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.