It’s hard to believe, but we are almost done with the first week. The days have been long, but the week has gone by so quickly. We have had many opportunities to serve the locals, our hosts and even members of our team. There were many great conversations around the Gospel today where both kids from the clinic and people we played against clearly heard the Gospel. The Lord used a teenage girl and a grown man to walk down the path of who God is with a kid and man. May God use those two conversations to please Himself and bring souls to salvation. During the PTR game versus a local team, a player from the other team went down with an injury. The PTR team quickly took a knee to pray for the fallen player. The kids who attend the camps, watching in the stands, knew what we were doing. Although they could not hear what we were saying, the knew what was happening. During the same game, one of the PTR players let go of the ball just so that he could help one of the opponents up back onto his feet. Again, another visible symbol that there is more to life than the game of basketball.
The daily routine has been the same as the days before: clinics in the AM and PM, with team time in the middle, and a game at night. The team time was a special time of praise and worship in song and giving testimony of what God is doing. Praise was given to Him for His attributes. Taylor give his testimony of what God has done in his life. Through it all, God was honored and blessed.
As we move into Friday, please pray that the Lord would choose to use us to bring souls to Him. We have a very special opportunity in the AM clinic and even one of the city officials will be there, presenting certificates to the kids for participating in the PTR clinic. The doors seem to be wide open for us to walk through, which always is an encouraging thing. It will be an exciting time and a first for PTR in Spain. We hope and pray that the Lord will guide us and use this opportunity, too.
Greetings everyone! Well, it’s time to hit the road (er, the sky) again. For the next 11 days, Push the Rock will be partnering with a church from Newark, DE and a couple of sister Bulgarian churches in putting on soccer camps for local kids. I Nathan, the Push the Rock representative, will be providing leadership for the camps in the afternoons, and the team will be running VBS in the mornings, along with various service projects and adult Bible teaching in some of the afternoons/evenings. Please pray for safe travel today as we will be flying and driving a lot. I would also appreciate your prayers that I will lean on God for strength and the words to say as I direct my first camp. Thanks so much for your support in Miami! I anticipate Christ doing some more great work in this next place through this incredible team of young people and adults.
Wednesday. It has many names, but whatever you call it, it’s a day that marks a point in time. With running two clinics a day, playing games, and attending to various other things, the time has seemed to go fast and we are already have finished the midpoint week of week 1. The morning clinic went every well and we had a record 35 kids. Ages ranged from 5 to 15 with most of the kids being between 8-13 years old. Working with the real young ones was not part of what we set out to do, but since we are a ministry and those young kids have been coming, we have been doing our best to keep them entertained and engaged. There is only so much a 6 yr old wants to work on dribbling and passing and rebounding! But God has given us coaches who are excellent with the young ones (but are very tired when they are done). The afternoon clinic was shortened by 1 hour because the gym was closed and to make matters worse, we had to wait an additional 1/2 hour for the man with the keys to the gym to show up. We did some trimming to the schedule and rearranged some things so that we were still able to have a meaningful clinic. We taught the games of knock out and hot shot. At the end of the clinic, a poll showed that about 50% liked one game over the other. We have heard parents say that they like how we open and close with prayer. Hearing that is so encouraging. Following the afternoon clinic, we played another game against a group of locals who meet frequently and regularly to play. The PTR team was off to a roaring start and by the end of the first quarter it looked like PTR was going to run away with the game. The other got a huge shot in the arm with the director of the gym that we use in the morning entered the game. Clearly a very talented player, he helped close the gap quickly and soon PTR found itself down by 9. Using the 3rd and 4th quarters to come back, the PTR team ended the game ahead by 4 points. It was a brilliant effort by all who played and it made for a great time together. There was much fellowship after the game and the PTR team was able to give our NT Bibles to the other team. PTR has left a good impression of what a Christian is on the heart of the gym director and we are very pleased with how well he is receiving us. God continues to work in great ways to accomplish His purposes. Nestled between the AM and PM clinics was our team time. One of the missionaries, Travis, spoke to us about the 1st commandment, teaching us about how following just this one commandment will help us with all of the others. We were blessed as Andrew gave his testimony and by the time we had in song. God has brought the team together through sickness and now He is working in each of our hearts to bind us together for a single purpose: to serve Him with all of our hearts. Please pray that the sicknesses will leave us and that we will remain true to the one True God.
We now have two days under our belts. We saw the attendance on Monday go from 27 in the AM and 32 in the PM to 30 in the AM and 35 in the PM on Tuesday. We were encouraged by the increase in turnout and were pleased that new kids joined our clinics. There was a great sense of excitement throughout both of the clinics as the kids were learning or practicing skills to make themselves better. Of course, the kids enjoyed it when we were able to play full games with them, but they were also very excited about the things that they have been learning in the stations. All of our coaches have been working hard to make it a great experience for the kids while showing the love of Christ to them at the same time. The sportsmanship thought focused on being a team player and working hard for the good of the team. In between the clinics, we had a time of praise and worship, which included singing. It was really neat to sing to our great God as a team, while one of the team played the guitar and another played the bongos. We took time to thank God for His character and nature as well as some of the things He has been doing for us. We were blessed by William’s testimony as he told us what God has done in his life. Following the PM clinic, we played our first game of the trip against the Puerto de la Cruz team. It was obvious that they were preparing for this game since they brought the best team we have seen from them for the past three years! Of course, White Lightning led the team and had a great game. The PTR team, a mix of Americans, Venezuelans, and Spaniards, worked hard and playing well and playing together. Since this was the first time these players played together, it was great to watch the PTR team hustle and do their best. Unfortunately, the PTR team was not able to handle the mass of talent assembled for the game, but was a great testimony in the loss. Showing great sportsmanship, the PTR team played hard and didn’t complain about missed fouls or when things obviously didn’t go their way. We are grateful that the Lord was working in us so that we could be consistent with what we are teaching during the clinics. In the stands during the game was probably the largest turnout of kids from the clinics who have come to watch the game that we have seen in the three years that we have been here. It is a testimony to how the coaches have been building into the lives of the kids. The relationships are growing and it’s encouraging to see what God is doing through us all. Please continue to pray for health and safety. God is working many things as a part of His sovereign plan and we are trusting in Him for the accomplishment of it.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We love you all.
Day is in the books. We are rocking and rolling in Mestre. It has been in the 90s both days, so we are getting a nice little tan as we work with the kids each day. We focus on fundamentals from 9-12 each morning and 3-5 in the afternoon. From 12-3 we go to the pool, have lunch and then split up into 5 groups that do English, VBS and questions and answer sessions with the kids. It is a great time to get to know the kids and for them to get to know us.
We have developed some great relationships with the kids and many of the parents. Each day is a new opportunity to develop friendships as we learn more about basketball and God.
It is hard to imagine that tomorrow is already Wednesday. Middle of the week and it seems like we just got here. Camp has been going well and we played some pick-up at the local courts. Tomorrow and Thursday we play games at night against some local teams. We are looking forward to rubbing shoulders with other guys our age and sharing Christ through our sportsmanship and character on the court.
Thank you for your prayers and for standing with us in ministry! Could not do it without you!
Gentlemen, start your engines! A familiar phrase to get a very renown race going, it was not needed for our first day of clinics. primed and ready to go, the coaches brought energy and God’s love to the Santa Ursula clinic in the morning and the Puertro de la Cruz clinic in the afternoon. With about 27 kids in the morning and 30 kids in the afternoon, we were grateful for turn out. Both directors of the courts that we played at were a little disappointed that more kids didn’t show up, but were very grateful for what we had and that we were there. We have been given such a huge amount of support by the local basketball clubs that it is so exciting to see. We no interference and lots of encouragement at both venues. At both clinics, the coaches worked hard with the kids, making sure that they were learning the fundamentals of the game as well having a fun time. There were kids who were fans of the rebounding, dribbling and shooting stations, but most of all, they really liked when we played games. The afternoon clinic had a lot of familiar faces from years past, but also a good deal of new faces. It was great to renew old friendships and start new ones. Team time was spent hearing an introduction to our study of the 10 commandments. We were able to see that although the 10 commandments seem restricting, they are actually liberating in God’s special way. We also were able to hear Joe’s testimony of what God has done in his life. Praise God that He chooses to use us. Tomorrow night we play our first game against a team from Puerto de la Cruz. Please pray that we are all healthy enough to run the clinics, share God’s love, and play the evening game. Two of our number have been sick today so pray with us that they will return to full strength.
Thank you for your support and prayer in all things!
Buna sera. We have arrived safely after a long day and a half of travel and waiting around at the airport in the London. Our flight was delayed out of Newark but we made up time in the air and arrived early into London. Unfortunately, we were unable to get a connecting flight to Venice so we made the transfer to Gatwick. It was an enjoyable ride through the country!
Our flight out of Gatwick was delayed 90 minutes so we were a bit late arriving into Venice, but we were nonetheless welcomed with open arms by the missionary and some brothers and sisters from church. After a great pasta dinner, we are settled in to our accommodations and are ready for the start of camp tomorrow. However, we are indeed VERY tired!
Thanks for praying for us and for anxiously awaiting with us God’s plan for the week. We cannot wait to see be a part of its unfolding!
This morning started with the morning service at the church that is partnering with us and is hosting us. it was a very special time since communion was served. Although the whole service was in Spanish, the commonality we have with the Lord’s Supper allowed us to worship in a special way. Songs were sung which gloried our Lord and there was even one where we knew the tune. Following a fantastic lunch that is reminiscent of a meal on a major holiday, we took time for more logistics and discussion about the upcoming clinics. We are excited and ready for the clinics to begin. A good team time was held after that where we were able to pray for each other, praise God for who He and what He does, and also hear Leann’s testimony. Upon completion of the meeting and team time, the team went into a local town where we will be holding the clinics this week in the afternoon. We were able to see where the clinics were held the first year PTR was here (the court is currently under construction). The team then returned back to their home locations to rest and prepare for the first day of clinics. Please continue to pray that we are healthy, that the Lord does great things this week, and that He is honored in all we do. Thank you for standing with us in prayer.
We just arrived safely back at Push The Rock headquarters in Emmaus after driving some 20 or so hours straight through the night. Praise the Lord for safe traveling and a wonderful week! Now, it’s time to experience the meaning of “day of rest.” Thank you so much for everyone who kept us in prayer this past week! The trip was a definite success in several ways.