Two Teams One Goal

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
Chris

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

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Open Hands and Humble Hearts

7/12/17

The days at camp begin with feeling tired and being drowsy from the previous day filled with sports, coaching, and refereeing. But, at the end of the day when I am walking back to my room, I feel that it always has ended too soon. The time spent with these campers has made the day worth standing in the sun and baking my skin until it turns red. They make it worth sweating through two or three pairs of clothes. Worth the headache I get because I’m on the verge of dehydration. These campers are the reason I get up early and jog over to the basketball court, and wait for them to get there to begin the long day ahead of coaching and encouraging. I came into this trip praying that, as Americans, we come with open hands and humble hearts. Seeing these kids, and building relationships with them has shown me that they were the ones with open hands and humble hearts towards me. They greet me with a smile and a high five or fist bump, even if I have never seen or met them during my time here. All I can say is that this camp has a different look and feel about it. The spiritual presence here is overwhelming and it overflows from every camper.

Cullen Turney

Red River Ministries 

Wadi Sports Camp

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Pool Time, Pictures, and Games!

7/11/17

Wow!

That’s my reaction to this trip so far, and the amazing opportunities that we have at Wadi Sports Camp. Every day is full of chances to meet new staffers and campers; to give them hi-fives, and build relational capital with them during the sports and camp activities.

My favorite parts of the day have been pool time before lunch, and camp pictures that are shown before the campers retire to their “cabins” (think small dorm buildings). Getting to hang out by the pool with the campers, seeing their smiles, hearing their laughter, and playing Spikeball in the soft grass has been a fantastic way to engage them outside of the Majors that we coach them in. The camp staff is always playing music, having fun on the mic, and us Coaches have the chance to relax and enjoy the good vibes of camp under the Egyptian sun.

After the day is finished, the WSC media team puts together a short slideshow of the day’s photos and shows it to the campers in the main hall. All 240 of them shuffle in, find a seat on the floor, and wait expectantly to see a photo of themselves or one of their friends. We may experience camp through the lens of our Majors as Coaches, but seeing the pictures of our campers having the time of their life throughout the rest of the day reminds us why we are here, and encourages us to keep up the energy and effort. Every bit of love, encouragement, and desire to invest in the campers is worth it, shows them who God is, and is ultimately why we are here.

Benjamin Snell

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

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Language Barriers

Clap!

Snap!

Yay!

Uh!

Wwwwwhistle!

Repeat.

My name is Dustin. I am an American without any background in Arabic. Here at WSC there is a nearly palpable language barrier. Expressing your thoughts and intentions to another can prove to be quite a difficult task. So, why do it? Why come half way across the world to coach?

There is a communication that trumps any language barrier. It is spoken and understood by every culture from the archaic to the most developed. Can you guess what it is yet? Body language.

This is why I love sports. When you play in confines of the rules of a game the actual spoken language does not matter. Bonds can be formed without speaking words or knowing names. There is something beautiful in seeing this and a greater appreciation when you get to be apart of it.

The kids have an event where they get to draft one staff member to their team of 5 and play in four events. I happened to be drafted. I had never noticed or spoken to any of my team until this moment. Our team played Basketball twice, dodge ball, and beach handball. We won three and tied one. This event I was privileged to be apart has completely changed my experience in the short hour and a half I participated.

I know what my teammates look like, how they play, how they interact, and many more other characteristics I cannot verbalize. I know this despite one of them having to translate everything I said to them. Even though my time with them was brief, we have a bond now that will last for the rest of camp if not forever.

This is my proof that body language in association with sports trumps language barriers. Those kids go out of there way to come talk to me despite our inability to communicate effectively. They say they miss me. They come to give me a five. This a big deal since our paths do not cross much during this camp.

Maybe it’s applause. Maybe it’s a high five. Maybe it’s a shoutout from across the field. Maybe it’s a whistle or a cheer. Communication is happening and bonds are forming here at WSC. It’s organic, natural, and a beautiful thing to watch. It’s even better to appreciate.

Dustin McClure

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

Perspective

Wow….

Day two has come and gone here in Egypt. I can’t really describe the past 72 hours (its been a whirlwind, but its been awesome). For my first time out of the country, I’m having a far better time than I thought I would.

For the past few months I have been prepping to coach American Football here at Wadi. Today, we had an interesting start and due to lack of numbers, decided to close American Football. This means that the athletes had moved to another sport, and I will now spend the rest of my time here in Egypt helping coach baseball. I would be lying if I said that at first I wasn’t a little disappointed. I was pretty bummed because I’d been preparing for football for the last several months, and felt really comfortable coaching.

Then something pretty cool happened. I learned two things here in the middle of this desert:

1. I realized it’s really not about the sports here at Wadi Camp. The team and I here are merely using sports as a means to jump start relational ministry. When I pondered on that, I totally changed my perspective on the shift. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what sport I am coaching, God can use me to reach these students.

2. I realized that we aren’t called to live comfortable lives. Sometimes adversity happens. Whether it be a life changing situation at home or a situation in the middle of the dessert. The Lord uses all these moments to teach us different lessons.

All in all, today was an incredible day. We swam with the kids, played a life size version of Tetris, and even saw a worship concert sung in Arabic. Throughout the day, I’m already seeing change in these students, and that is exciting.

There’s some really cool things happening here on this side of the world. It is beyond thrilling to be here, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like at the end of this week.

Sincerely,

Tyler Stillwell

Red River Ministries

Wadi Sports Camp

Cate the Great

Today was the day!! The campers arrived!! Its cate goen here sharing our official day one experiences. Compared to our past two days, the intensity increased immensely. Opening day was exactly as I remembered – crazy excited counselors preparing for their campers, devoted staff anticipating the first event, and pumped and maybe nervous American coaches ready for the adventure. I cannot describe the joy I felt when I saw my friends from last year today. Their smiles, jokes, and excitement brings so many memories and I feel incredibly connected to them (some of them are my very close friends). This camp and these Egyptians hold a special place in my heart. We had a super fun welcome ceremony and pumped up the new campers as they arrived. The singing and dancing relaxed some of the new coaches and showed them how amazing these people are, even though we do not completely understand everything going on (Arabic is not an easy language to pick up on☺). All of us coaches were introduced in front of the camp and we shared our fav dance moves. After all of the campers chose their majors, we went out and prepared for our first time coaching them this year. Everyone said their majors went well for their first experience of camp, crazy and hot of course, but a great first day. We reffed sessions (dodgeball, wallyball, Frisbee, baseball, and handball) and then prepared for X- Period. Expedition was the game of the evening and we spread around camp to different stations where we helped cabins accomplish mind- stretching and physical tasks in order for them to collect pieces of a totum poll and win. It was a long, fun, and challenging game for the campers. After a cabin completed every task and was declared the winner, all the sweaty campers, counselors, and staff regrouped and we all enjoyed some Coca-Cola. After viewing the photos from the first day, we headed back to the coaches lounge for our evening meeting. The day ended pretty late, so only a few exhausted boys (Hayden, Ben, and Cullen) stuck around to play cards while the rest of our group headed to bed. Now that everyone has had a glimpse of a regular day at Wadi Sports Camp, I know the coaches are all just as excited as me to see what this year holds. This place blesses my life in such incredible ways. My team is challenging me in my faith already and the Egyptains are showing me Jesus through their amazing joy and love. As Alfonso, a fellow Egypt goer and lover says every day spent here, it truly was “another day in paradise.” I LOVE this place. Words cannot even describe it. I hope these blogs give you a feel for what WSC means to me. I’m tired, but super duper pumped for tomorrow and the days to come!! It is actually 12:11 am here, but goodnight from Egypt.

Cate Goen

Red River Ministries 
Wadi Sports Camp

Egypt Day 1

Well, here we find ourselves again on yet another adventure to the lands of pharaoh. For many of us on this team, we now feel like this is our second home. It has been such an incredible blessing for the returning members of the Red River team to travel back to Wadi and see so many familiar faces and rekindle so many fun relationships. This will be our second night at Wadi Sports Camp but we have already shared thousands of hugs, laughs, and memories with our team and the Wadi staff. So, let’s get this Wadi Party started…

Our trip began as it has for so many years, at the International Airport in Dallas. After moving around pieces of luggage and clothing between bags to make sure all of our bags were under 50 pounds, we made our way to our gate. We flew 14 hours from Dallas to Dubai with a three hour layover and then flew 4 hours from Dubai to Egypt. Once we found all of our bags, we loaded them onto the van and we headed to camp. On the way, we stopped at Carre Four, which is a glorified version of Walmart mixed with a mini mall. Finally, we arrived at Wadi around 930 pm. Since most of us had not had more than an hour or two of sleep for the last two days, we did a quick look over of camp and then headed to bed.

On our first morning at camp, we were greeted with our all time fav breakfast meal- eggs, sausage, bread and beans. Because none of the campers have arrived yet, we participated in the staff training and preparation. First, we had a devotional time as a group and then individual time to go around camp and meet with God. Next, we had a big team meeting with one of our favorite Egyptians- Shady Sameh. We went over what camp was going to look like and what the program consisted of. We then made our way to the soccer arena where some of us participated in the Wadi version of the NFL combine. They measured your height, weight, 40 yard dash speed, vertical, broad jump, shuttle drill speed, and ability to complete a course consisting of Frisbee tosses, football throws, basketball shots, and a soccer shot. If you know anything about the staff at Wadi, it is that they never cease to impress with their ingenuity and creativity in creating games and challenges. After this incredible combine, our American team got to bond in the staff lounge by playing games (like our favorite- sign- and the card game Hanabi). We had lunch around 2 and helped the staff set up parts of camp in the afternoon. Once the evening came, we planned out our majors with our co-coach and then went to dinner. Lastly, we ended the night with a group meeting and Dustin shared his story.

We are beyond excited for the campers to get here tomorrow afternoon. Thank you again for following us to Egypt and we will continue to keep you up to date. Keep our team in your prayers as we begin to love on these kids and get our hearts right to let God shine his love and light through this camp.

 

-Hayden

Red River Ministries 

Wadi Sports Camp