Thursday, July 20, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Last week, I got a text message from a friend, Shane Howard.
Shane runs Custom College Recruiting, a business that is helping boys and girls from many places around the world to come to the USA to play sports.
But Shane called and said that an Australian team was in Indianapolis and needed some help with a gym. I couldn't find one, but the next day I got another message from Shane. The team needed help with the book or clock.
I was free for a day, so I headed to Fishers and hung out with the my new friends from New South Wales.
The coaches and I clicked almost immediately.
Nathan Kirwan, the sort of Director of Ops was who I talked to first and who I spoke to first when we met up.
The head coach is Shannon Seebohm.
Seebohm was the U17 women's coach for Australia that handed the US their first loss ever at that age. Australia went on to win the FIBA championship, so Coach Seebohm is a world champion coach.
READ MORE ABOUT COACH SEEBOHM BY CLICKING HERE
Watching their team play and hanging with them and talking basketball was unbelievably refreshing.
They get it.
They get what basketball should be about.
Not dribbling too much.
In actuality, they get what USA basketball is supposed to be about more than many American coaches, especially AAU coaches get what it's supposed to be about.
It was a pure joy and also kind of depressing.
The USA is the greatest basketball power on the earth, but because we too often lose our way, many foreign countries have perfected our old blueprint and are using it to beat us.
Which is hard for this Yank to take.
Friday, July 7, 2017
Life is hard.
The more you are aware, the more you care, the harder it is, it seems.
If you want to get up, indulge in self, and go to sleep at night thinking about no one or nothing other than yourself or your little world, you can probably watch the news, yell at the t.v., go to bed and live a relatively pain free life.
Sure, we all have our problems, many, many of them are serious problems.
From drugs to death to sickness to financial issues, many people in the USA struggle every day.
They struggle within the confines of their homes and their hometowns.
But there is struggling going on too outside of those confines.
From inner cities to reservations to foreign countries people are dealing with the same struggles and issues that you are. It may surprise some, but people of different colors, religions, and regions are not too much different from each other.
I have found that people want to work, they want to have a family, they want to make life better for their children, they want to love and to be loved, they want to be appreciated and they want to live a life of meaning.
It's no different here than it is in Indonesia, Kenya, Iceland or Macedonia.
Life is hard; here and there.
Before I became a follower of the Nazarene, I looked for fulfillment in many things from alcohol to women to many indulgences of self.
And they never provided long lasting fulfillment.
Sure, I had some fun but it was so fleeting and the hollowness following was not worth it.
I am here to tell you that Jesus provides hope and hope is a strong anchor for our lives.
He provides hope when you are dealing with horrific situations or living in a way that seems like there is no future.
I promise, He provides hope.
He turns drug addicts into counselors and he puts smiles in children who live in slums.
Jesus will not cure all ills, he will not fix every problems in a moments notice, but he will provide that hope...
Life is hard.
It's is easier with Jesus Christ and the hope of this life he provides, but also for the hereafter knowing that this is not our final destination.
Monday, July 3, 2017
It has been a couple of weeks since I returned from my mission trip with Athletes in Action to Kenya and Ethiopia and every time I come back from abroad, it takes me time to wrap my mind around everything I experienced.
The first couple of times when I came home, I was not a very nice person to my family or to other people (others would argue I still am not nice, but that is another story) because of the guilt that I felt living in such a wonderful and bountiful place.
This time I have tried to not be that way.
Some of it is because even though I do feel guilt, as I have aged (I guess), I really enjoy many of the things we have here that do not exist over seas or even south of the border.
So I have tried to take time and ponder some of the many, many things that have gone around in my head.
First, we are blessed to live in this country. I'm not saying other people are not blessed to live in their countries, but I'm speaking for me. We are often so covered in blessings, we just figure this is how life is...it isn't. It's like a fish just assuming that everything else is wet until it isn't one time and then it really appreciates what it has the other 99% of the time (if fish can think or be appreciative).
I believe that you have to travel overseas or to some places here in the U.S. for many of us to truly appreciate what we have on a daily basis.
Ranging from quality healthcare at a moments notice to haagen-dazs ice cream, we are quite spoiled and yet, many of us are unaware of that. We complain about what we don't have instead of seeing what we do which is more than the average human being on this planet.
Think toilets and toilet paper; I don't think I have ever had to use a hole in the ground and been in a public bathroom with no toilet paper...but I digress...
Second, I realize that we get to see the best in people when we are traveling. You would have to stay somewhere longer than two weeks to see some of the "warts" of a country, but the people in Eastern Africa were so nice.
It is almost embarrassing, okay, it is embarrassing how much they tried to help us maintain our lifestyle in a country that doesn't allow that for a large amount of people.
It is embarrassing that when you go through security (there is security to enter anything there, think airport security then put that on entering church, the mall, a small grocery store, a cafe, etc.) they seem embarrassed that they have to do their job and search you, and many times they don't.
But the people...
We do have so many more luxurious things in this country, so much so that many people "over there" want to come "here", but those people "over there" have many things that we don't have here.
We've have often lost our way on what people living together should be.
The handshakes and hugs, the genuine faith, the giving of your best when you don't have much so you can help someone with less, the caring and giving of self for others that seems often missing from here, is visibly prevalent there.
Sure, they have issues between tribes and the upcoming election in Kenya could cause violence afterwards dependent on the result, but you ought to see how people where traffic laws are recommended and rarely enforced get along so that everyone can use the roads.
Again, I realize that if you stay somewhere longer than a couple of weeks, you will see more and more of the imperfections that seem to be so noticeable in this country, but I can't help to think that us thinking we know everything about the world, have forgotten some key and important points.
So what do I do?
How can I wrap my mind around what I have seen and experienced?
I don't know if I ever will.
But I know that there are loving, caring people "over there" on the front lines every...single....day fighting the good fight against some of the worst issues you can imagine.
I know that I can offer some financial assistance, but more often I can support spiritually, verbally, and physically to those who would grow weary.
I know that I can live a life of more gratitude for what I do have, and strive to work towards that which I don't have and cannot be bought by money.
I am so blessed to have gone to Eastern Africa and I am so blessed to be back.
I am so blessed to have experience and seen some of the things I did, and I am so blessed to live here.
I am so blessed to be shown my downfalls as I work to help others' in theirs.
I am blessed to leave the secure borders of my small town and see how much of the world is like us and different.
Where did I go?
And I cannot wait, Lord willing, to return again some day.
Friday, June 23, 2017
It was becoming too tedious with slow wifi, but I do have some good articles in me to remember my time in Africa.
Here I will leave pics of the 5 continents I have worked camps on.
Here I will leave pics of the 5 continents I have worked camps on.
|South America (Colombia)|
|North America (USA/Arizona)|
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
We've been together so long and have been busy so much and have had our sleep schedules so messed up, I really have to think hard what day it is.
We went to Eastleigh today.
Eastleigh is a poorer area where many, many Somali refugess have relocated and we ran a camp at a Christian center that has been continuously harassed by its neighbors.
As we rode in, you could tell we were in a different part of Nairobi, but I would not have wanted to be anywhere else.
The kids, as usual, are hungry to learn and to please.
The coaches, as usual, are eager to learn and connect.
Coach Sonny and his helpers are amazing. When you say "someone ought to do something about that" and you refused to get up and move, be assured that there are people in Nairobi doing just that.
Those men and women in Eastleigh, Omaruju, and Eastleigh are on the front lines of severe spiritual warfare and are making a difference.
They may not change their neighborhood, or their city, but they are changing and affecting many, many children who very well could grow up some day to change that place.
Because the kid above has a shirt on that says it all!