Well, I guess it is about time I take a turn writing the blog. This is Chris, and I love Egypt. I have spent some of the best moments of my life in this place. This is my fifth time coming to Wadi Sports Camp. Each time has been a completely different experience. But there is always a common thread. The people. Why do we love this place? Because of Fady and Taline and Ramez and Mena and Youssef. The list goes on and on.
I am experiencing the trip through a different lens this summer. I have the privilege of co-leading the trip with Geoff and bringing some college students from Texas A&M to see what is so special about this place we all love. I have never appreciated the effort and intentionality that goes into creating a team that can serve selflessly while encouraging and challenging each other before now. Camp is NOT easy. It is a grind. The schedule is non-stop. Honestly it would be tough if we were in America. Then transport that team into a foreign environment…it can be brutal. And it can tear a team apart.
So when Geoff asked me to bring some students and join in with the team he was putting together for this summer, I was excited. But I also knew it wouldn’t be easy. Camp has a way of highlighting your weaknesses. Maybe it is because we convince ourselves we need to be strong coaches. Maybe it is because we have American pride. Whatever the reason, we tend to attempt to take on the stress of camp in our own strength. Only to find out we can’t tame this beast on our own.
It is in this space that we see 2 Cor 12:9 played out so perfectly. “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
Every camp has its own set of highlights. But two things really stand out for me this week. First, seeing our team bond so quickly and then support each other to invest all of their energy into the campers is amazing. Dustin mentioned it earlier this week, sport is a universal language. So it doesn’t matter how much, or how little the team knew Arabic when they stepped off the plane. Their willingness to connect with students has opened doors for them to have incredible conversations that will potentially shape eternity for some of these campers.
The second highlight for me has been reconnecting with campers I met on previous trips. Some of them are campers again but a few years older. Others are now counselors. I got to talk with Taline a couple of days ago. She is one of the Egyptian counselors that was a camper in volleyball several years ago. It is so amazing to hear her share her heart for these students. That they would meet Jesus and grow to have a meaningful, personal relationship with Him. That isn’t a popular way to invest your life in this culture. But she is passionate about letting God use her to enact life change. That is both convicting and encouraging. I want to have that kind of courage.
This week I have seen two teams become one. One in spirit. One in mission. One in love. Wadi truly is a special place. My prayer is that God will continue to call me back. To lead students in a journey that will mark them for the rest of their lives. To introduce two very different cultures to each other. But more than all of that, to let God express himself through our love for each other.
1 John 4:12 “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”
I love this team. I love this place. I love these people. And I love Jesus.
Thanks and Gig ‘Em