Costa Rica – Bethel BFC Youth Group Trip Update

Greetings!

The Bethel BFC Youth Group team arrived in Costa Rica in the afternoon yesterday. They’ll have the opportunity to run several sports clinics over the next week. Please click on the link below to learn more about the team and following along with their journey in Costa Rica.

https://bbfcyouth.org/missions-trip-blog

On Eagles Wings: Investing In The Future

EAGLES WINGS DISC GOLF AT THE JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Thanks to the staff at Dynamic Discs and the PDGA, Eagles Wings Disc Golf had the opportunity to be involved in the Junior World Disc Golf Championships a few short weeks ago. The tournament was held in Emporia, Kansas and had nearly 200 players competing. Eagles Wings Disc Golf staff members, Dustin and Hannah Leatherman, Seth and Becky Hogan, and Scott Leader along with his parents Ron and Lynn Leader, all made the trek to Emporia from Pennsylvania and Colorado to participate during the week filling various roles.

One of the highlights at Worlds was meeting all of the Eagles Wings Junior Grant Winners and supporting them throughout the week. Each of the winners had applied for the junior grant earlier in the year, with one of the main criteria being that they did a service project for their local disc golf community. It was really exciting for our staff to meet these incredible young disc golfers and get to know the people behind these stories we had read about. Five of our Junior Grant Winners from 2018, and three of our Junior Grant Winners from 2017 played in the event. We kicked things off for them early in the week with a dinner, and then spent time interacting with them throughout the tournament. Scott and his parents spent time each day supporting each grant winner out on the course during the tournament rounds.

Another highlight of the week was our Eagles Wings Chapel service. We had over 70 people in attendance, which was our largest chapel service to date. It is always such a blessing to worship God with other disc golfers and this night was no exception. It was held across the street from the player meeting, and a local youth pastor intertwined humor, stories of faith, and lessons from the Bible to teach the kids and their families how they can love God and others out on the disc golf course while competing at the Junior World Championships. During the award ceremony at the end of the tournament, it was incredible for us to watch so many of these same kids demonstrate their love for God and the other competitors while sharing about their faith in Jesus during their acceptance speeches. The time was well spent this week for our Eagles Wings Disc Golf staff and we all came away feeling excited about what God is doing in the disc golf community.

 

AFRICAN DISC GOLF TOUR

Last year, new friends of Eagles Wings, Yohannes Desalegn and John Luetzow, ran the first ever PDGA disc golf tournament in Africa in Yohannes’ home country of Ethiopia.  You may recall that we were able to send Elem Katambo, a member of the Push The Rock Zambia staff to the event. This experience for Elem sparked a vision of running a similar event in Macha, Zambia where he lives and works for Push The Rock.  All of this has led to the first ever African Disc Golf Tour!

We will be partnering with the Ethiopia crew to run a series of events that will be linked together.  While the African tour will most likely look a bit different than the big tours we see throughout disc golf, it marks a significant step in the growth of disc golf in Africa.  We are excited and honored to be part of this partnership and look forward to see what will come of it.

We will be sharing more details in the weeks to come via our website and social media and we encourage you to stay tuned in. We will be offering some great opportunities to support the event through shirt and disc sales, along with opportunities to sponsor holes for the event, and even local Zambian players!  

 

CHAPEL MINISTRY IN FULL SWING

Our first ever chapel took place at the 2015 World Championships, and a few short years later we have made some significant progress!  While we will not quite achieve our goal of offering a chapel at every major event, we are getting closer every year. As the word gets out, we are excited that tournament directors have been helping us promote, and local disc golfers in ministry are getting involved.  On top of that, our core player base is growing, and doing a great job helping us with this offering!

As we mentioned earlier we were recently at the Junior World Championships.  The tournament director did a great job promoting the chapel, and we were blessed to have 77 people in attendance!  It was great to worship with people from all over the country, and even a few people from overseas. In addition to this we partnered with two different churches to make it happen, and got connected with some great families that now know there is a ministry like ours in the disc golf community!

This past week we were also able to offer chapel at the Amateur World Championships.  Our South Carolina ambassador led the way and did a great job with the night. Looking ahead we will be offering chapels in Vermont, Massachusetts, Illinois, Georgia to name just a few states. We praise God for the growing network that has allowed us to grow this ministry.  If you are interested in helping us grow through either financial support, or by getting involved yourself we would love for you to join us!

 

ON THE HORIZON

Italy 2018 | Update 9

It is hard to believe that today is the last day of camp. It seems like we just got to Mestre and started building relationships with the kids. We challenged the kids to work as a team and to get everyone involved. We centered the camp day around team challenges and games. The kids really enjoyed working together and it was encouraging to see them display teamwork. During the spiritual portion, the kids would hear about the life Jesus gives us if we believe in Him. The kids would also do a series of puzzles focused on two verses from John. The last testimony shared by a coach was perfect for the conclusion of camp. She discussed the struggle of believing because others believed. It wasn’t until she became older that she heard the Lord speak to her. She made a decision that she wanted to make her faith her own and how it’s important not to let the pressure of family or others keep you from making a life changing decision. Although camp was officially over, we would see many of the kids and their parents later that night at our closing ceremony. It was a great time to share with the parents about the local church and who Push The Rock is. One of the coaches shared his testimony and why he is serving in Italy for the next year. The parents and kids really enjoyed themselves and thanked all of us for the week. We finished the night taking pictures, talking, and enjoy refreshments.

For our last full day in Italy, we spent a couple hours debriefing. It was a great time discussing our experiences, encouraging one another, and praying. Afterwards, we would head to Venice. The team would doing some shopping as we wanted to get gifts for our supporters. We also took the water Bus through the Grand Canal. We were amazed by the beautiful scenery that can only be seen on the water. Following our trip to Venice, the team would enjoy a quick nap before heading to a local pizzeria in which we would have dinner with 40 kids and parents from the camp. It was a great time of fellowship and getting to know the parents personally. To conclude the night, two of the coaches would do the “Kilo Challenge”. This challenge includes eating a kilo of gelato as fast as you can. Both coaches would finish the kilo in approximately 25-30 minutes. It was pretty impressive and fulfilling for the coaches. The team would say its last goodnight to each other as two of the members would be flying back Sunday morning.

Italy 2018 | Update 8

Today was a rough day, we were asked by the other summer camp taking place at the school we are having the camp at to have 85 of their kids be a part of our schedule. One of the coaches agreed to doing sports drills with the kids from the other camp as long as they are divided into groups of 20. This would allow him to host a group for an hour throughout the day. The other coaches did a good job maintaining the same schedule for the basketball campers. The staff from the other camp were very grateful for us assisting them and it provided Push The Rock another opportunity to meet other kids. Moreso, that several kids stated that they would love to attend a Push The Rock camp next year. The camp day ended with one of the missionaries sharing his testimony which included finding purpose in his career and family but never being satisfied until finding Christ. Following camp, we were invited to dinner at another missionaries home. We would be joined by a former missionary family that Push The Rock has partnered with in the past. It was great catching up with them and hearing how much Push The Rock has grown and helped the local church expand its reach in Mestre.

Italy 2018 | Update 7

Day 2 of camp is generally one of our favorite days. The kids have more energy and are more comfortable with the team. We began the day with group pictures which most of the coaches took silly photos. The sportsmanship thought of the day centered around determination. The kids were challenged to pick a skill and work at getting better at that skill during the week. Following a couple of hours of doing basketball drills, the kids spent time in a spiritual station that highlighted one of Jesus’s miracles from the Gospel of John. After lunch, the kids were put through an obstacle course. The course was part of a spiritual skit centered around God’s guidance. The kids would finish the day scrimmaging against each other. One of the coaches shared his testimony to close the day. He talked about about the hopelessness that was found in the game of basketball and the hope he found in God. After camp, the team spent some time together for Team Time. We discussed the Fourth Commadement (Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy) and the importance to find rest. Following Team Time, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and fellowship at one of the missionaries home.

It’s Hump Day, but most importantly, we get to celebrate Independence Day in Italy. All the kids wore crazy socks (a PTR tradition). We also got to hear them sing the Italian National Anthem. We followed up by singing the US Anthem. All in all, it set the tone for today’s sportsmanship thought; Enthusiasm. The kids really practiced enthusiasm thought the day of camp. Like the other days, a coach shared his testimony. He stated that he could never find satisfaction in the world until he embraced the perfections of Christ. This was a great ending to the camp day. At night, the team participated in a game against former campers. The campers won the game but it was a good time see many of the kids who have been a part of Push The Rock Italia for numerous years. We would end the night eating pizza with some of the guys.

 

 

Italy 2018 | Update 6 | June 30 & July 1

Our morning began with worship and church in Forli with the missionaries. Most of the service was in Italian but it was great getting share why we were here and what the Lord is doing. We enjoyed a potluck style lunch at the church. After church, the team was driven up to Mestre to partake in their service. One of the coaches shared his testimony along with an encouragement message centered around “one body.” Following church, we enjoyed refreshments and got to spend time with the translators who will be helping out with camp.

What a first day of camp? Our morning started early as we assisted the church with set up before the kids arrive. We have 56 kids attending camp this week. The morning portion of camp was very similar to last weeks. One of the coaches spoke on obedience followed by stations and coaches challenge. Different from the last year, one of the stations is spiritual focused and features a bible story from the Gospel of John. Lunch was later than normal which really made the day long. Following lunch, the kids enjoyed a spiritual skit and Q&A with the coaches. The remaining time of day was spent playing 4 on 4 games. A testimony was shared as parents arrived so that they could hear more about each coaches background as well as how God worked in their lives. This was a great first day of camp. After camp, we decided to go into Venice and see the city at night. It is such a beautiful city at night! We probably walked a few miles before deciding on a restaurant. Everyone had spaghetti. We couldn’t have asked a for a better ending to our day!

 

Italy 2018 | Update 5 | June 28 & 29

It’s hard to believe today is the last day of camp in Forli. Our day was jammed packed with morning camp. We spent most of the camp playing group games and interacting with the kids as much as possible. Many of the kids had us sign their camp shirts. The team was a bit sad having to say goodbye. After the morning camp, we went to the shooting camp in Forli. One of the coaches gave a speech on teamwork and the player is more important than the game. He also included a few personal videos. We put the kids through a few drills before having to leave early for Faenza to play basketball with Luca and his family. Overall, the day was filled with many goodbyes.

Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing day, however, going to Florence never feels like that. We boarded a train at 8:18 with the three girls from the Forli Summer Camp along with two teen helpers. It was great getting a chance to get to know everyone more. Upon arriving in Florence, we separated into two groups. Most of the team was interested in shopping and even enjoyed a meal at McDonald’s. After spending 7 hours walking around the city, the team traveled back to Faenza where they enjoyed a nice 3 course meal by the missionary. We spent the rest of the night packing and getting ready to leave for Mestre in the morning.

 

Italy 2018 | Update 4 | June 27

It’s officially hump day during our first week! We have officially spent three days with the summer campers teaching basketball fundamentals. The kids have improved in numerous areas like shooting and passing. The sportsmanship thought for the day was on Enthusiasm. The kids were excited about going to the water park in the afternoon so it was a bit of a challenge to get them to be enthusiastic about basketball. However, the kids were very engaged during the coach’s testimony. Many questions were asked, especially in relation to what bad things the coach had done prior to following Jesus. In the afternoon, we headed back to the Forli Basketball Club Shooting Camp. The kids were excited to see us. One of the coaches talked about hard work and its importance in becoming better basketball players. We were allotted more time to do skill development with the campers. Instead of all shooting drills, we incorporated ball-handling into many of the drills. After the conclusion of this camp, the team went back to Faenza and enjoyed a nice pasta dish for dinner. Overall, it was a much needed relaxing night for us.

Thursday meant we only have 2 more days with the summer campers in Forli and Faenza. Since many of the campers were tired from the water park yesterday, we decided to do more group games with the kids. It was a bit of a struggle but the kids managed to make it through the four hour session. The testimony shared focused on God’s desire to have a personal relationship with you. We were reminded that our faith cannot be based off what our parents believed or church traditions, but rather on an intimacy Christ wants to have with us. Following the morning session, we decided to head to Imola (a city we previously held camps in) to hangout with campers from previous years. Upon our arrival, we were surprised to see how tall the kids had gotten. We spent a couple hours playing 4-on-4 with the kids and others at a local court. The kids invited us back to their house for pizza. We got to chat with them and their mother while watching England vs Belgium. In one of our conversations with the boys, they expressed their excitement for spending two weeks in the US later this summer. They couldn’t wait to attend Push The Rock camps and spend time with past trip members. Despite being a long night, we were glad to have some time in Imola and invest in the relationships already established.

 

 

Italy 2018 | Update 3 | June 26

Our morning began in traditional fashion, with breakfast at 7 am followed by a “pebble challenge” (a short devo for the day). We were excited to get to camp as we knew the kids would be looking forward to more basketball. Today’s sportsmanship thought was on Determination. We challenged the kids to pick a skill and be determined to improve in that skill over the course of the week. The campers enjoyed the morning camp as we spent more time on group games designed to improve various basketball skills. Towards the end of the morning session, one of the coaches shared his testimony about believing he could find fame and popularity through sports. However, when sports were taken away from him, he discovered a new purpose through the life of Christ. He explained that Jesus’ willingness to serve others and His obedience in dying on the cross for mankind changed his life and gave him a new purpose in using sports as a platform for spreading the Gospel. After lunch with the kids, the coaches traveled to the Forli Basketball Club Shooting Camp. This was Push The Rock’s first time interacting with these kids. There were 60+ kids at the camp but we would be doing skill work with 48 of the kids from ages 12 – 16. We spent the first portion of our time at the camp talking about determination and allowing the kids to ask us questions about our lives. Many of them thought we were professional athletes ;). Following the intro portion, we got to lead skill development on 2 separate courts for 45 minutes. Most of the drills were centered around shooting. The camp director was impressed with the leadership and drills the team came up with during this portion. After the drills, we hung out and watched the campers participate in a 4-on-4 tourney. This downtime allowed us to hold conversations with the kids. Camp ended at 6. One of the missionaries drove the team backed to Faenza to get refreshed and head back to Forli to have barbecue with the other missionaries and camp interns. It was a great time of fellowship and eating some American style food. Our night concluded with Team Time.