Wednesday July 3
On Saturday, each team that came to the tournament had to bring 5 “despensas,” which is different types of goods to help the orphanage the missionaries are involved with. Today we ended up taking those despensas to the orphanage and we got to see some of the kids and take a tour of where they live. They were so thankful for all we were able to get from the different teams to support them in a small way. After that we took a tour of downtown Guadalajara, went to our evening clinics and finished our day off with two flag football games. It was a great day, but sadly tomorrow is our last day.
Tuesday July 2
This morning, we woke up and had breakfast and our daily devotional around 8:00am. We then walked to a school where we ran flag football clinics from 9:20 am – 1:20 pm for over 300 kids! It was a so much fun and a highlight of the week for many. Many of the coaches got to share a sportsmanship thought helping the kids understand how to play sports in a Godly way. We then ate some of the most delicious empanadas in the world, had our Team Time and rested before our evening clinics. At 4:00 pm we left for our evening clinics where we had double the kids as the day before. A coach shared another sportsmanship thought and testimony with the participants.
Hard to believe we are almost done with the week. With it being Thursday and following some late nights, the team was very tired going into the camp morning. As we began the basketball portion of the day, one of the coaches shared the day’s sportsmanship thought: Attitude and how attitude impacts not only us but those around us. He even highlighted that we cannot let our situation dictate our attitude. After skill development and 3v3 games, we enjoyed pasta for lunch with the kids. The afternoon portion of the camp was a trip to a local pool, so we decided to go as this would be relaxing but also great to spend more time with the kids. We spent about 2 ½ hours at the pool and had a brief debrief discussing the logistics of Friday in which we were planning to have a festival in the afternoon centered around Canada and the U.S. since Canada Day (July 1) and the 4th of July were coming up. Following the pool, we grabbed gelato at a local gelateria. This gelateria was ranked in the top 30 of all Italy for its creative gelato flavors. After enjoying this tasty gelato, we proceed back home for rest and dinner. For dinner, we enjoyed pasta with panna (whipping cream) and sausages. This dish was one of the coaches favorite meals. We spent dinner discussing various stories and answering questions. Team Time proceeded dinner and the team would get to bed at a pretty decent time.
It’s Friday and the last day of camp. Many of us started to get sad as we knew this was the last day we would get to spend with the kids and possibly never see them again. We decided that camp would be filled with many games and competitions. The sportsmanship thought for the day was love and what it means to love others. We even highlighted the greatest love which comes from God, and that’s Jesus Christ. The kids participated in various defensive, shooting, and dribbling competitions. Following snack, we played a 20-minute game of soccer in which the Italians won 4 – 2. Before lunch, we thanked the kids for an amazing week and gave out our “Christian Character” award to 3 kids who displayed all the characteristics we highlighted throughout the week. During lunch, many of us coaches were signing autographs on kids’ shirts. Following lunch, we started the festival with several games from bean bag toss to water games to slapshot competitions. After games, the parents arrived and heard various songs that their kids learned. The songs were in English so it was great to be able to join them in singing the songs. To conclude the day, we had watermelon and lemonade with the kids and their parents. It was definitely hard to say goodbye to all the kids. Before heading home, we went to get gelato at another gelateria with a couple of the high school helpers. The gelato was very good. After saying goodbye to them, we rushed home to get showered and dressed as we would meet up with the missionaries from the camp in a nearby town called Brisghella, known for its two towers. We got a chance to go up one of the towers and take pictures. The view was amazing. We would have piadine for dinner along with more gelato. The team headed back and got to bed as we would be traveling to Florence in the morning.
Day 3 of our week in Faenza/Forli followed the same schedule as the other days. We ate breakfast and heard a Pebble Challenge from one of the coaches. Following breakfast, we proceeded to camp to lead basketball in the morning. Today, we had only 12 kids as some kids were tired from the past two days. Our Sportsmanship Thought was on humility and what that looks like in our lives. The kids went through various drills to improve their shooting, passing, dribbling, and defense. The coaches’ challenge was three-point shooting in which one of the coaches won the competition pretty easily. Following the coaches’ challenge, the kids played 3v3 or 4v4 against each other. For lunch, we enjoyed some risotto and salad. After lunch, we left to rest and then head to Imola to see some of the kids from past camps. We arrived in Imola around 5:30 pm and noticed that the local court had a large 3v3 tournament that lasts about 2 weeks. Therefore, we had to find another court to play on and this gave us a chance to meet some other people. Following a few pickup games, we were invited back to two of the boys’ house for dinner. We had some local pizza and just chatted about life. The brothers informed us that they were playing in the 3v3 game and that we could watch them play so we stayed to watch their first game. Their team won the first game of the night. In between games, we proceeded to a local restaurant for some gelato. While eating our gelato, we walked back to the court to say our goodbyes and proceed home, arriving at home around midnight.
First day of camp, what an exciting time for the team. Our morning began at 7 am, where we enjoyed breakfast and heard a Pebble Challenge from Mark 10:13-16. After breakfast, we departed for Forli, which is a city 25 minutes away. Upon arrival, we met the camp staff and were introduced to the entire camp by the missionary. Out of the 40 kids, we had 14 that would be involved with the basketball portion of the morning. This week’s camp theme is “The Great Exchange,” so one of the coaches shared the day’s “Sportsmanship Thought” on Sacrifice. He highlighted the importance of sacrifice and how humbling it can be especially for an athlete, but also shared that the great sacrifice known to man was Jesus Christ dying on the cross in our place. After the welcoming, we got the kids stretched and spent some time doing skill development. Around snack time, one of the coaches shared his testimony to the entire camp (40+ kids). We concluded the basketball portion with some 3v3 games and a coaches’ challenge. Following the morning session, we ate lunch with the kids and spent the afternoon doing various team-building activities from water balloon races, to frisbee soccer. The kids at this camp are very competitive which made for a great afternoon. After camp, we spent some time debriefing with the entire staff and made our way back to Faenza in which we got showers and decided to do Team Time before dinner. Dinner was spaghetti, which the team loved.
Tuesday, started off like yesterday. We at breakfast together at 7 and heard a Pebble Challenge from on the coaches. At camp, we noticed a number of kids missing as we only had 13 kids for our basketball session including a couple of new ones. Some of the kids were sick and some were tired and decided to stay with the other group of campers. The “Sportsmanship Thought” for today was Respect; which was a main rule of the entire camp. We highlighted the importance of respecting one another. After a morning of skill development and competitions, we spent time with the kids during lunch, which was pizza. Following lunch, we headed home to get some rest and do Team Time before meeting up with a family for a small picnic in a local park near where we were staying. Many of us met this family during last year’s trip. After we ate, we headed to the countryside to participate in a 6k “walk.” The walk turned it to a hike as we experienced various points of incline and decline during the walk. During the walk, we had several interactions with various people who asked questions from “what do your shirts mean?” to “why are you Americans are here?” At the conclusion of the race, we enjoyed various drinks and food known to the region. The team was pretty tired but several of the coaches were able to have a deep conversation with the husband from the family we had a picnic with. The conversation was centered around “Is Jesus the only way to heaven or can you get to heaven by your works?” The husband had to get home before the conversation was finished but you can tell that he wanted to talk more on the topic.
The team arrived safely very late at night and went straight to bed upon arrival. Friday morning consisted of training and a great cultural experience to Latin America’s largest indoor market. We then had our Team Time and were off to the house church at our host home.
Saturday was a long day, since the team had to leave by 6:30am to go and set up for the flag football tournament. It was an awesome day of making connections with other athletes and making it all the way to the semifinal game. We were able to share that the team came down because each team member loves football, but more importantly, that it came to share about God’s love for us and how following Christ affects us both today and for eternity.
On Sunday we were all sore from playing 5 flag football games, but still had a great time praying together with the missionaries and some locals. We finished the day off with a Mexican cookout, also known as “Carne Asada.”
Monday we went to a marginalized area where we did a prayer walk and passed out flyers for our first clinics of the trip. We ended up with 10 kids and had a great time sharing with them about how to serve others. One of the team members also shared a personal testimony of coming to Christ. We ended the day telling the kids that there is a prize for whoever brings the most friends by the end of Thursday.