Traveling to another country can often be challenging and sometimes even be overwhelming. I have found that it is very important to have someone travel with us from the time we land at the airport until we arrive safely at camp. Then, it is especially important when we take the entire group to public places, whether that is the local store for supplies or to a popular tourist/historical sight.
Well, year after year, it seems this local friend has been one special young lady that is more than a tour guide/liaison. Mariz (or as we know her Mizo) was a camper in our early years of coming to camp. She then transitioned to the leadership team and would be the coordinator of the coaches and would help us at camp. Now, as a young professional in Egypt, she is no longer able to come and work camps. However, every year she takes vacation time or works her schedule so that she can meet us at the airport and transport us to camp. Then, she takes more time off to go with us when we travel around Egypt. She is no longer our Egyptian tour guide, she is family! She even traveled to Texas over Thanksgiving last year and experienced Texas football and Black Friday shopping with Grace. We love her more than words can express, and we have seen her grow from a shy camper who loved sports to a dynamic young woman who loves Jesus (and still loves sports). I asked her to share her thoughts on what she sees with the RRM team each year.
Sometimes people ask me, “Why Egypt? Why can’t you just serve closer to home?” When I form the answer, I often see faces like Mariz, and Shady, and Heba, and Toto, and Behar, and Fady, and Mina, and Taline, and Bisho, and Micho, and Amir, and Brimo, and John, and Andrew, and Merna, and Nader and on and on and on. These faces are why we travel across the world to use sports to serve in this way.
Then, on top of that, I get to see what this place and this trip does to the team of coaches that go to serve. I again wish I had words to describe this process. But, all I can say is God is indeed up to something…and it is amazing to be a part of that something.
Thank you, Mizo for sharing this story and your life with us!
Who am I?
I’m a camper that had her life changed upside down because of my love and passion to sports! One of the main reasons of who I am today is Wadi Sports Camp!
First time I came to camp I was 16, I didn’t know a single person, I did not speak to anyone, I had a mindset of not listening about any “religious” stuff coz those evangelical church people have wrong beliefs (coming from a Coptic background). Just focus on sports, that’s what you came for – I told myself!
I remember my first second at Wadi I said that in mind “I will come back to this place for the rest of my life!!! I dunno how but I will! Yet how come I have this place in my country and I have no idea about it? How come there is a mix of Jesus, Fun and Sports all at the same time? (Still thinking those people are wrong). I decided to play play and play! Do what I love and just play sports as much as I can!
I got to know RRM team since I was a camper, I found some Americans all around the place doing nothing except loving us and teaching us sports! I did not understand why on earth would they travel all the way and just come to do this! I did not get the big picture back then – but what I knew is that they just love us so much. They added a beautiful atmosphere, excitement, encouragement and again endless love besides talking about Jesus so frankly without any borders or limits.
Looking at coaches as a camper I would say that kids definitely open up and accept whatever the coach says just because of the different skin colour may be!? That is a magical privilege for coaches talking genuinely about whatever and kids always accept it! Some kind of cultural problems we have here does not give any other staff member that privilege and acceptance coaches have! It might sound cheesy from a counsellor but never cheesy or artificial from a coach!
Years have passed, I got to know Jesus at camp, I experienced love, acceptance, encouragement, community, family, support… the list goes on – Let’s say I experienced Life! Throughout the years I became a counsellor, I spent summers and summers at Wadi doing camps back to back.
Today I’m 30 years old, I do not get the same chance to be part of the staff or leadership team as much as before due to work and life busyness – yet I wait for that time of the year to have RRM team back for camps. I started to be responsible for the teams when I was still a student, my first time I took this role I was kinda freaking out and overwhelmed, but Geoff made my job way easier! He immediately made me part of his family, big family and small family. I never felt it is a heavy task, I always felt my family (who simply are abroad) are back in town and now it’s time to rock and roll! Time to be the bodyguard, time to serve, time to show this amazing team around, and do whatever I can to make life easier during your stay in my country. And oh how I love the body guard role!! 😀
Being not able to take long vacations for camps yet still be part of this beautiful WSC is something that makes me so so happy! As if RRM are the only link now for me to a place that changed my life forever!
And I want you to know that the fact that you guys just keep coming means so much! You keep changing people’s lives! Not only campers btw! You make a big impact on us staff as well in many unspoken ways! We look up to you. We love how you love Jesus. We love how you love sports. We love how you love life. Most of all, we love that you are now our family! Thank you so much for coming.