Eighteen hours on a plane. Eighteen days spent in Egypt. Eighteen pounds gained from eating French fries for dinner every night. Eighteen days that we’ve seen God on the move. Eighteen different activities to connect us to campers. Eighteen* cabins of Egyptian campers and counselors. Eighteen girls I was blessed to coach in volleyball. Eighteen hour days of coaching, singing, dancing, meeting, praying, loving, and more. Eighteen times I had the opportunity to share the gospel with campers. Eighteen plus relationships that I have made with coaches, campers, counselors and staff. Eighteen of the best days of my life.
If you were to tell me to describe Egypt in one word I would tell you indescribable. There is nothing this place can be compared to. The people are absolutely incredible. Unlike the movies portray, it is beautiful. And the malls are A1. Being in Egypt has taught me so many things about people, sports, God and so much more. So, let’s begin…
First up is people. I love to learn about different cultures around the world. I find it so fascinating how different others live their lives than we do in America. Getting to experience the Egyptian culture first hand has been so cool. These people go above and beyond in everything they do. For example, so much thought and effort went into every game that we played. Each night the entire camp played a game during a time called X-period, but it wasn’t your average hide & go seek or “Mission Impossible.” No. These are legit, very well thought out games. My favorite was the night we played ‘Clash of Clans.’ The game lasted about 5 hours and every camper had a role to play. For the sake of time, I’ll spare you most of the details. Basically, each group was given the task of building a tent then making a fire to cook dinner. They had to do “jobs” to earn money to in turn buy supplies. Like I mentioned earlier, my favorite part was that each camper had an assigned job. Whether that job was to be an artist, blacksmith, warrior among other things, they all had a role. They had to work as a team and rely on each other to get the job done so they could advance and earn more money. It was truly so cool to see how the kids came together to get the job done all while having tons of fun. I have one last thing to add about these precious people. They love like there’s no tomorrow (truly the way we all should love). For instance, if you told them you liked the shirt they were wearing, they would take it off right there and give it to you. This is not an exaggeration at all. This actually happened and it was such a great moment. They also know how to care for others and always made sure “The American Coaches” were okay. Honestly, they are just so great.
So now let’s talk sports. I have grown up playing and loving any and every sport. Little did I know then, that my love and passion would open so many doors in Egypt. God has a cool way of taking something you love and using it for His glory…imagine that. It was so great to see how we could really connect and get to know the campers through our specific sports. There was not a language barrier and all walls were broken down so easily. I loved getting to share my love for the game with the girls and pass it off to them. Don’t get me wrong, it was in no way easy, but soooooo worth it. It was so great to see how the girls improved from the beginning of the week to the end of the week. We gave three awards at the end of the week, one being Most Improved, and honestly if I had 18 awards to give I would have given each girl one. Another award that we gave was the MVP. Mak and I chose a girl that worked hard all week and had some real skill. It was so cool to see the joy in her eyes when we announced it was her. She lit up like a Christmas tree! In fact, she actually messaged me on Instagram today thanking me and saying how much she already missed us. They were right when they said you would build relationships that last a lifetime. The last award we gave was easily my favorite and went to the most deserving girl. It was the I am Third award. This went to a girl named Caroline or ‘Cookie’. Cookie has a heart of gold. She was encouraging to her teammates every day, always had a smile on her face, helped the other girls when they didn’t understand, and was so coachable. If this doesn’t resonate with you at all, just remember how much weight sports hold. They can bring you closer to a child or drive you away, break down barriers or put up walls, and give you the opportunity to share God’s love.
Number one take away from this trip… the God we serve in America is the same God we serve in Egypt. So, I always knew God is vast and stretches ocean to ocean, but it was so cool seeing that in first person. One thing that I will never ever forget is the first night we were here. We were all gathering in the main hall and music was playing in the background. The song “Our God is Greater” came and all the kids started singing. I was in complete awe. I made a comment about it to Cate and she looked at me like “duh, of course they know the words.” My eyes filled with tears because what(!!) these kids not only know Jesus, but they sing praises to Him. Y’all! That was easily one of the highlights of this trip. I say this a lot but I really mean it, God is so cool. He is on the move in Egypt and all around the world. And don’t forget it.
So, here’s the thing, this trip has been incredible. I have grown in so many ways and have truly seen God at work. I knew God would do great things here, but I had no idea how great. You will never understand how impactful and amazing this trip is until you experience it for yourself. God said, “Blessed be Egypt my people” (Isaiah 19:25) and I 100% agree (duh). The people in Egypt are blessed and bless those around them. It has been a privilege to serve on this team and share Jesus and sports with so many kiddos. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.
I’m leaving part of my heart here, but momma I’m coming home.