Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sports Camp, Part II

Wednesday was American Football Day - Coach Jeff's favorite! It was pouring rain, so we took practice inside at one of the school gyms that we rented for the day. It was a perfect place for them to learn something new. They could hear, we could chance down the flying balls, and they didn't worry about tripping over the grass while doing something completely new. They were so pumped to learn how to actually place this game called 'football Americana.' The little ones were ful of energy and were hysterical to watch as they learned to tag with the ball, throw (and not kick - quite a challenge for them), and even learn a bit about offense and defense positions. The big kids were much more into learning more about how the game was played and perfecting their touchdown throw. We were grateful to have the Briely family come join us to help demonstrate how to throw and catch. If it weren't for them, the kids might have had a jaded picture of how football works if it were left to me to show them! Coach Jeff was in his element and wore a smile so big you couldn't wipe it from his face. It was neat to see the kids step out of their comfort zones, especially those who think of themselves as a jock, and perservere to get it right.

Thursday was another rainy day so we decided to take them to see a movie in town - a fun treat for all of them. We went to see the movie, 'Meet the Robinsons.' We didn't know much about it, but it was a perfect story for them to see. The story line centers around a little boy raised in an orphanage determined to find his mom. Through his creativity and skills at inventing all kinds of things, he finds that his faimly, although not traditional, was perfect in the end just as it was. It certainly opened up many doors for conversations to be had with these kids. Some laughed, some cried, some got lost in the translations, but I think it touched them all in some small way - and how it did relate to their stories - despite the one-eyed monster octopus, robots, and futuristic cars! That evening after the movie Jeff and I took Krisztina out to dinner. She is a 12 year old who I've know since she was 6. It had her at camp several years ago when she still lived at Ludus with her sisters. Now she lives at Casa Rebecca and a young, athletic, sassy, funny little girl. We laughed, played and just talked at dinner. It is such a special treat to send some one on one time with them. It isn't often that they get to do things apart from their siblings and feel extra-special for a day! I am so thankful we could do this for her.

On Friday we ended our time with the kids favorite sport - futbol! We began our morning with the reminder of our challenge - knowing the memory verse in Romanian and English. The kids were awesome! They could recite it in both languages with enthusiasm and heart. When it came time for them to ask us - Jeff and I made up a word or two when attempting to claim the Lord's verse in Romanian. The kids got a good laugh and were thankful for our attempts. Then came time to play. As many of you know, Jeff and I have so little experience in the American game of soccer. My time in the 3rd grade Purple Power rec team didn't wuite make the cut as far as coaching experience. God knew our weakness and knew the kdis desire to play, so one of the educators, Sandal, volunteered to show them a bit more about how the game is really played. Evidently he travels all over playing in a major league. He is surely one fo the fastest people we've ever seen and he did a great job of showing the kids some soccer drills. We got a kick out of watching and learning from a pro.

After a short game, we had our awards ceremony. Each child proudly lined up and received a gold medal from Jeff and a cupcake from me. It was a hoot! You would have thought it was an Olympic Gold medal Ceremony. They were so excited to have the party and proud to recieve their prize. At the end, we told them we were going back to the Weekend Pool to celebrate. Thankfully the Lord held off the rain and gave us an hour of playtime. There is something nostalgic about a swimming pool - no matter the culture - all kids love to swim and play!

After a few hours of rain throughout the early afternoon, we had our final sports camp time with the "Big Kids." However, we took a vote and since they had not had an opportunity to go at all during the week due to the weather - we nixed our soccer game and headed straight to the Weekend. What cracked us up was that not 30 minutes into arriving, many jumped out of the pool and we just hung out together on the lounge chairs. We talked, played hand games, brushed hair, enjoyed the cupcakes - but few swam! They just couldn't wait to be there - it must be the nostaligia bit that seems so enticing. Again, the Lord was so kind and kept the rain away so that we could have that "grown up" time together. Teenagers love to just be - and that's what we did!

Sports camp was such a special time for Jeff and I. We were so thankful for all of the folks from Romania that helped us translate, get the ideas going, jumped in to play with the kids, and showed up with an enthusiasm that was contageous. We certainly couldn't have done it without them! Most of all, it brought such joy to the kids to challenge them and demonstrate in one more way that we care, that we pray for them, that learning God's word in every situation is important, and that most of all that we are there - just for them. I find it amusing to think of my worries about "not being sporty" and how little that had to do with any part of the week. Thankfully - they were not all like Sandal - and our loving father knew that! Jeff, with his skills for coaching and love of these kids, was a perfect match for this week. When I think of him coaching the mmory of him teaching jumping jacks adn the kids squealing with excitment and laughter at themselves will always linger in my mind. I am thankful to our Heavenly Father for providing such a sweet time!

No comments: