A Journey That Has Only Started

Wadi Sports camp is an oasis in the middle of the Egyptian desert where God’s work can be felt and seen. This is my third trip and every year my relationship with Christ grows stronger. In a selfish way this trip lets me refresh my relationship with God and now it’s up to me to continue seeking him. The campers, counselors, and staff have shown me great love and this love would not be possible without God. I want to share with you my story and how I saw God work in camp.

The whole Red River Ministries team took turns sharing their spiritual journey and how they got to Egypt. I was first to share, and although this was my third time I still was emotional. I first learned about God and his Son at a Pentecostal Church that my grandparents took me to. We went to church 3 times a week. I chose to be baptized when I was in the sixth grade and it’s when I accepted Jesus in my life. A couple years later I strayed away from church and lost the strong relationship with God I once had. High school is where everything took a turn for the worst. I was a terrible boyfriend to my now Wife, Deidra, and was even sometimes a bully to my friends. During my junior year, I was cut from the basketball team and to cope with that I turned to alcohol and drugs. This whole time God was present through Deidra because she continued to love me unconditionally, and I want to thank her for that. After high school, I joined the Navy because I wanted to serve my country and escape from all the corruption in my life. I did not serve my full time with the Navy, and I decided to leave early for many reasons. For a long time, I thought it was the wrong decision, but later in life I saw why God made this happen. After the Navy, I moved to Austin with Deidra and applied to UT. At first, I didn’t want to apply to UT because I thought I wouldn’t get accepted. I found out that the top ten percent rule only applies to students attending college right out of high school. Deidra pushed me and even wrote one of my essays! (I hope UT officials aren’t reading this!!) By the good grace of God, I got accepted in 2008 and began my college career. My first semester went well. I made all A’s except for Psychology where I got a B. I still had not sought God and didn’t let him back into my life. My relationship with Deidra was still bad, and I was still a horrible boyfriend. I turned to alcohol again and began to drink too much. My sophomore year I took a volleyball coaching class that was required because of my Kinesiology major. My professor’s name was Geoff Rich, and it was my favorite class as a student at UT. I learned so much from Geoff, such as discipline, passion, and especially love. During my junior year, my life started to turn for the better. Geoff asked me to be a TA (Teaching Assistant) in one of his basketball coaching classes. Our friendship grew stronger, and I continued to TA for him. At one point, I was his TA for 3 different classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday’s. We would go out to eat every single day right before softball class, and he always insisted on taking care of the tab. Geoff showed me so much love and allowed me to learn from him on a daily basis. My life began producing fruits that had been planted by Geoff’s faithfulness. Deidra and I started to treat each other with love, and I started to show others love. Then one day Geoff asked me to go to Egypt with him on a mission trip to a Christian sports camp. Of course, I said yes. Although we could not attend that year, we did the following year in 2014. Before deciding to come on this trip, Geoff married Deidra and I. I feel like without Geoff in my life I would not be the husband I am to Deidra. I also have a great relationship with my parents, and I also owe that to the love the Rich family has shown me. The relationship I have built with the whole family is great. GG (Geoff’s mom) even game me her old car when she bought her new car. One of my favorite bible verses to describe the Rich family is 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

For me, our trip to Wadi Sports Camp is about sharing the love I’ve learned from God to Egyptians. Whether that’s through encouraging campers, through the major I coach, or through the relationships I make with them and counselors. Let me share with you where I saw God work this trip. There is a camper named Karim Iskander. He is an awesome camper I met two years ago when we came for the first time. He was in my football major and won Man of Wadi for the third time in a row. He also won MVP for our major. This year he choose to be in Dodgeball and of course he excelled. When we went to choose teams, I asked him to be a captain. He picked the campers who normally would not get selected first. This humility is something you don’t see often in a teenager who loves to win and compete. The ultimate sign of love that I witnessed was when the Man of Wadi competition came around. Karim, who by this time had won it 5 times in a row, finished the swim first (over two minutes before any other competitor). Instead of getting out of the water to do the run, he swam more laps with his friend Noor who was struggling. Baher the MC was confused and kept telling Karim to get out the water since he had finished his 4 laps. Once everyone realized what he was doing everyone started cheering for Noor. Of course, Karim didn’t win Man of Wadi, but instead showed that he put God first, others second, and himself third.

Another amazing story is all the counselors who volunteer their time. One counselor specifically that comes to mind is Youssef (aka Toadz), who spends all his summer at camp. He works all four camps and leads the kids in worship at the concerts all without pay. Not only does he do this, but he has so much fun while doing it that you would believe he was a camper. In fact, you will always find Toadz with a smile and no shirt on. Other counselors travel from around the world like ourselves. So, not only is Wadi Sports Camp about sports, but also about how we can grow our relationship with God through sport and relational ministry. After most majors, we prayed as a group. I would asked for two volunteers -one to pray in Arabic and one in English. I would always remind them that Jesus loves them and we should honor him by loving him and others. Thank you for all your support and prayers. We have been incredibly blessed by this journey and now we have to continue to grow in our relationship with God back at home. If you want to see more pictures of our trip check our @rrmgoestoegypt on Instagram. 

Sincerely,

Alfonso Garza, Jr.

{Edited by Hayden Rich and Jackson Cummings}IMG_2301

Last day in paradise :(

Greetings from the TEXAS coaches lounge.  This is Grace, and I just want to start by saying this is my favorite place in the world.  My mom even calls this my happy place, and well, she is exactly right.  I love it here!  I love the people.  I love the camp.  I love the country.  I love this place.  This is indeed a taste of paradise.  So, it is with a tired body and a sad heart that I report today was our last day in paradise.  Well, our last day at camp anyway 😦

I just read Hayden’s blog.  Let’s be real, that boy can write.  I’m not going to try to match his level of vale(whatever it is called that I can’t spell) number one ranking in your class, but I do want to tell you about our last day here at camp.  Did I mention I love this place?!

The day started as a typical day with majors before breakfast.  First, let me say, that early in camp a bunch of the coaches got up early to go workout.  We would swim and maybe run or some would do push ups and stuff like that.  Well, today, for the third day in a row only my dad went to swim and work out.  He asks me everyday, but I just wasn’t feeling it today.  Sorry pops.

So, we went to majors and I coach volleyball with Chandler (and most days my dad).  He was showing around another group during majors, so Chandler and I led the campers in a mini-tournament where Team Grace, Team Cornflakes, and Team Akunamatoda played a round robin King of the Court style match play.  Not to brag, but Team Grace was undefeated….my team is pretty stacked!  Next, we gave out awards at the majors.  Each major gives out 3 awards.  MVP (Most valuable player); Most Improved; and I am third.  Ragy, Mira, and Alfred won these awards for our major.  I loved seeing their faces when we presented the awards to them.  Seeing their joy made me so happy!

After breakfast (yes, I had 5 donuts today…sorry dad), we had the big swim/run race called Man/Woman of the Wadi.  It is pretty dang intense.  My cousin Cate and I decided to tag team where I did the swim and she did the run.  We won our heat but it was still pretty dang hard.  I’m so glad I didn’t try to do the whole thing…maybe next year!

Next, we had a huge pool party where we hung out, played in the pool, played nine-square, had a belly flop contest, threw the frisbee around, and then watched the last version of hunger games (hard to explain but basically an on-going part of the program where one person from each cabin competes is some fun/exciting/crazy game).  Did I mention camp is crazy fun?!

After lunch, we had a break for a couple hours.  This time it was my dad’s turn to take a nap while me and a bunch of coaches went and played wally ball (volleyball on a squash court).  It is super intense and fun and the campers love it and so do the coaches.  Next, we had our last major of the session (sad face!) and then the last cabin competition.  After dinner, we had the huge camp war ball event and closing ceremony.  I loved it but also hated it.  It is not fun saying goodbye to these campers and staff that we all have become so close to.  My dad says every year that the days are super long but the weeks fly by, and he is right.  It seems like just yesterday we were touring the pyramids and pulling into camp.  Now we are saying goodbye to sweet friends that we love so much.  I love this place, and I love what God does in this place.  Each year they say they learn so much from us and camp would not be the same without us, but life would not be the same for me without this place.  I learn so much from them!  They are kind and generous and fun and loving and passionate and funny and bold and crazy….and this feels like a glimpse of paradise.

Thank you for praying for us and following the blog and being a part of this team.  We will come back and hope you will always join us.  Grace….signing off.

PS…Racheal, this is a shout out to you.  Hope you are having fun in Hawaii.  Can’t wait to have you on this trip next year.  I’m saving you a spot on the plane next to me 🙂

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

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Wadi Party = A Little Taste of Heaven

I know you have already heard from me this week but hey… I’m back at it again because I love this place! This is Hayden stepping in solo for this day’s rendition of the blog… Just so everyone knows, there is a running tally of how many views each post gets… so I’m fully expecting every viewer to step it up and make this blog post number one on amount of views… Now that we got that out of the way, let me reiterate my thanks for the support, love, prayers, and encouragement all of our viewers from home are sending our way. While I have said it before, it is worth saying again that we could not do this trip without you guys. I firmly believe that every Christ follower is called to “go” or be on mission, but that mission can be a myriad of things. Some people feel God’s gentle whisper to fly across the globe and serve in a different country, some feel moved to preach, others to encourage, love and do ministry right where they live, and others to fund the missions of others- so in a sense go on mission with them. So whatever you feel called to do… I want to personally voice a huge thank you. I’m sure you will get many more thanks when you get to meet your Lord and Savior.

Now for my day… I awoke from my 12 hour slumber… yeah you read that right… 12 HOURS!!! I slept from 7 pm-7am and it was glorious. P.s. thank you everyone for the prayers yesterday. I was feeling very weak and had a fever yesterday so my awesome team stepped it up and let me go to bed early. Anyway, I woke up feeling great and ready to AAAATACKKKK (a chant that will come back up later in this post) day seven!   My roommate Jackson, who also is my co-coach in ultimate, and I walked down to the ultimate fields to prepare for our morning ultimate frisbee major. Today was a pretty simple day as far as drills go… we did stretching, dynamic warmup (which were both lead by campers), partner passing, Mcflugen drill (defensive drill shown to us by the One and Only Hunter Ruffin- Hunter if you’re reading this, I miss you!), and an ultimate scrimmage. Also, shout out to the former MVP of this major last year who is now helping out as a counselor- Karim Wilson!! He’s the man and probably knows more about frisbee than Jackson and I combined. The major went awesome. These kids absolutely make my day and I laugh, love, and just feel excited when I’m with them. It is such a pleasure and a blessing to come half-way across the world to create and sustain life long friendships and bonds with people from an entirely different culture. This trip has been very similar and different than last year… This year has ignited a deep desire in me to learn to speak Arabic! I have learned a couple phrases from campers and staff but they still laugh at my accent. Next year, my dream is to be able to have a conversation with campers and staff in Arabic. If anyone is interested in learning it, here are a few phrases to start you off:

  1. La-ah = No
  2. Showkron = Thank you
  3. Bara = out (they say this a lot when they think you got hit in dodge ball)
  4. Cora = ball
  5. mesa mesa alnes acuoisah = good evening my good people
  6. ayasta = slang for what’s up bro
  7. a ya brince = slang for dude (literally means prince)
  8. Enta brince = you’re a ladies man
  9. Walet/ ash = oh boy!/ good job!
  10. wahet, eitnen, teleta = one, two, three (say this right before you peg someone with a dodgeball)
  11. habibi = my darling/ my friend/ my homie
  12. Ana bahebeck = I love you
  13. Yala = hurry
  14. besurah= quickly

Those are just a few to get you started. The funniest part about saying these Arabic words is once you yell them out… the kids go crazy and cheer and think you are the coolest American ever! One event that did not happen today but is worth mentioning is an intense and hilarious dance that a couple Egyptian staff members taught John, Meagan, Cate, Grace, and I. Before i describe the dance, I have to tell you what they told us… “If you do this dance, you will be the coolest people ever!” So, naturally we wanted to learn. The words to this song are all in Arabic- “Ente Málem Wannha Meneck Netálem”. Looks tricky huh? Well, you would be right because it took us probably around an hour to get the words memorized. Now the best part is the dance moves. While chanting this song, you will dance in a circle with four different dance moves. The first move consists of waving a “hang loose” sign up and down with both hands. The second move consists of crossing your left and right arm over each other in an X. The third move is touching your index finger to your forehead and the fourth is clapping loudly with your fingers spread wide. Now, there also is a secret move that they taught us but it’s not family friendly so I’m going to keep it off the blog for now. Needless to say, we were pretty cool after we learned the dance.

Okay, so after majors we headed to breakfast for our usual eggs, sausage, and crepes. Once we had our fill, it was off to a huge camp game called Pandemic. This game, much like the app, consisted of different areas of camp that were infected with a disease and it was up to the campers to save the day and cure Wadi. The “disease” was defeated or lessened at each area by the campers beating the counsellors/staff/coaches in the specific sport zoned for each area. I was in the volleyball zone with John and a counsellor named Fady (pronounced Fetty like the rapper). We got off to a rocky start with a camper team going on a 10-0 run but then we got in a groove and played really well. After time was eventually called, we all ran to the tennis courts to compete in a giant dodgeball game where campers won tubes of medicine to cure the disease for every five counsellors or coaches they got out. Finally, the campers got enough medicine and won the day. After this crazy morning, we had cabin clean up and then pool time and then lunch. At lunch, I got chosen to sing the Wadi lunch chant on the mic. It was pretty lit to say the least and I ended with the yell “AAAATTTACKKKK!!!” which is what they call meal time because everyone is running to get food. After lunch, a couple coaches and I went to the squash courts to play Walleyball (a mix between volleyball and squash), and it was a blast. Next, we had afternoon majors… and this might have been the best major yet. We got a bunch of staff and coaches on our team and played against all the campers. Our team won of course, but it was very competitive and we all loved it. After majors, I officiated Walleyball (and might have played a couple matches myself…). For dinner tonight, we had fries sandwiches and watched the boys soccer championship in the soccer stadium. This was very official and super exciting. The teams even had crazy celebrations for when they scored a goal such as taking a selfie with the crowd and doing the Hot-line-bling dance.

Once everyone got showered and cleaned up from the craziness of the day, we all met in the brand new building for worship songs and celebration. So if you will take a look at my title, you might notice it talk about a Wadi Party… And that’s just exactly what this was!! It was a room filled with over 300 campers, counsellors, coaches, and staff going crazy for God and praising him with all we had. We were jumping, dancing, yelling, shouting, and definitely sweating a whole lot. The lead singer is an incredible man nicknamed Toads and he absolutely killed it. He got everyone excited and it was a blast to be a part of. I even was on Grady’s (who is about 6’7″) shoulders for some of it and went crazy. We sang American songs such as “God’s not Dead”, and “This is Living” and even some Arabic songs. This lasted about an hour and I was jumping for every minute of it. As we finished and began to walk back to our hotel, I could not help but think this is a little taste of what heaven would be like… Billions of Christ followers just selling out and going crazy in awe, and in worship to our awesome creator! An abundance of joy, praise, honor, worship, gladness, and some sweat all being poured out to our God. We might not know all the words to each song but heck we are going to yell and dance like we do. And the coolest thing about it is… its gonna be every race, color of skin, gender, ethnicity, and culture singing in one voice… With Jesus as our lead vocalist… But until that party, I’m gonna stick with the Wadi Party!

As I wrap this thing up, I just want to say I’m so excited to be here for my second year in a row and plan on coming for as long as God calls me. This place has truly stolen my heart and I feel like I leave a little bit of me here every year. Rachael, if you are reading this, I hope Hawaii is fun and you are coming here next year! Anyways, the people here are incredible and I feel humbled to even set foot on a land that has so much relevance in history. I will forever love this country and will always want to return. Thanks for reading and God bless.

With Love,

Hayden Rich

P.S. I guess Alfonso did not edit this but he did sit on the couch next to me and keep me company (it’s 1:50 here and everyone else is asleep)

The Bomb (Tic Toc Toc)

Well hello there! This is Grady and Cate taking over the blog duties tonight. We are waiting on all of the team to meet in our coaches lounge…currently John and Jackson are talking about the physics of the movie “Interstellar”, Ryan is reading mean but funny texts from campers he just left back in Texas, grace is yelling down the hall for everyone else to come into the lounge, Alfonso is on Facebook, Scott is stretching, Geoff is asking what major wants to go to the pool for their major….and now there are several groups campaigning Geoff for pool time tomorrow, Garrick is reading a John Wooden book, Chandler and Megan are sharing tea and talking amongst themselves. I think we’re just missing Cate, Celina, Mellisa and Hayden…there ya go, a real time update of what this crazy group is doing, and the real time here is 11:07 Egypt time…this is Grady by the way. Ok…Cate and I are gonna switch spots for a bit! So here’s Cate!

Hey y’all!! It’s Cate telling everyone how awesome day 6 of Wadi Sports Camp was today!! Let me just start out by saying that this trip has been the most beautiful, special learning experiences. We had the blessing of getting to sleep in today and going to breakfast as opposed to getting up early and starting the day right off with majors (I coach baseball by the way;)). I know everyone here, whether a camper or coach, enjoyed this much needed rest.I started the day on the roof with a beautiful view reading about God’s love and being a light for others. After the classic eggs and sausage breakfast, we headed out to the only major of the day. My wonderful twenty four campers that do baseball with Scott and I played a real game of baseball today. As I’m sure you know Egyptians aren’t that familiar with baseball, so I didn’t expect them to pick it up quickly or be very good. But, these campers surprised me with a passion to learn and exceptional talent in the game. Today 90% of the players got hits or made contact with the ball after never touching a bat before and almost every player made an awesome play in the field. The game was full of energy and fun and it was a great start to my day. After baseball and reffing girls soccer with Ryan, we had the first X-Period of the day, the Hexathon. Ten coaches were assigned a cabin to run this race with them, time each event, and provide encouragement. I had Cabin 13, a great group of girls who I enjoyed running and working out in the heat with for two hours. That’s how most events are here, having a blast running around in the sun all day and not caring about the sweat because the people are just so wonderful and fun. During the break today Alfonso, Grace, Ryan, Chandler, and I played Wallyball together (and grace wants me to make sure everyone knows that her team won). Not only are the Egyptians amazing people, but this team y’all makes my day brighter and full of laughter and energy. Our last X-Period was called Tick Tock Tock… but I’ll let Grady tell you about that. I’m sad to say that there are only two days left, but excited to see what cool adventures, games, lessons, and friendships they bring. The relationships I have made have been some of the most precious I have ever made. Grady is currently playing a card game with the few people who stay up past our gatherings at night, but I’ll pass it on to him. Goodnight from Cate. Hereeeee’s Grady.

Mmmkay…So…let me reiterate how nice it was to sleep in a bit today! I started with a bit of John today. The gospel of John, not my co-coach John…I’ll get to that John in a second. I read about Jesus and the woman at the well. The image of water in this story and knowing they were in the heat of the day made the verse come a bit more alive knowing full well the brutality of the sun in the middle of the day and how alluring it would be to never thirst again! Living water to quench the soul! Then it was off to the other John and the campers in American football. When I first found out I would be coaching with an 18 year old, I have to admit that there was a tiny thought in my head that I would probably be doing most of the coaching myself. But man was I wrong! I feel like I’m out here with a salty 20 year veteran coach! If John’s not the governor of Texas one day he’ll make an excellent football coach! As Cate said we had a hexatholon…I was more floating around trying to encourage the campers running or during pushups, jumping rope. I felt like Mick and the Egyptians were Rocky! They did great! So in tic tock, the campers meet up and are informed that their counselors have been kidnapped and are left with a message as to how to find them. They have to decipher messages and defeat other groups in dodgeball type games to get more clues as to what to do and where to go next. I was stationed at the tennis courts where the campers tried to knock off pieces of pottery with a giant sling shot(that’s actually where the conversation of the physics of “Interstellar” started…I’m still confused by that movie). Anyway, their last challenge to free their counselor was to disarm a bomb that was set up on the top floor in one of the rooms of the hotel…wait just to make sure we’re all on the same page, it wasn’t a real bomb…I know tensions are bit high back home…and thanks for the prayers in that regard! Keep praying! But man!! It really looked like a ticking time bomb!!! Shady gave some of us one of the little suitcases with a “bomb” in it for us to disarm in the coaches lounge. It was quite a process! Three separate sets of steps of instructions that included connecting wires, buttons, knobs, switches, jumpers and triggers…I don’t know about the younger crew but I for one felt like McGyver! All we needed was a screwdriver and some duct tape and we wouldn’t have set the bomb off twice…which we definitely did! Oh well! It was definitely an eventful day! I can’t believe we only have two days left…but I’m also grateful to have two more days with these great campers, counselors, administrators, coaches and anyone else I may be leaving out! Two more wonderful days at this magic place! Ok…another real time update…it is 1:11 in the a.m. Egypt time! Goodnight!! I love you all!!! ZZZ

 

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

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RRM goes to Alexandria

Melissa and Garrick sharing our words with you today and what a grand day it was!  Before we get started we want to reiterate how much all your prayers, positive thoughts and vibes have impacted us.  All of you back home have an imprint here in Egypt!

Garrick here in this starting round.  What a magnificent place Egypt is!  Day 5 allowed us the opportunity to take in the beautiful port city of Alexandria.  Our day started with majors. For those of you that don’t know,  I have the basketball major with Celina.  It’s been a fun time working on how to best engage these campers to enjoy the one sport I love dearly!   With such little time to make huge gains in skill and understanding, we introduced “Ultimate Basketball” to them.  Ultimate Basketball is like Ultimate Frisbee, but with a basketball.  You aren’t allowed to dribble and you can’t run with the ball (jump stopping is ideal).  You can score 1 point for hitting the backboard and 3 points for making a basket.  This game helps teach passing, ball security, moving without the ball and allows them to have more opportunities to score more easily.  They loved it!  We played 2 games to 11 and then ended with knockout.  I think we are going to star and highlight using Ultimate Basketball for the future because of how much fun they had!

Shortly after breakfast we boarded the “Cruiser” and made our way to Alexandria.   On the way there, it felt like we were in a real life version of Grand Theft Auto (the video game) when our very impressive driver made a U-turn onto the exit ramp and proceeded to make another U-turn to get into the correct flow of traffic on the highway.  Yes at one point we were going head on with highway traffic, but if you were in the van with this driver as much as we have been you wouldn’t fret at all–this guy has moves with that stick shift Cruiser.

An hour or so later, we found ourselves in the city of Alexandria.  Our destinations were the Citadel of Qaitbay, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Azza Ice Cream Shop, and the Alexandria Carrefour (mall).  Our first stop was the Citadel and as someone who thoroughly enjoys beautiful coastal views, this fort did not disappoint.  Built in the 15th century,  this harbor fortress was on top of the Mediterranean Sea with an amazing panoramic view of the city to its back.  It was cool to walk in the base itself and imagine how the soldiers would have lived at that seaport.

After spending 45 minutes or so exploring the Citadel, we went to Azza’s Ice Cream Shop and had ourselves a little treat in the heat.  They had mango, lemon, strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate.  I had chocolate and strawberry, but I was able to try some of Grace’s mango and it tasted exactly like a real mango. I definitely chose wrong, but I was not disappointing– they were all delicious and what made it better was being able to share it with great company!  Our next stop was the Alexandria Library, but today was the one day it was closed unfortunately.  We were still able to walk around the premises and take in some of the art and architecture.  From a design standpoint, it was one of the more impressive buildings on the coast.

Next stop was the Alexandria Carrefour which is where I’ll hand off to Melissa, but before I do I just wanted to say that Jackson, Scott, Meagan, Shelby, Chandler and I were able to sit down and enjoy an authentic Egyptian/Arabic/Oriental meal at Ebn El Balad  and  no one got sick–at least not yet!  It was a very tasty meal; we were all very glad we were able to experience that.  I wish I could tell you what we ordered, but I can’t remember or even say half the stuff we ordered and the rest of the group is asleep!

Cheers to a fulfilling time serving in God’s name here in Egypt.   Can’t believe we are just over half way through!  Crazy blessed….

Hi y’all, this is Melissa now taking over.. As Garrick said today was definitely not a typical day at camp. Well aside from the morning because we still had majors and breakfast in Wadi before we took our “day off.” Anyhow as some may already know I am the dodgeball coach along with my colleague Alfonso. Today at majors we basically just started with a dynamic warm-up as always and finally started playing actual dodgeball since we’ve only been working on throwing and catching drills. After playing a few games the kids taught be a special Egyptian dance, which in all honesty I was not very good at, thus I promised them I would practice and have it down to a T by day 8! Once majors were over we ate breakfast with the campers and then left to our Alexandria adventures, which I will fast forward to being at the mall since Garrick kindly shared the first part with y’all. So I actually ate Ruby Tuesday for lunch and only because I was low key missing my American food, I ate some delicious hot wings and a tasty parmesan chicken pasta (yes, I eat a lot). After having a great american lunch, I simply walked around the mall and was in fact very flabbergasted to see many familiar stores and brands.

Our time was then up to come back to Wadi and to our lovely campers. When we arrived back to the camp site, the campers were having a Carnival. The carnival consisted of all sorts of games and foods. There was fried oreos, cotton candy, baked sweet potato, popcorn, slushies, and my ultimate favorite.. pizza! Food and games were not just it though, the carnival also consisted of a talent show where a few campers/counselors/coaches had the opportunity to share their talents, and lastly they had a crazy magician named Chico that got me every time (I would explain the kinds of card tricks he played on me but I don’t want to confuse you all, plus I’m still trying to figure out myself.)

Without a doubt, I had and am sure everyone one else had a great time in Alexandria. I really liked it because it was, to me, more greenzy than Cairo and I love seeing nature’s beautiful green. I must say that my favorite part of the day was at Citadel. Seriously, there’s nothing like a sea breeze, a “Mediterranean Sea breeze” to put a smile on your face, especially when you have no other choice than to wear pants- yellow polk dotted pants in like a 101 degree weather!

It’s been a true pleasure and honor from God to be able to share our daily lives at camp with you all. I sincerely thank each and every single person out there praying for us in hope to demonstrate faith in the midst of fear (and heat), seriously thank you! God bless

 

 

Red River Ministries 

Wadi Sports Camp

Ishta (cool/chill)

Ryan and Celina, checking onto the blog for the day.  Now the title of this post is a little ironic.  We made “Ishta” the title because a lot of kids have been coming up to us saying, “Ishta Ryan!  Ishta Celina!” which is basically their way of saying you are cool and awesome and chill.  Now that’s not very ironic (because it’s pretty obvious that we are all cool).  But, what is ironic is the fact that today was literally the hottest it has been all week.  Without a breeze or clouds, the sun was directly on us, and man it was brutal!  A little bit of sun does not phase us coaches, and, even with sessions and BOTH majors being in the early heat of the day, today was an absolutely amazing day filled with much excitement and entertainment.  So, Celina is going to take the reins and tell you about some of the awesome stuff that went on at camp today!

It’s Celina! Excited to give everyone an update on day 4 of camp! To start, I am coaching the basketball major along with Garrick. We had two majors this morning instead of one in the morning and one in the evening as usual so we were all very busy this morning. However, instead of coaching the first major this morning, my group went to zip line. I got to choose to either go with them and watch or go check out another major. I chose to head to the dodgeball courts and watch the team sports major. Since we were not using the court that morning, the team sports major decided to take advantage of a new game. They played a game called “ultimate basketball,” which is a combination of ultimate frisbee and basketball. The campers really seemed to enjoy this game.

Next we had sessions, where Ryan and I were officiating a game called Kan-Jam together, which is basically ultimate frisbee with a can that you can score into for extra points. After officiating, we headed to our second session of majors. For basketball today, we worked on defense. We taught them how to always be aware of two things, where the person you are guarding is, and where the ball is. Everyday for majors, Garrick and I, implement a small teaching lesson, followed by a game where they can put the skills they learned to use. However, since the second session was short, we decided to just let them play 5 on 5. You could tell the kids were a little worn out today, which I think everyone was especially today since it felt like one of the hotter days we have had so far.

The night ended with an amazing concert put on by some of the counselors and staff. The kids absolutely loved it! The music was loud, the kids as well as some of us coaches were all up jumping on our feet, we had a blast! They played four songs, 3 in English, and the last in Arabic. It was amazing to see all the kids in there all going after God and having so much fun doing it. It was truly a sight to see.  Now, Ryan is going to talk about his day!

Ishta, Yasta my people! It’s Ryan.  Day 4 has proved that each day just gets better and better out here at Wadi.  I still continue to wake up at 8:08 each morning to John walking out of the room saying, “Hey Ryan, you might want to get up.  Majors start in 12 minutes.”  So, this morning I scrambled rapidly to head down for some very fun tennis majors.  It is always kind of hard to coach tennis when you have only been awake for 15 minutes, but nonetheless, today’s tennis majors were awesome.  After having taught them over the past few days the proper technique for a forehand, backhand, volley, and serve, along with teaching them the rules, we let them get some real tennis play in.  We also played a lot of soccer tennis and other tennis oriented games.  Todo (the MC of camp this week) even came and played tennis with us for a little bit, which made majors even more exciting.

As Celina wrote, we worked Kan-Jam together, so I won’t reiterate that.  But, after majors, sessions, and lunch, a group of us coaches decided to skip out on rest period and spend some time at the zip line.  Now skipping out on rest period is a bold move.  Rest period is a very sacred and coveted time here by us coaches.  But spending it on the zip line was time well spent.  Some pictures can be seen below.  Now, why were all of the majors and sessions in the morning today?  Well, today the X-period was an extremely long and eventful one.  For four hours the kids played real life Clash of Clans.  Each cabin was put into a Clan.  The goal was to level up your Clan so that you could purchase items from the store in order to build a village.  Kids would go around the camp working at various stations to level up and earn gold for their clan.  To show that a kid had leveled up, us coaches would write the level of a certain activity on their arm (nearing the end you would see kids who had their arms completely covered in ink, it was pretty funny to see).  Once this had all finished and each clan had built their campground, they would then build a fire, which they would use to cook hamburgers (and, oh, how delicious those hamburgers were).  The kids absolutely loved this X-period, and it was an absolute joy to watch them have such a great time.

Today was overall tons of fun. It was definitely long but we were having such an amazing time that most of us lost track of time. We are all very excited for tomorrow since we are taking a small break from camp and traveling to the city of Alexandria to visit. We are all excited for what God is doing in the lives of these children and in our lives as well. The days keep getting better and better. Thank you for your continual prayer and support! Goodnight everyone!

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

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Blessed Be Egypt my people – Isaiah 19:25

Chandler and Jackson taking over the blog today. Our team knows we have a lot of people back praying for us and our time here in Egypt. We really appreciate all of the love and support you all have given us. We would not be here without y’all, and we are so thankful for your thoughts and prayers.

Jackson:

Day three kicked off with a powerful scene early this morning at WSC. Each cabin of twelve campers were awoken at 6:30, an hour earlier than usual, to the task of carrying a large cross around the camp property three times. The campers worked as teams to carry the large crosses around in the sun for about an hour. They finished their march in a big open area in the sand where twenty holes had been dug for the twenty crosses. After placing their crosses in the ground the campers all gathered together to listen to a short message of the crucifixion. The message finished with the challenge of a response to the questions of “Do you believe Jesus died and rose again for you, to pay the price for your sin? Do you believe what is written in the gospel account of the crucifixion? Do you believe God loves you so much that he would do this?” Yes, no, maybe? Many campers spent a few minutes thinking, contemplating, and praying at the foot of their cross after this question. It was my first time hearing the story of the cross, the greatest story of all time, in arabic. The camp director, Shady, translated it for a few of us monolingual Americans standing by. I have heard this same story so many times and it never gets old. I was reminded of what I really deserve and what I was given instead. We are never too far in our walks of faith, too wise, too old, or too mature to sit in awe and wonder of what happened on that cross. I challenge you, the readers of this blog, to read the story of the cross today. Or are you too busy to spend ten minutes to do so?  😉

The cross walk was followed by breakfast and then it was off to the football stadium for the Civil Wars! This was honestly the most creative thing I have ever seen at any camp I have ever been to. I will do my best to be short in illustrating what “Civil Wars” was. Campers were split into five teams and were tasked with constructing two cranes each. Pictures of these massive mechanisms are shown below. As some of the team worked on building the cranes, others had to do various workouts (pushups, sit-ups, stairs, etc.) to earn points. They would then be able to trade these points in for cardboard boxes. The boxes would then be used to stack up on their tarps to create cities (stacks of boxes), but they had to use the cranes to move the boxes on to the tarps. Once the cities were constructed the teams were given 5 minutes to launch dodge balls at the cities of the other teams using giant slingshots. After the war, an evaluation of the cities was done by some staff to award one team with the honor of winning Civil Wars. The campers enjoyed every bit of it… even the sit-ups. After the winning team was crowned, it was time for lunch.

In the afternoon it was back to “majors”. I have the privilege of coaching ultimate frisbee alongside Hayden to fifteen kids (15-18 yrs old) during majors time. This is definitely one of my favorite parts of each day. Ultimate is not very common at all here in Egypt and these kids really want to learn how to play well. I don’t have much experience coaching any sport really, but these kids are really good listeners so they make my job pretty easy. Our hour to hour and a half at the frisbee major typically is run in the following structure: Stretch, dynamic warmup, paired passing, one or two short drills or scrimmage, circle up. For many of them they are playing their first games of ultimate this week! At the end of each frisbee major, we circle up and pose a couple questions to the campers. It has been so awesome to listen to their responses and get to know these kids.

Hey! It’s Chandler taking over. I am humbled to be the volleyball coach here at Wadi Sports Camp. As you can see, the kids have been extremely active throughout the day, so in majors today, Grace and I decided to let the campers attempt to play an actual game. Since so many kids love volley, as the Egyptians like to say, Grace and I like to split the class in half in order to get all 32 kids playing as much as possible. Grace took a group of 12 into the Wallyball courts, where teams play 4v4 on a racquetball court. The campers absolutely loved this game. Since the courts are smaller and walls actually work to a team’s advantage, games become more intense. I stayed outside with the other two teams and played two games to 25, the Cornflakes vs Hakuna Matata. To see the campers actually learning the rotations and making legal attacks on the ball with huge smiles on their face makes standing in the blistering sun that much more worth it.

After majors and sessions, the campers showered and scampered off to dinner to enjoy a scrumptious plate of fries and sandwiches. Campers were once again “carbed” up and ready for the night activity. iWars began on the tennis courts, where a similarity between Egyptian and American cultures was highlighted once again. Egyptians are just as obsessed with their iPhones and Apps as we are in America. 20 Apps were set up along the border of the tennis courts, ranging from Snapchat to Pinterest to Shazam and Heads Up. Teams had about a minute to complete each App task in order to receive a score between 1-10, based on how the team performed in the App determined how high or low the team would score. I had the privilege to work the Shazam App and absolutely loved it. I would play 30 seconds of popular songs and the campers would have to guess the name of the song, if they answered all 10 correctly, they would receive a 10/10. The winner of iWars was determined by the highest score after adding up all 20 apps’ scores. Seeing the cabins work together, while laughing and cheering, truly solidifies why, we as coaches, are here. God is working in mysterious ways and I know this camp is a living testament to that.

One of the most amazing things about this place is seeing all the similarities between cultures. And even though we are thousands of miles a part from one another, God works through each individual in the same way and loves us all the same. During a typical day at camp, you can hear multiple languages spoken at once, but one thing is certain, the human heart beats the same in each one of us and beats for the same God up above, He hears all prayers in every language. We are excited to see how He continues to work through each one of us, but for now, it’s time for us to rest up for yet another exciting day here at camp! Sleep tight!

Wadi Sports Camp

Red River Ministries

 

 

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