and come Sunday we start our sports camp. Our team will be teaching Baseball (Greg), Tennis (Aaron), Basketball (Daniel), Volleyball (Chris), American Football (Myself), and our team leader Geoff will be roaming. We will take lots of pictures and shoot video so be on the look out for it. Our bags did not make it to Cairo from our connecting flight in Frankfurt. So for the moment we don’t have any of our possessions. However, the team is in good spirits and we are about to enjoy a concert before much needed rest.

Sincerely,

Alfonso Garza, Jr.