Farmer’s Tans and Full Hearts

As we are reflecting on our day, we can’t believe that we’re almost done with this trip!! Today was a *long*, sweaty, challenging- but rewarding- day spent loving on the children in God’s kingdom that were at the camp. We started off at 8 a.m. being extremely welcomed back into the camp- even kids that weren’t on our own teams ran up and hugged us and grabbed our hands as we piled out of the van (like a clown car- picture the 20 of us all packed together realllll close).

After warming up the kids with some simple games, we grouped back into our teams from the other day and took off to the field. Here, we rotated through different stations, such as Bible study, making bracelets, frisbee, volleyball, American football, kickball, baseball, sack races, jump ropes and of course futbol!!!! The day was broken up into two sections of the rotations split by a lunch break, with each team doing five activities. Despite the heat, morale was still high among the teams, and our Hope team was able to push through knowing these kids are worth it. At lunch, the kids were served banku and okra, which Kyle described as “looking like snot,” which then drove us straight to the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 🙂

Back at the hotel, we had lunch and an hour to take some time to rest before finishing the rest of the day. During this time, Abby and Ryann found ANOTHER LIZARD (which brings the count to four) in their room. While Ben had mentioned the day before they are commonplace and completely harmless, we can’t help but picture it crawling all over our room. I hope this gives you an idea of the kind of paranoia we are feeling, as we have yet to capture said lizard…

We stuffed ourselves back into the van again to go back for the second half of the day. After finishing the remaining five stations, we went back into the church for dinner and worship (Guess what? CHICKEN AND RICE!!). It’s truly inspiring to see how they worship in a different way from us but under the same faith; dancing in a large circle/conga line, clapping along to music and belting out every lyric to every song that was played. Me (Ryann) and Jacinda’s team, which is mostly teenage girls, went up in front of everyone and danced to more music. It’s safe to say these kids have a passion for Jesus, and His love has truly been evident through them throughout this day. We went up to teach/repeat Proverbs 3:27 again (s/o to Boersma!!), and were able to teach them the fun “Father Abraham” song. They have been tested on their memory of the verse multiple times today, and it’s been amazing to see the impact of this verse on them in the short time that they have learned it.

As the night wrapped up, Eric was reflecting on the day and asked kids to share their favorite part of the day. A couple came first, and then the other shy kids warmed up and joined in. The majority of the answers involved two things (can you guess?): Bible study and futbol! It was eye-opening to see that through fun they truly are paying attention and learning from the gospel. They answered proudly that love can be shown through helping those you care about and sacrificing your needs for others. Some also talked about how this can be incorporated into their sports and games, which was encouraging for us as student-athletes to see the simplicity of love in competition.

After the kids were dismissed, we gathered the coaches for a water filter demonstration. Drew and Scott helped Ben explain the process of assembly, while Jacinda and Megan elaborated on its relation to the gospel and our walk of faith. The coaches were very expressive in their awe of the clean water… and their disgust of the mucky water that it was filtered from. We were then able to hand out a filter to each of the coaches, and their gratitude was very evident in their faces and hearts. This is an experience that will continue to amaze us and will not be forgotten for either parties.

It was then time to squish back into the van again and head back to the hotel to debrief. It has been touching to see what moments have impacted each member on our team & Sports Friends staff throughout the trip. As challenging as the day was, debriefing allowed us to share how we saw God through stories and prayer requests. We can’t fathom that tomorrow is full of packing up and saying goodbyes to the kiddos we have grown to adore. We can only hope that we have made just as much of an impact on them as role models as they have done for us.

Here’s to tomorrow!

With sleepy eyes,
Anna, Jacinda, and Ryann <3

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