Day two of the Santa Ursula and La Victoria clinics went well.Both clinics were well attended by most of the same kids and both also saw new kids join in.The coaches continue to work with the kids to help them develop their skill as well as share the love of Christ with them in their actions during the clinic.Taking time to help as many as possible, the coaches build into the lives of the kids by working with them, teaching them, and coaching them.The kids have an enjoyable time as they play the game they enjoy.The PTR team has been blessed by the half dozen or so kids who traveled over 60 minutes from the towns we were in last week to attend the clinics in both Santa Ursula and La Victoria.It is such a blessing to us to have the opportunity to continue to minster to them for more than one week and continue to build a relationship with them.This is more evidence that the love of a sport can be used to share the love of God.Lunch and team time was like yesterday and filled the time between the clinics.Much like the previous days, the lunch was very good and the team time was up-lifting.Joining us today for both lunch and team time were kids from the camps, ones who we have been ministering to over the years.They sat in on the praise and worship time as well as the testimony time.I can only imagine what they were experiencing as they sat and listened to all parts of team time,Our prayer is that gospel seeds have been planted and that at some point, they will be watered.In the La Victoria gym, the PTR boys team played a game tonight made up of a host of all-star local players.Determined to put their best foot forward, the team was tall, aggressive, and good.We were fortunate tonight once again to play against a player we named “White Lightning” when we encountered him the very first year.It was against this team that PTR took the court tonight.A nip and tuck game for most of the game, it was highlighted by one of the PTR players hitting a shot just inside of the half-court line to beat the buzzer at the half.Bucket’s shot tied the game and sent the PTR fans into a tizzy as the half-time began.For as well and as hard as the PTR team played, they were not able to keep enough points on the board by the end of the game.However, through it all of the tenseness and the desire to win, the team persevered and presented a good testimony.By God’s grace, the actions of the night were in accordance with the words during the day.Finishing the night with a meal at the church and a hot shower at their host homes, the boys and the rest of the PTR team finished the day strong and hit the sack to prepare for another day of ministry tomorrow.
So, it starts today!We are in Santa Ursula, the “home town” of the local church we are working with here in Tenerife and therefore have the opportunity to continue ministry to the locals whom the church has consistently been reaching out to for the past 9 years.As an intentional effort to make “gospel noise”, the clinic in Santa Ursula is part of the church’s year round outreach to its community and beyond.With 45 kids turning out for the clinic, the attendance was very pleasing to the organizers.Much like the clinics last week, the kids had the opportunity to develop their basketball skills in the areas of dribbling, passing, rebounding, shooting, defense, and the low post.The kids worked hard and enjoyed their time with the coaches.After a brief demonstration on playing man-to-man defense, the kids were divided into groups to play competitive games.A favorite part of the clinic, the kids really enjoyed played the games.Following a good morning at the clinic, the team enjoyed lunch and then team time at the church.Once again, voices were raised in song as together the whole team sung praise and worship songs.Another moment of great encouragement, this has become a part of the day that all look forward to.Two more testimonies were shared, one by a local young lady who received the Lord into her life last year, and another by one of the team leaders.Emotional times, but very valuable as they serve as examples of God’s work today in the lives of His creation.Then, it was off to the town of La Victoria for our afternoon clinics.The only location to have a PTR clinic for all seven years, the team was welcomed with open arms.The girls main coach and also the gym manager, Hector, has been very supportive of Push the Rock over the years.It appears that he enjoys our interaction and the coaching instruction that PTR provides.Upon the conclusion of the camp, the PTR girls began to prepare for their game against the La Victoria girls team.Always as very tough and competitive game, the PTR girls prepared for a battle.Both teams played hard and for the first time in a few years, the PTR girls pulled out a victory.However, the camaraderiebetween the both teams remained high as both teams exchanged hugs of mutual respect post game.Another great dinner was had at the church before the team headed back to their homes for some much needed rest.
Today started with another community breakfast all together at the church.It was another great meal as we are all able to enjoy good and time together.Following breakfast, we had the awesome privilege of attending the worship service at the Santa Ursula church.Two of our own gave their testimonies and shared how they came to be followers of Christ and what He is doing in their lives now.We were blessed to have the opportunity to partake in communion as well.The American missionary who has been facilitating our experience here on the island gave a message on hope from 1 Peter.Also a highlight of the service was the praise and worship time.Most of the songs song were not familiar to the Americans, however, the spirit of worship was so strong, they engaged with little difficulty.A blessing to worship with fellow believers, the language barrier seemed to disappear during this part of the service.God was truly worshipped this morning.At the conclusion of the service, we enjoyed another wonderful meal at the church, followed by a few hours of much needed rest back at our host homes.At the trip takes its toll on our bodies, the opportunity to have a little down time was much appreciated.The team then met back at the church for discussion on the upcoming clinics at the new two locations.Although in Santa Ursula, the gym we will be using is different that the one we had been using the past three years.With the gym having one court and thus only two main baskets, two portable ones will be brought in to give a total of four.This is a little different from all of the other gyms we have been using so it will just take a few minor adjustments in how the clinic is set up.Dinner was served at the church and then we all loaded up into our cars for a trip to a local tourist town on the coast, Puerto de la Cruz, for ice cream and sight seeing.Always a great place to walk around and see the sights, Puerto de la Cruz is a nice place to visit.Upon returning to Santa Ursula, the team made their way back to their host homes for a good night’s rest, eager to start the new week.
Starting the day early, the whole group woke up for an early breakfast in order to pack up and clean up.It was quite a feat getting all 25+ people all moving in the same direction but everyone quickly proved the saying that many hands make for light work.Everyone pitched in and with concentrated effort cleaned up and packed up in record time. This allowed the group to depart early for one of three excursion opportunities: a downhill hike of a scenic ravine, a 20+ mile bike ride down the volcano, or the day at the beach.Most of the group chose the windy, scenic ride down the volcano, while adozen or so enjoyed the beauty of the hike.Just a few spend the day at the beach.With both the hike and the bike ride allowing spectacular views of the island, both were adventures that are not quickly forgotten.Seeing God’s magnificent handiwork brings awe, worship and praise.After the adventures were complete, the team met in the town of Santa Ursula on the northern part of the island, the home base for the missionaries we are working with.The team was then distributed to their guest homes to refresh for dinner.Eating tonight was a special honor.Fellow believers, PTR team members, and members of the evangelical church in Santa Ursula have their own local restaurant called a Guachinche.A special type of restaurant that is unique to the Canary Islands, the Guanchinche serves food as well as makes and sells wine.This Guanchincheis called El Talegazo and was the location for a great meal and a wonderful time together as a team.We were so thankful and grateful for our friends who made the evening so special.Following the wonderful meal, the team returned to their homes for a good night’s rest.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first of what is hopefully many gelato runs for the trip. A first for a couple and they were not disappointed. We came back and had Team Time. Going over camp specifics as well as hearing an intro to James and a team member’s testimony. After a good night’s sleep we woke up ready to roll with the first day of camp. 34 campers in total today making it the largest Imola camp to date! Camp went smoothly for a Monday, and it was very a encouraging day overall. We had many good questions and spiritual conversations throughout the day that were based off of the parable on the Good Samaritan that acted out at camp. After camp we enjoyed a delicious (as always) dinner and will be heading home soon for a debrief of the first day of camp, Team Time, and preparation for the the second day of camp! But we will enjoy a treat on the way home … some campers are in a city-wide 3-point shooting and dunk contest at a local court.
Today, the team enjoyed their first full day in Imola. We ushered in the day at Chiesa La Rocca; our church partner. We participated in communion while learning about the promises of God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Afterwards, we joined several church members for lunch at one of the family’s home. Since today was considered a day off, we decided to visit La Rocca, a castle located in the middle of town and were the church got its name from. Everyone enjoyed learning more about Imola’s history and the beautiful weather. We concluded the day with dinner at another family’s home. We had breakfast for dinner which was fantastic!! The team is excited to begin camp tomorrow. Photos of today’s adventures can be viewed below.
We made it! Thanks for your prayers and for standing with us as we begin our ministry in Italy. We are currently enjoying pizza and playing games with our hosts as we adjust to the time change and wait out the jet lag. Thursday night the team got together and had a great time of training and getting to know one another. The Friday afternoon we were off, bringing us to Saturday afternoon, where we are enjoying some very very warm weather. We are looking at a week in the high 90s into the 100s, so it will be nice and toasty!
Please pray for a great night of rest tonight, our time of fellowship and worship as a local church body in the morning, and then prep for a week of ministry. Camp starts bright and early Monday morning and we are excited about investing in a great group of kids for the week.
It’s hard to believe that day 7 has come and gone.Fully engaged in the daily routine, we take a moment to pull back and look at the time that we have spent here and although having done so much, it feels like only yesterday we arrived as a new team, a group of strangers.Through this past week, we have grown closer to our American counterparts as well as the locals who have welcomed us with many open arms.God has been working in us, through us, around us, and in spite of us.He has given us great opportunities with the local kids as well as a few other adult locals that we have been working with in our afternoon camps.Even tonight, we had a joint activity with the CVA Basketball Training Camp that we have been partnering with for 3 days this week.Intermingling with them has allowed us to further develop relationships, gain their trust, and show the love of Christ.Although a bit different activity that what we typically do, tonight’s joint event was something new for PTR Spain, Tenerife.This has allowed us to work with the another group in the area, create new contacts, and create even more awareness for the local church through PTR.God continues to bring new things our way and is supporting all of the new initiatives with His grace, power, influence, and provision.Even in the small things such as where part of the team will stay next week reveals God’s provision and care for this team.From individual skill development, to testimony times, to joint activities, God is moving and working in so many ways.Looking forward to our last day of clinics this week and one last chance to influence others for Christ, we are excited about what God has in store for us.
Much like Monday, today’s format has become very familiar.Breakfast, morning clinic at the Galeon gym, lunch, team time, and an afternoon clinic were all part of the routine.The evening brought a double header as both the girls team and boys each each played the Granadilla teams in the Los Cardones gym.Following the games, a hearty, delicious meal was had and after cleansing, refreshing showers, the team went to bed for much needed rest.But wait, there’s more.Today, during one of the clinics, a player fell down and 5 other kids rushed to help him up, oblivious to the one who still had the ball and went to score.Such an action is a great testimony to the influence of the PTR coaches and their desire to encourage good sportsmanship.As if that is not enough, there’s more.In team time, three testimonies were given, each describing points of decision and God’s intervention in their lives for the ultimate desire of refining each individual.But wait, there’s more.Playing for the Granadilla team were two girls who attend the PTR clinics.During the game, one of the PTR players was yelling encouragement to them as they played.Upon hearing this, the one player smiled a big grin and continued to play.After the game, the player and the PTR girls enjoyed hugs, building relationships with eternity in mind.But wait, there’s more.During the boys game, one of the Granadilla players intentionally threw an elbow at at PTR player so forcefully that the contact made the PTR player go off the court in pain.The elbow was thrown because he thought that the PTR player would hurt him.A conversation later helped the Granadilla player hear that the PTR player does not want to hurt players during games and that he doesn’t play like that at all.The Granadilla player apologized for the hit and the comments and then also asked for forgiveness from the PTR player.But wait there’s more.After dinner tonight, a player from the men’s Adeje team who is staying at the same building as the PTR team, ate dinner with a few of the guys from PTR.During the meal, a conversation began and moved into the sharing of the Gospel.The PTR guys were even able to pray with him before he went back to his room.There are probably many more things God is doing, most of which we have not yet heard.We may never know all that has transpired today that will bring honor and glory to God.What we do know, we are excited to share and rejoice in all that He is doing around us for His Glory.