Going to Egypt…

Wassup everybody, this is my first year at Wadi Sports Camp, but believe me I feel like I’ve been here before because all of Grace and Hayden’s stories throughout the years. I was a little nervous coming in because of the plane ride and being so far away from home. But, Whenever I got here I was welcomed like I’ve been here for years and that helped me fall in love with this wonderful place. In W3 I was coaching basketball with Reese to kids that are 16 and 17, which was really weird because I’m 14. It’s funny that people that are way older than me respect me just because the color of my skin and this showed me the power I have in what I say. My favorite part of the day was pool time, a time filled with Spikeball, Ga Ga ball, Coup, Yardies, 9 square, and loud music. Some of the most fun our group had was during the different X periods. X periods are camp wide games between Alpha and Omega which are the two different camper teams. Color Conquer was the best X period and it consisted of alpha and omega completing different challenges to try to conquer all of camp. I have loved camp so much and hope Grace will let me come back next year.

As a little shout out to all the coaches, “I am going to the mountain, I am going to the valley, I’m going to church on Sunday…..now everybody sing.”  Just a little song I made up to keep things light in the team meetings.

Peace Out,

Dubs

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A Look At How Far We Have Come

Hello everyone, this is Hunter Ruffin checking in from Wadi Sports Camp W2. I have had an incredible experience these past few weeks. Full of life changing conversation and revelation. God is up to something in my life and in this place, and he has been using Egypt to sculpt and mold me.

My role here at camp has been mostly teaching the baseball major with Bratcher and Cate. It was so much fun going back to the basics of one of my favorite sports, and I mean very basics. What an intricate and complicated game baseball truly is, but the Egyptians were always eager to learn and never gave up. Most of them were 15 and had never held a baseball. Usually we broke them into stations and tried to do skill drills while teaching a rule at the same time. For example, practicing hitting at a soft toss station while explaining the concept of a count, and balls and strikes. By the end of camp we were playing full field scrimmages and they loved it. I learned about patience and how bringing energy that God provides can push kids to overcome obstacles and teach perseverance.

Today I am here at W2 filling a support role for the A&M team. I was placed coaching soccer with Juan, and it has been fun doing something different, especially in a sport that the Egyptians are already so passionate about. The A&M team has brought a new energy, and it is fun to watch them impact camp.  It was hard to say bye to the first group but every day I learn more about the new team and that has been very rewarding.

Other than baseball my roles were pretty all over the place. Such is life at camp, “here is your assignment, but show up ten minutes early just in case it changes” Haha I love that about camp. Beyond the reffing and coaching, what I got to do is build relationships with campers and staff. Campers could open up to me about their struggles and questions and all the while I got to learn and teach.

One of the other great things about this experience has been getting to know and learn from the other coaches. You all have heard their stories and have a glimpse of how fun and insightful they can be. I have learned from them and shared with them, and I feel like I have developed and improved on lasting friendships.

I want to say a huge thank you to every person that supported me and the rest of the team. It was amazing to see how God provided and brought these teams together to have a positive impact on the Wadi Sports Camp. Every day I feel God pulling on my heart and calling me closer to him and to live a life more like Jesus.

Hunter

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The Joy of a Day at Wadi

Hello faithful readers,

I hope this blog has given you the opportunity to get a glimpse into what God has been doing in this incredible place. It has been said before and we will likely say it again, you will never understand how special this place is until you experience it for yourself (@myfamily who I want to come so bad). The campers, counselors, and staff are the nicest, funniest, and most relational people I have ever met in my life. They want to know you for who you are, not who you appear to be. They love learning about American culture and have SO many questions about it. I’ve had many conversations where the entire time I spent explaining why we move away from our parents when we go to college. As opposed to the Egyptian culture where you don’t move from home until you are married. I don’t know how I changed the subject, but the point is that the people at camp are incredible and so sincere. Their hearts are made of pure gold.

This year it has been so cool to build on the relationships that I established last summer. There truly is no better feeling than a camper or counselor running up and hugging you because they remember you. (Side note: there also is not a worse feeling than forgetting said camper’s name when they are so excited to see you.) I have loved getting to hear about all the life changes that each person I met last summer has experienced. A few of the ones that I am closest to just finished their second year of university, just like me. We have loved getting to compare our years at school and even discovered that we all went through the same “Sophomore Slump” towards the end of the spring semester. That just goes to show that regardless of where you are, you are going to have both struggles and triumphs.

Something the Lord has constantly reminded me this year is how much weight my words hold (where are all my Words of Affirmation people at?). Being an American coach here at camp means that my words hold even more weight. A simple “you’re doing great” or “I’m so proud of you” might not mean a whole lot to me, but it can truly change a camper’s entire demeanor. We don’t know what every camper left when they arrived in Wadi and we don’t know what they are going back home to, but we’ve been given this incredible opportunity to love, encourage, and support them while they are here. God made this clear to me on the last day of camp when I had a really cool encounter with one of my campers.

At the end of every camp session, each major gives three awards: MVP, Most Improved, and I Am Third. It’s a big deal to win these awards and the campers work really hard in majors every day (well almost every day) to try to earn them. When it came time to decide who to give the volleyball awards to, Lauren and I had a hard time. Honestly, each one of our campers could have won these awards, but we ended up choosing three girls that we believed stood out from the others. After we presented each award, we took photos with the girls and then broke out one last time. Everyone headed to breakfast (after getting their candy, of course) and I stayed around for a quick second to clean up cups and what not. I noticed that one of the girls who received an award, Perry, was hanging back and not headed to breakfast. I walked over to her and without her realizing it, I pointed her in the direction of breakfast and we started talking. Quick backstory: prior to camp, Perry had never played volleyball. She had no knowledge of the form, the rules, or even the lingo of the game; however, she refused to let that stop her from working hard. She would come and ask us to a do a specific drill to work on basic skills because she really wanted to get better. She wanted to learn and practice and WORK HARD! Truly incredible. By the end of camp, Perry knew ready position, how to pass, set, & hit, move her feet and so much more. So in case you are confused, Perry won the Most Improved award. She was SO surprised and shocked that she won. Okay so back to my main story… Perry and I are walking to breakfast and I begin to ask her what her favorite part of camp was. She said volleyball (obviously) and I told her how proud I am of her. Instantly she started to cry and I was totally caught off guard. She looked at me and said, “Coach Mills, no one has ever told me they are proud of me.” My heart broke and all I could do was stand there and hold her as she sobbed into my arms. It was the sweetest, most vulnerable moment. I then had the opportunity to tell her not only how proud I am of her, but also how proud Jesus is of her. And how much He loves her. She lit up and I could tell that it all finally clicked. We exchanged numbers and she has already texted me asking about camp and when we could see each other again. 🙂 Because of an award that I didn’t think was a big deal and a phrase that I don’t say enough, Perry was reminded of the love of Jesus. Words carry weight, y’all.

God is on the move at Wadi Sports `Camp and it is so cool to be a part of it. My prayer is that the campers leave here feeling loved, supported, and important, but first and for most that they leave completely in love with the God of the Universe. After we get home, I would love for you to continue to pray for all of the campers, counselors, and staff. They hold a HUGE piece of my heart. I love this place.

In Him,

Mills

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OH, OKAY EGYPT…

I am writing this blog with a lot of mixed emotions.  While Egypt has become my favorite place, I realize that I fall in love not only with the people here in this wonderful country, but I grow so close to the team that comes with me to serve.  I hope you have been able to read the blog and get an idea of some of the cool things we get to do, but words can only paint part of the picture.  This is such a special place.  I feel so close to God here, and while I know that He is near me wherever I go I love that he gives me such a recharge every time I come to this place.

 

We just said goodbye to the first team that came to serve with us, and I will be honest…I miss them so much more than I even thought I would.  I loved how we laughed, played, and coached together.  But, I also loved how we shared what God was doing each night and got to ask questions to each other and really get to know each other in a genuine way.

 

It was kinda funny that when we got the text that the part of our team that left landed in Dallas, we were actually pulling into the gates of camp.  We were greeted with younger campers and the coaching team we had trained the previous week.  They were into full swing with camp, and it was fun to see how they were embracing this place.  It didn’t take long for us to drop our bags off and run out to help with an event called “combine” (think pure chaos).  What a way to be welcomed back to camp.

 

At night we had the carnival.  It is fun and kinda sad seeing the same camp events without the campers and coaches we had been with, but the new campers soon made us feel loved and we know tons of the staff which helps so much.  I also know we will begin to bond with this other team of coaches.  As my dad says, we are one team with one goal.  We may have had a different role for a while, but we will come together to serve and seek to give God the glory.

 

This morning, I changed majors and coached cross-fit with Mills and my dad.  It is the first time to ever coach something other than volleyball and it was fun.  The campers are beginning to warm up to us, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us and for them.

 

Well, it is pool time, so I better go play 9 square and hang out with campers.  I really do appreciate you praying for us.  Did I mention I love this place?

 

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Rixos Day 2

Today is the last day for the short trippers in Egypt.  It was a day of rest, reflection and recharge on the shore of the Mediterranean.  Beautiful blue water and white sand is a far cry from the dust and the numerous flies of Wadi but I would trade the beach for camp in a heartbeat.  This is my second time on this trip and there is undeniable endearment to Wadi Sports Camp.  While we enjoy the luxury of a resort on the North Coast, my mind cannot help but travel south to the camp where so many people are investing in eternity.  I wish so badly to be arm in arm with my brothers and sisters in Christ, having spiritual conversations with campers, impacting eternity.  Following this train of thought I happened to jump on board rather than let it pass only to hear the whistle fade in the distance, I began to ponder the impact I can have beyond the walls of camp.  Instead of being sidelined while the big play happens before me on a field I only wish I could spend more time on, I came to a familiar revelation.  I am constantly an ambassador for Christ, no matter the country or place.  Be it at work or on the golf course, or even Wadi Sports Camp, how am I living out Matthew 5:14-16? I am always supposed to let my light shine before men so that they may glorify my Father in Heaven.  Being on this trip has taught me that even when I feel I am useless or a bench player, I am really in the middle o the play and I need to give my unfettered effort for the Lord.  While I would trade sand and surf for Wadi, this is no excuse not to be living for the Lord in every aspect of life, no matter how mundane it may seem.

Thanks,

Daniel SnellD7K_3029D7K_3682fullsizeoutput_65cIMG_5056

Camp 1 Wrap Up and On To Rixos

Ben here! Yesterday was the last day of camp 😦 What a bittersweet feeling knowing everything is a last. Last majors, sessions, and X-Periods. Last pool time hanging out and having fun with campers. Today was special for many reasons. For one, this was the first day of camp that I have felt 100% and like myself! More on that later though…

 

Today the campers competed in the Man and Woman of Wadi challenge. Participants swim and run for time in order to prove themselves the fittest camper of the W3 session. This event was so fun to be a part of and to encourage the campers we’ve become so close with. Being able to run laps with campers, cheer them on, and to watch the other coaches be filled with pride at their camper’s effort was amazing and a picture of God’s love. Some of the coaches even competed and we got to cheer them on too!

 

Another special time on the last day is the boys and girls Alpha vs. Omega soccer championship in the stadium during dinner. Every camper is wearing their red Alpha shirt or blue Omega shirt and they are all cheering and chanting for their side during the match. And what a match it was! The boy Alphas came back twice during regulation and won on penalties. All the Alpha campers rushed the field and it was so cool to be a part of.

 

The final part of camp is the closing ceremonies where campers and cabins are recognized for exhibiting the foundational principles of camp. During the ceremony we sat with the Egyptian staffers who loved on these kids every minute of every day. Witnessing the exultation and sense of reward for the staffers when one of their kids was recognized showed us how much of an influence they had on the campers. Seeing the staffers take joy in their camper’s success was such a beautiful experience, and knowing that we were able to encourage the staffers all week in that work is a cool picture of the body of Christ.

 

In closing, I have to mention the health of the coaches. I was dealing with a stomach bug all week and was constantly encouraged by the other coaches to keep loving the students well, even when I wasn’t close to 100%. Missing majors and sessions at Wadi is zero fun and its easy to focus on the negative circumstances, but everyone kept me up and I am so thankful for them. Yesterday was the first day I was fully myself, and it happened just as several others were coming down with similar stomach bugs or slight fevers. God gave me the opportunity to bring some energy to the team and help others in their sickness, and teach me a lesson in serving when given much or little. God created the best team of coaches this year and I am so thankful for all we’ve learned together in beautiful, wonderful Egypt!fullsizeoutput_656D7K_3593D7K_3459D7K_3554D7K_3017IMG_0278

Wadi Camp

Hello Y’all!

 

I’m so happy to be able to write the blog for today! My name is Andrew Franco and this is my first time in Egypt and at Wadi sports camp. This trip has been amazing so far and I see God working through all of us. The major that I am teaching is tennis alongside Kaylee Gott. This morning like the other mornings we went to our majors and worked on tennis serving. This was a challenge because this is one of the hardest things to teach and learn in tennis. After we did some serving we played kings court and around the world. For the first couple of days we had the kids remember a verse Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” So today we changed verses and now were having them memorize Isiah 43:2 “when you go through deep waters, I’ll be with you.” If any of the campers can say it for us throughout camp we will give them a piece of candy. It is so funny to see these kids get so excited about some candy, it really makes me smile to see how happy a piece of candy can make a kid so happy.

 

After pool time Hunter, Anna, Steven and I refed Kan Jam a.k.a ultimate frisbee  We refed both girls and boys cabins. I love seeing the Alpha and Omega team go head to head, everyone for the most part have good attitudes and are always eager to play. After the two sessions we were off until the championship volleyball game. This was such a cool thing to see, the best of the best for Alpha and Omega. After the game and dinner was over we played a game that has taken three years to get to this point. Hunter, Wyatt, Danial and I reffed this sort of water pong with big buckets and dodge balls. It was super fun and at the end everyone was throwing water everywhere and it tuned into a water fight!

 

This trip has been amazing and I am so grateful for this opportunity. The people here are so nice and thankful that we are here. I so happy to bring joy and spread the love of Jesus to these kids. This has been a great experience and it is not over yet!

 

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Pandemic Takes Over Wadi

Hey there, Friends!

 

My name is Lauren Bratcher and I have the privilege of providing you with yet another unique snapshot of our experience here at Wadi. I actually first came to Wadi with the team in 2010 when I was a Sophomore at The University of Texas (Hook ‘em). Being back for a second time so many years later has been a huge blessing. A few things around camp have changed, but I was so surprised at the beginning of the week with how quickly memories came rushing in to fill the gaps that had been created over time. I felt at home fast and have continued to sink deeper and deeper into the unexpected comfort of this place. Before I jump into a few highlights of the day, I want to share a fun story with you.

 

The first full day we were at camp a few of us were eating dinner outside while the World Cup quarter finals were going on. I felt a tap on my shoulder and when I turned around two equally excited and bashful eyes were staring back at me through a pair of glasses. He asked me if I knew who he was. I stammered for a few seconds and then admitted that I didn’t. “It’s me, Mena!”, he exclaimed. It all came rushing back. Mena was one of the four campers (all boys) that I coached in swimming back in 2010. At the time, he was 18 and about to head off to university to study medicine. He is the camp doctor this summer! When I coached the boys in swimming, I wrote all of them notes on beach balls and gave them out at the end of the week. In Mena’s note, I told him that I knew he would be a great doctor one day and that I knew he would use his skill for the glory of God. I only know this because Mena told me. He has kept that beach ball with him since 2010 and read it right before he came to camp this summer. Sometimes the small things we do resonate big in the lives of others.

 

Today was yet another day in paradise. No two days at Wadi are the same, which you have probably realized by now. Today for the camp X-period, the counselors and coaches faced off against the campers in a game called “Pandemic”. Instead of the usual campers vs. campers set-up, the entire camper population was pitted against the counselors/coaches in an effort to prevent a deadly disease from wiping out the entirety of Wadi as we know it!!!!…or something like that. The game ended with an epic camper vs. Pi (campers are Alpha or Omega and all staff are Pi) War Ball (think dodge ball but more people and increased intensity) game and the campers successfully eradicating the disease. Their reward? A viewing of the World Cup Finals for all of camp! The night ended with an amazing concert in the hall featuring strobe lights, lots of jumping up and down and hundreds of Egyptian campers worshipping our almighty, always the same, giver of good gifts, God.

 

This is a beautiful place. These are a beautiful people and it’s been an honor to experience God moving in big ways here. Thank you for praying. Thank you for reading and keeping us in your thoughts. Tomorrow is our last day of camp and then we will be heading to the North Coast for some rest and debriefing. Keep tuning into the blog, we’re not quite done yet! Also, please pray for health, a few of our teammates are feeling under the weather and it’s been tough on them.

 

Much Love,

Lauren Bratcher


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A Day in Alex

Hi everyone! My name is Stephen Bratcher, I have the opportunity to share with you all about our wonderful day in Alexandria and back at Wadi for an amazing carnival and incredible talent show! Today (Friday) is the start of their weekend and they have church on Fridays because Sunday is the start of their work week. The schedule was a bit different this morning with no majors. We had free time before breakfast to work out and spend extended time with Jesus. After breakfast we drove to Alexandria, the first stop was the library at Alexandria. We saw of the exterior exhibits and architecture. Such a beautiful building right on the north coast. The next stop was ice cream… of course. Geoff treated us to ice cream, also just off the cost where there were hundreds of boats anchored in the bay. Next, we went to the citadel which was used as a castle and fort, it was originally built around 400 AD. We toured the grounds and saw the beauty of the city and the Mediterranean Sea from the top of the citadel. We stopped off at an Egyptian mall and got lunch and picked up some groceries before heading back to camp. Alexandria was an incredible side trip and a really fun time to rest and be together as a team.

We got back in time for a Mexican themed carnival. Yes, you read that correctly, a Mexican themed Carnival in Egypt. It was awesome, the kids had so much fun and it was immediately followed by a talent show. Kids put together induvial acts, small groups and even acts as entire cabins. Even though there were some nerves here and there the kids put on one amazing show for their friends and the staff.

 

Some of us got to play a soccer match in the stadium with the kitchen staff and some of the grounds crew at Wadi. The language barrier went away immediately when we started playing. Somehow they convinced us to do Americans vs Egyptians. We ended up holding our own and having a blast playing with them and spending time with many of the guys who have been serving us since the second we arrived. On the way to the carnival Ben and I were talking about the match, we realized it was such a cool opportunity to play with them, it was a simple way of saying thank you and having that memory with them. I think that match will go way farther than us saying “shocron” or “thank you” in the dining hall. Sports really can do incredible things in bringing people together, even when there are times when there is a total language barrier.

 

It has been a joy for Lauren and I to be a part of this team and experience God in this place. Wadi holds a special place in Lauren’s heart. She was here as a coach in 2010. I will let her tell you more about it later. The Lord is working and is living and active at Wadi and across Egypt, We are so excited to be a small part of the gospel being heard and the name of Jesus being made known. Thank you for reading and be sure to check back in tomorrow!

 

Thanks and Gig ‘em! (…it’s funny because Anna Snell and I are the only Aggies…as of now)

For the Kingdom,

Stephen Bratcher7718087488_IMG_2197


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Another Day at Wadi

Hi Friends!

Thank you for following our Egypt journey and for your faithful prayers for our team.  We are having a wonderful adventure, God is at work, and we can feel your prayers!

Our 4th day of camp started early with a tradition at Wadi called the Cross Carry.  Each cabin of 12 campers works together to carry a large wooden cross around the entire camp property 3 times.  For this hour and a half activity, worship music in English, like “Lead Me to the Cross” and “Mighty to Save”, is played on speakers throughout the camp. This was physically challenging as well as an emotionally and spiritually moving activity for all.  Many campers were overcome with emotion after carrying the heavy cross together and understanding the significance of it in a new way.  Then they stood all 20 crosses up in the central part of camp and heard a talk from the founding pastor of the camp about what Jesus did for each of us on the cross.

After a typical Egyptian camp breakfast (scrambled eggs, beans, and pita bread), we headed out to coach our Majors for the day.  My coaching role is to float to different sports each day as they need help.  Today I joined the Basketball major with Reese and Wyatt.  This was fun to meet a new group of campers, and also challenging as they were all exhausted from the Cross Carry earlier that morning.  At the end of each major, we share a short devotional and verse with the campers.  Today we had the campers share what they had learned from the morning Cross activity.  3 kids shared openly with our group, 2 in Arabic and 1 in English.  Micky, a 16 year old male camper who speaks English very well, shared with such passion and clarity about the whole meaning of the cross.  This spoke deeply to my heart.  God is so cool like that when He teaches us truths from those we came to serve.

Another fun part of our camp day is Pool Time, which happens for an hour right before lunch each day.  Campers and staff swim, listen to fun music, and play different yard games around the pool area.  My favorite is the game 9 square,  so I spent most of pool time playing with a group of energetic campers and some of our American team.  This time is fun, relaxed, and a great time getting to know each other.  The relationships are the BEST part of camp.  These joyful people are so accepting and loving to us.  They share their stories and their faith openly and with authenticity.  I love that!  I am challenged to be more like my new Egyptian friends in this way when I come back home to Texas.

This afternoon we played a camp wide game of Dragonfly.  This game was a little like flag football and capture the flag mixed together.  The Alpha Team competed against the Omega Team while wearing flag football flags.  The goal was to try and score the most points by running from their side of the camp to the other team’s base without getting their flag pulled off.  This game was FUN, FAST, COMPETITIVE, & EXCITING.  As a Nurse, these type of camp games where campers run at full speed across the desert terrain with many obstacles to avoid make me a bit nervous.  Especially considering the closest hospital is in Cairo about 1 ½ hours away and the fastest way to get there is in your personal vehicle, not an ambulance.  Thankfully, we made it through this game with only minor scrapes, bruises, and sore muscles.

My time in Egypt has been more fulfilling than I ever expected.  From the day I arrived here, I have been surrounded by the PEACE of God in many ways.  From the love for Jesus each staff member has, to the openness of the campers to their American coaches, to the physical and spiritual safety of those who have the privilege of coming to Wadi, God’s presence is felt in powerful ways.  And I know … God’s hand of favor is on Wadi Sports Camp in Egypt!

We love yall!

Carrie RichFullSizeRenderfullsizeoutput_981fullsizeoutput_990