Finished

Today is our last day of our trip to Poland. What an amazing journey it has been. Thinking back to training camp in Xenia, Ohio when we were complete strangers to where we are now as a family, truly shows God’s ability to unite anyone and everyone together. For me personally, this trip involved so much spiritual growth. The fellowship we had every day was something that I have never experienced before. I am so blessed to have made such meaningful spiritual connections with so many individuals. God’s work is amazing!

Our day today included finishing up our last day of camp and playing a basketball game against an amateur Poland team. It was fun to interact with older players and see their skill levels as a coach. Our players had a lot of fun and the game was pretty competitive. To end the camp, we had a banquet where Coach Kyle spoke about the gospel and shared God’s love to us and the campers. It was incredible to look around as Coach Kyle spoke and see how focused the campers were as they heard the gospel. God was truly speaking to each and everyone one of them. What an incredible day!

As this tour comes to a close, I am reflecting on a number of things. I want to make sure I stay connected with all of the incredibly awesome people I’ve met on this trip. I also am looking forward to diving into God’s word even more and learn as much as I can. This trip has ignited a spiritual fire in my soul and I can’t wait to Glorify God with the talents that He has given me, as well as, see what plans he has for me and everyone that has gone on this trip in the future. 

DSC_0145-2

Peace Out Poland, What’s up America!

God Bless,

Coach J

This trip has been such an incredible experience. God has done so many great things that it would be hard to name them all. The group of players and coaches really came together quickly and everyone meshed so well with each other. Training camp was a short but a fun experience. We got some plays put in and also started preparing for the trip.

Poland has been awesome. The people are great and the cities are very beautiful. God has blessed us by being able to meet so many people here in Poland that love the Lord and are working to spread his love. We’ve seen so many children through our school visits and clinics. It’s been so rewarding and humbling to share the game of basketball with them and to also present them with the love and hope of having a relationship with Christ.

The games have gone well. We’ve won all four games we played and we’ve had a lot of fun learning to play with each other. It’s been great seeing a group of players that didn’t know each other two weeks ago really come together and support each other and grow together on the court. They’ve really been fun to watch!

God has worked in a mighty way in the lives of the players and the coaches. Everyone has grown spiritually and I’m confident that everyone will look back on this trip as a key moment in their walk with God. One of the best parts of the trip for me is all the relationships. I love how God brings all these people together in his perfect timing to accomplish his will. God is so good!

    • Coach Thompson

Risks

There are risks and there are RISKS

We started the day off like everyday this week with breakfast at 8:30 but for me that really means rolling out of bed at 8:30. After that we had our daily devotional talking about risks, the theme for Camp today. The Pastor told us there are risks and then there are risks some risks can be used to glorify the kingdom and others should never be taken. Since this was the theme for camp it was not the last time we would talk about risks, Coach J talked later to the campers about the feeling out of your comfort zone and into the risk zone and those feelings you get. I immediately thought of this trip, how uncertain I was that I would raise the money, how nervous I was to meet new people and how unsure I would be able to share my faith effectively. But after getting out of the risk zone and those feelings fade you get into to the box of this is where he magic happens. If that doesn’t describe everything this trip has been for all of us I don’t know what does! I have grown so many relationships, and have grown in my faith so much in a few weeks, it’s been sensational. I’m loving the risk taking life.

Cięzka praca i fontanny (Hard Work and Fountains)

It is so difficult for me to sum up any single day in Warsaw. But here it goes…

The theme of Day 2 of the clinic was Oneness. Since Day 1, meeting in Xenia, Ohio our team has organically learned the value of being together pretty quickly. It has been really cool to see how God has just knitted our hearts together like sisters. I’ve grown so close to these girls and the Poland team and the beautiful people I have met along the way, I am already uneasy about saying goodbye.

We opened this morning with a team devotion from Philippians 2:1-9 led by Pastor Ralph and prayer and headed out to meet the campers for Day 2. The first session focused on sharpening some individual skills and we added some tricks to our b-ball repertoire. With the grace of God and a little rhythm we successfully managed to get 55+ people to jump over a single jumprope together at own time. I call that a successful day. Took a break to enjoy some subs for lunch, a little taste of home from Subway. Went back at it with Coach Kyle to strength/conditioning and agility. I just feel like God would accept sweating together as a spiritual act of worship. We finished with part 2 of the clinic with team oriented drills. The best moments to me have been when you get a chance to relate to a camper through the love for basketball even though you may not be able to understand each other. I am certain I have said a lot of silly things trying to cheer them on in Polish. I am inspired by their love for it.

Transportation or any transition in general is a bit different in Poland. One, they just walk a whole lot faster here than in America. I do not know if any of us have mastered the European pace- it is NOT a stroll. So we took a light jog to OldeTown Warsaw, catching the bus, then the metro, before getting to dinner. I felt like I was in the scene of a movie as we walked between these colorful beautifully crafted, intricately designed buildings, with the sun setting in the shadows. Stopping for ice cream… 3 scoops, added to that. I highly suggest blueberry ice cream in Poland! Walking, we met crowds of people who had gathered like us to admire the Fountain show. I’ve never seen anything like it. Lights and water and sound all blended together displaying a movie in a fountain. That was sooooo cool. After a brief shop at the souvenir shop, we would also get a little fountain from heaven and have to make a run for it back to the metro and hotel. The rain helped us to get a little better at the European pace of things. RUN! (Lol)

Tired, a little damp, and hearts full of wonder we retired for the night. I for sure set a record of the least amount of time between your head hitting the pillow and actually falling asleep.

I’m am so thankful. I am blown away. I am in love with Jesus even more. I am missing my girls already.

–Megan

Today was a very eventful day! We had our second day of camp and it was another success. The theme of today was oneness. We started off with stations then some competitive skill challenges. The afternoon segment we focused on team drills. This made the players really think about how teamwork makes the dream work. After camp we went to explore old town Warsaw. It was beautiful!! We went to a nice dinner that had air conditioning!!! Then we saw a light show which was awesome because it was on a fountain. After that we had to get home but we faced a monsoon. All the transportation over here is mostly through trains or buses so it was quite an experience! Tomorrow we have our third day of camp and we are very excited to keep seeing these players grow.

Love,

Amanda

Spirit Soaring in Warsaw

Today we were back in the city of Warsaw and it was the first day of our basketball clinic. The clinic was filled with God’s love, energy, and community. We focused on the subject of “Communication” today so we played some games with the campers to emphasize the importance of communication — not just on the court, but with God and people.

Besides the emphasis on communication, we also worked really hard on he fundamentals of basketball. We had a morning and evening session that focused on individual drill work and team oriented drills. We incorporated “Communication” by having the campers call out names during passing drills and just concentrate on the importance of communicating on the court.

The most breathtaking and overwhelming part of the day, however, happened later in the day when we had a worship session. The team was all together and were all singing our hearts out. It honestly showed how in love and on fire my teammates and staff are for Christ. Half of us were even in tears (including myself)! One of the songs said “I found my life when I laid it down. Upward falling, spirit soaring.” That’s exactly how I felt tonight. Completely surrendered, (happy) tears rolling down my face in awe of God’s love, and my spirit soaring ready to grow in my relationship with the Lord. We stopped midway through the worship session to gather in small groups for prayer and that was another powerful moment. We were all able to share struggles and prayer requests and pray over some of our teammates which was such an amazing experience. I’ve realized being vulnerable to people you care about is such a freeing experience when they pray for your struggles to be taken by God.

The last part of the day was very humbling. The staff brought out buckets of water and rags and told the team they were going to wash our feet — I know how crazy that sounds. But our staff have such servant hearts and they explained how Jesus did the same. He never made Himself seem above another person and we are asked to try to live as close to Him as possible. So as a representation of Jesus and His servant heart, they washed our feet one by one and prayed individually with each of us.

I can’t explain how life-changing, impactful, and humbling tonight was. It grew my faith immensely and drew me closer in fellowship with the people on this tour.

– Paige

I have learned so much in one day because God had filled my life with joy and thankfulness. My teammates and I can back to Warsaw to help with a basketball client for 14 to 21 year olds to help them through basketball and connect with God. Before the client, the director of the camp talked to us,staff and Volunteers, about communication with God and with our lives. He talks about joyful, thankful, and communication. He also talks about how God communicated with us on spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul was writing to speak to God to build a stronger relationship with him and God started giving spiritual gifts to diversities of gifts and activities, but same spirit and also different of ministries, but same Lord. This relates to this trip by giving my teammates and I the opportunity to inspire the kids to teenagers to share our stories and how Christ affected us through life.

The beginning of the client, we all interacted with the campers and the director was communicating with the campers by showing and explaining at the same time the drills to give the campers a good idea what they are doing because communication is by listening with seeing with your eyes and hearing with your ears. In the afternoon, we got into three big group mix together with staff, Volunteers, and campers to get to know each other which we have to communicate. We did three activities/tasks to help with communication:

1.) we had paper plates to stand on and one person in the middle and that one person had to say their name, where their from, and have you rather and if the rather is true you have to switch spots with someone else if you not standing on the plate you have to be in the middle.

2.) we couldn’t talk to each other but we had to put our selves in alphabetical order by first name which it was hard because we couldn’t communicate with each other.

3.) we had to say everyone names that was in our group and it was hard because just to memorize the names and communicating with each other is better.

We got back into a big group and we talked about how communication is with reading and writing and how we listen with our eyes and ears because listening with your eyes is seeing what that person is explaining about and showing you.

In the mid afternoon, one of the leaders, Kim, talked about maturity and how maturity affects your life and others. In the Christian life is a life of growth in our relationship with Christ. Spiritual maturity is attained over time, not in an instant. In Acts 2:42-47, Peter addressed a large crowd and many became believers by having devoted the teaching and to the fellowship and talking about what is prayer and prayer is talking to God giving him the chance to motivate the believers into devote theirselves to prayer. The ingredients that God uses to cause growth in our lives are grace and truth. Truth gives us understanding to live a Christian life and Grace provides acceptance and encouragement we keep going. The formula is Grace+Truth+Time=Growth. The word, prayer, and witness are the steps to take to relation of the growth environment.

–Kristina

Arbeit macht frei

“Arbeit macht frei” is German and means work sets you free. That was the phrase of the entrance that these innocent people walked through. In school we have talked about Hitler and the Holocaust but walking the same steps they did,where they slept, where they labored, where they were beaten to death, and where they were stripped naked and shot was totally different than reading a little bit about in a history book. I am glad we had the opportunity to see this history. To see these small barracks meant for 51 gorses to stay and instead 400 people slept in. As I was walking around and just taking everything in as there were so many emotions going on personally, one element on that camp stood out to me. One of the barracks was a monument of the process of when they arrived. They were labeled and identified (not everyone even was able to have a label) by a number and a symbol. The symbol was represented by if you were a homosexual, Jew, a different religious background, or race. There were a few others I just can’t remember it all. I have never ever appreciated my name so much than that moment. We all were given a name, we were wonderfully made, we are loved unconditionally, we are protected, and most importantly we are on this earth for a purpose to share God’s word and gain more brothers and sisters in Christ. I would encourage anyone to make the trip and see Auschwitz for yourself. I’m beyond thankful to be on this trip, to see history before my eyes no matter how sick it was, but to be reminded again throughout the evil, racism and hatred in our world we still have a Father that is yearning for us to continue to run to Him with open arms and surrender all to Him.

PS- on the happy side, we got to see beautiful Kraków (the bus drive was haha very eventful a few hard brakes), eat some great polish food, shop a little, travel back to Warsaw by a stuffy train and continue to enjoy being around these wonderful people that God purposely put us together!

–Sierra