Two summers ago, upon graduating from college at the University of North Texas, I had prepared to voyage with the American team to coach at Wadi Sports Camp in Egypt; within 24 hours of departure, a series of riots and turmoil broke out inside the country and prevented us from making it to camp. While I was greatly saddened, I continued to pray for the people of Egypt and for another opportunity, in His timing, to visit and serve. Since then, I have been working for the past two years as a CPA at a public accounting firm in Dallas. Most days I really do enjoy my job; however, with the “professional” title also comes the many responsibilities, deadlines, and stress of the corporate world. Over time, these daunting tasks have built up, and without even realizing it, I feel it is almost as though a small piece of my soul was lost in the bustle of Corporate America. Camp has always been place of solitude for me, and in preparing for this trip, I felt the Lord calling me to trust Him and serve in Egypt.
“Life” around here is starting to become a norm; I am [slowly] picking up phrases of Arabic and love being at camp with the Egyptians. Last night I made friends with Emma and Sama, who are the true kids of camp. At 5 and 6 years old, they informed me that I should try to learn Arabic, as some of the campers don’t know English and it might be confusing for them if I cannot speak to them in their language. They also informed me they would give me five vocabulary words a day, to help me become fluent by the end of camp. Today, at pool time, they followed up on their vocabulary lessons and then proceeded to play beauty shop with me in the pool. By the end of our pool break, I was speaking [awfully] in Arabic with Princess Leia buns. These girls bring so much joy to my life!
Day 5 started out with the campers’ “major” sport (yes, before breakfast). Tennis is my all-time favorite sport, so I am so thrilled to be able to share and teach the game with my class of 18 students. Today, we attempted to master the “serve”, which is one of the hardest but most important shot of the game. As I was individually critiquing the students, I was able to assist one of my students (Bassle) with a minor tweak in the timing of his serve. It was definitely an “ah-hah” moment as a coach, as he hit the next 5 serves in and proceeded to grin ear to ear with excitement. Additionally, as he is an Egyptian that has lived in England for the past 9 years, he proceeded to thank me in proper English, which never fails to make a coach like me smile.
After “majors” was breakfast, then Wadi Warz in which the campers broke out into teams (Alpha and Omega) to compete in various activities you would see at an American “field day”, such as volleyball, a tire/rope course, and water balloon toss. However, in Egyptian style, this game had a mobile app which displayed a map of the camp and tracked the winning team at each station. One of my favorite things about the Egyptian culture is their competitiveness and pride in winning. Today, this “drive” resulted in an intense two hour match of 2 on 6 volleyball for Alfonso and Shelby. The rules of the game were to see which team, Alpha or Omega, could get 5 points against the two coaches, in the least amount of time. The campers’ strategy was to wear out the coaches through consecutive matches, which would result in easier matches and faster points for their team. It was a constant battle of power between teams Alpha and Omega. In watching, it amazed me how zealous the campers are for their teams; as soon as a new time record was set, the opposing team would flash onto the court to fight and be better. Every point, even every little victory, the Egyptians go wild with cheer and excitement to encourage their teammates on.
This energy is prevalent in every event here at camp; every detail is well thought / planned out and every victory is celebrated. And that is also why sharing the love of Jesus here at camp has such an incredible power. The Egyptian people are not mediocre beings; they are passionate people who live and act on that in which they believe. I can see God working in the lives of the students and staff here at camp and cannot wait to see what else is in store. Keep praying for Egypt!