Day 1

We woke up after a good night of sleep and had our first team Bible study. One of our goals of our teams is to equip athletes to become disciples who build build disciples. Our hope is that when guys return home they would be able start mentoring and leading others. Our study focused on how we play a part in God’s story.

We than had a traditional Ukrainian breakfast of fried eggs, bread, oatmeal, and tea. The guys seemed to really enjoy it.

After breakfast we hoped on the bus and headed for our first practice with the Cadet national team. We started out practice by matching out guys up with their training partners. We then had a long warm-up, which was good for your guys to get the travel kinks out of their system, and some technique work. We finished off practice with some “live goes”. Our boys did really well and seemed to hold their own.

Following practice we ate lunch and then headed to a children’s hospital for cancer patience. All the kids were gathered and we did a display of wrestling, some magic tricks, back flips, and interviews with some of our boys. It was emotionally challenging to see the children and the affects cancer has had on them. But our boys brought many smiles to their faces.

We noticed one girl, about the boys age, who was waiting around after it was all over. We asked her if she wanted some pictures with the guys, and she quickly said yes! We found out she was having surgery tomorrow and asked her if we could pray for her. Brad lead our team in prayer, and did an awesome job! Our boys must have a “touch of allergies” because there was not a dry eye among our team or this young girl after we prayed and gave many hugs. It memory that she and our team will share for the rest of our lives and one of the greatest experiences I (Rob) have ever seen on our wrestling tours.

We finished off with dinner, some ice cream, and a ride on the ferris wheel in the town square. Tomorrow is another full day as we head to a Juvenile prison to play soccer and share.

Travel Day

The majority of our team started traveling early on Father’s day from Seattle. We all met in Chicago and after a small delay with our plane to Germany we were on our way to Ukraine! It was fun to see the guys and start learning more about each others lives and prepare to share the next two weeks together.

As we landed in Ukraine we were met by our hosts the Korliuk family. Yuri has been a key volunteer for AIA Wrestling in Ukraine for many years. Yuri was on the Ukrainian national team for 14 years and is very respected by members of the wrestling community here. He has an engaging and lively personality. Our boys have quickly come to love hearing him say in his deep voice “American boys…lets go!”

Yuri’s oldest daughter Nina has also been a key volunteer for us for many years even though she is only 20 years old. She is an amazing translator and organizer. We are very fortunate to have people like this leading our time while we are here.

We grabbed dinner and then jumped in the Dneiper river! We finally ended up at the sports camp we will be staying at late at night and headed to bed. We shave a full day ahead of us tomorrow.

Ukraine 2018

This summer will be the 15th year AIA Wrestling has held a wrestling camp in Eastern Europe! We have been excited to partner with Reality Sports, a ministry out of Seattle, to help form our team.

Our schedule is very busy. The first week includes wrestling practice, team Bible studies, visiting a cancer hospital for children, a Juvenal prison, church youth group, and a match hosted by a local church in Fastiv, Ukraine followed by a meet and great with the local youth group. The second week we have invited 120 wrestlers from 6 nations to come for a week to Kiev, Ukraine to grow in their sport and to hear the Gospel. Each day we will have two workouts and then a nightly program. We will continue to do Bible study as team and we have translated our materials into Russian so others may join us. At the conclusion of the camp we will have our “Friendship Duals”, matches between the countries.

We start our travels tomorrow. Visit our blog tomorrow and will introduce you to our hosts in Ukraine the Koriluk family!