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Team Members L-R Front: Mark Wible, Taylor Creamer, Madison Daniels, Jamie Amos
Back: Cody Beeler, Trent Collier and Mike Remus
Saturday, July 22
The team got a day pass for the subway and had a great time touring Budapest. This included a duck tour around the city, then a splash into the aqua duct to see Budapest from the river. They toured the House of Terror Museum which commemorates the victims of both the Communist and the Nazi regimes. The building served as the former headquarter of the Nazi party in 1940 and its basement was used as a prison. During Communism, the building was taken over by the Hungarian KGB and many were tortured.
They visited the Shoes on the Danube, a sobering sight, in memory of the Jews that were shot into the river by militiamen. There are 60 pair of rusted period shoes cast out of iron, representing every age and class of people, as no one was spared the holocaust atrocities.
They ate at a Turkish restaurant for lunch, and the afternoon sun came out. Next on the stop was the Saint Matthew’s Cathedral which overlooks Budapest. It is a beautiful city.
Some team members went back to the hotel and others continued to take advantage of their day pass and tour the city.
They will leave for the airport at 6:00A and arrive back in Waco late Sunday. Please pray for safety in travel.
Friday, July 21
The last day of camps is always bittersweet; so much to celebrate and so difficult to leave the new friends and family. Thank you for your faithfulness to remember us.
Cody ran the morning camp and did a great job keeping things moving. Even though portions of the camp were shortened because of the award presentation, the coaches had time to teach the kids Knock Out and they loved it, especially the
The award presentations are always fun. Everyone is so excited to receive their ball and certificate, and they rush around getting autographs from all the coaches, and in the afternoon camp of younger kids, they got autographs of the translators as well.
One great thing about a 5 day camp is that it really gives the kids a chance to warm up. There has been such a change over the course of the week.
Pizza was on the menu for dinner, and the pizza guy gave them 14 pizzas for 13 people! They asked for to-go boxes for the 7 they had left and wondered what they could do with the leftover pizzas. They walked to a park (accompanied by the translators) and gave some to 3 women with their children playing there, gave 1 to the gelato owner, and another to a girl at the gelato counter placing an order. It was fun. By the way, the owner of the gelato place knows the team well, and starts making Mike’s order before he even places it.
The team traveled to Budapest after camps ended. Tomorrow, they’ll tour the Aqua Duct Danube and walk the city before heading to the airport to start their trek back home.
Thursday, July 20
It was another beautiful morning in the small town. The weather is incredible.
Both camps were wonderful today. The kids know the routine now and are proficient in what to do. Cody ran the stretching, cross court, and relays in the morning, and Taylor in the afternoon, both doing a great job. Mark picked it up from there and ran the stations and contests. It’s fun to see the kids come to an understanding of the contests, and now that they’re coming into the final stages of it, they’re working really hard. They want to win!
The team toured a church built in the 1700s after camps were over. They climbed the bell tower and enjoyed the view. They walked the streets, stopping for Gelato. It was amusing to see Dr. Pepper in this little city in Hungary.
The team is packing up everything tonight since they will have to check out of the hotel tomorrow morning before camp.
Wedneday, July 19
The work ethic of Michael Jordan was the focus of today’s challenge from Trent. He shared that this basketball star wouldn’t let anyone outwork him and put in extra time on the court to perfect his game, making him the greatest basketball player of all time. This commitment to excellence inspired Trent and made him question his commitment to be a better person. Trent left that thought with the team.
Camps began today with a few minutes of stretching, gearing up for more fun games and activities than in the typical camp structure, and the kids really liked it. Taylor and Cody co-led the stretching as well as mass ball handling, cross court drills and relays.
The kids are opening up more each day in the break-out sessions, asking great questions and joining in the discussions. They are responding well to the coach’s leading.
The coaches were surprised at lunch with a visit from Regina White, a friend in Kocise, Slovakia. They showed her around town and invited her to join them for the afternoon camp. She jumped right in and help out with translating and encouraging the kids.
At the end of the second camp, the principal made presentations to the coaches. (She is leaving tomorrow for the week.) She shared that when Sandor asked if they wanted a basketball camp, she had no idea what to expect. When she saw how hard our coaches worked the kids on the first day, she worried all night about the excuses she’d have to make when the students didn’t return the next day. To her surprise, not only did the kids return, but more came! She called the team “a miracle,” because she could have never expected this. She can only give thanks to the One who made this possible. She also shared that not only are the kids being encouraged, but the teachers and parents who are participating or watching in the stands are encouraged as well. Neither their kids nor their town has ever had anything like this. What a blessing!
A translator’s parents came to pick up their son today for his dad’s 40th birthday celebration tomorrow in Budapest. They have never seen anything like this either, so orchestrated and focused. The son was so disappointed that he had to leave but we certainly understood.
The team traveled to a house out in the country for dinner. They sat at picnic tables in an open area under a thatched roof. Everything was cooked in a wood stove about 10 feet long. The appetizer was bread with onions, garlic and cottage cheese; the second course was cabbage wrapped rice and ham, and the main course was pork chops with a very thin hash brown and cole slaw. Sweet bread finished off the incredible meal. The team has never eaten so well. There were embroidered saying all around and the atmosphere was really fun. Needless to say, some still had room for ice cream after they returned to the hotel!
Tuesday, July 18
It was another fantastic day of camps in Vasarosnameny, Hungary!
The team enjoyed a great breakfast again to start the day. The hotel provides everything you could want: eggs, sausage, cold cuts, breads, fruit, yogurt, and the list goes on.
The kids were really excited to get started today. They are very obedient, well behaved, and a pleasure to work with.
When 4 new kids showed up at Camp 1, Mark handed Taylor the whistle and ran to air up balls for them. The camp also had 4 teachers (1 PE and 3 academic) who went all the way through the camp as a camper. They were in their late 30’s or early 40’s, and it was fun to have them participate.
During the break-out sessions, the what’s-wrong pics (obvious design flaws) were handed out, and walls came down. The kids opened up and talked. Coaches did a good job of keeping them engaged.
After Camp 1 was over, one player on Cody’s team asked if he could talk. He shared that he had gone through some difficult things lately. He had lost links to other people and came to the camp out of boredom, just to try something different. He was happy to share that this is filling a need in his life for friendship and mentorship. What a neat story!
The team ate lunch at the school’s restaurant. Mark sat next to the head master and asked (through a translator) how she saw the kids responding to camp. Her answer was that they are really (said 10 times!) excited about this. The kids have moved more in 3 hours than in 30 days!
One retired teacher mentioned in the report yesterday, shared that there’s just something different about “you people.” The coaches are so genuine, so real and really love these kids. She watched as the team prepared for camps and was so amazed at their professionalism.
The afternoon session with younger kids went very well. There are 3 girls’ teams and 3 boys’ teams. The girls have caught on to encouraging each other and that’s really neat to see. Teachers come and watch as well.
Several kids were singled out and recognized in the afternoon camp for positive attitudes or good things they’ve done and they just beam. One translator is a quiet girl, but she leaned over to a player and said something encouraging in Hungarian to her, and the player just smiled. It’s really contagious!
Sandor is an 18 year old (on the video) and loves learning basketball. You can see that he’s working like crazy to do his very best to show the coaches.
Mark shared during team time that part of what we do is to teach character traits, and one would be the act of service. He pointed to the water bottles that were stacked neatly. Three teams had been asked to do that and because of their attitude of service, they did it without complaining. Mark also shared about having an attitude of gratitude. Ladies from the school had provided a sweet filled bread and water after camp, and the kids were instructed to say thank you when they went through the line.
Even though the team is dog tired, they thoroughly enjoyed the unique Hungarian dish of veal and homemade noodles for dinner. The food has been incredible.
The owner of the hotel where they are staying, Hunor (hunter) Lodge, is a big game hunter. He gave the team a special behind-the-scenes tour of his collection of over 100 big game animals of every kind. He’s quite the avid hunter/collector.
Monday, July 17
Cody started the day with a challenge to the team to get outside their comfort zone, outside their box. As the team would meet campers for the first time today, Cody reminded them to encourage the kids to grow wherever they are.
Mark reports from today’s camps that there were 40 kids in the morning camp, and 39 kids in the afternoon one.
Thankfully, the missing luggage arrived 10 minutes before the afternoon camp began, just when it was needed. Perfect timing!
When the team arrived at the first gym, the kids were excited and waiting. The head master and PE teachers were excited to meet the team too. They were so excited that the PE teachers went through the camp like campers, and 2 teachers who were watching from the bleachers joined teams to help translate so they could be a part of the camp and practice their English. They helped as well to facilitate the water breaks.
As balls were given out first thing in the morning camp of high school aged youth, very few would shoot. They would pass the ball or dribble, but not shoot. This was a learning experience for them, but they worked really hard and picked up quickly on the drills. They were intent to learn and it showed. They got 3-2-1 and mass ball handling on the first day, which says a lot.
The afternoon camp of 12-14 year olds (half boys, half girls) was held at a smaller gym with only 2 goals, so Mike was creative in finding a way to teach rebounding. Trent is really good at instructing and connecting with his teams. Madison and Taylor had the 2 girls’ teams in the morning camp and 2 of the 3 girls’ teams in the afternoon. They connect well with the girls. Cody took the third team of girls in the afternoon and did a great job with them. Jamie is so patient with his kids.
The impact of our coaches’ encouragement was evident to everyone around. The question of the day was, “What’s going on with these guys, and why are they so encouraging?”
The food is incredible. The school provides treats and they were awesome. Meals at the hotel were awesome too. They’re eating well.
The weather has been unbelievable. They need a light jacket in the mornings and evenings, and the high is in the upper 70’s. Nice.
Our host, along with his wife and 2 boys were at camp today. One son is going through the camp.
Sunday, July 16
After a great breakfast, Taylor had a word for us. She talked about the necessity of expressing our heart of gratitude at all times.
We took the metro to lunch at the same restaurant we had dinner at last night. We packed up from the hotel, met our translators and headed north east to our host city. We went to the court where we will hold our first camp, blew up all the basketballs and got everything staged for tomorrow's camps.
We are hoping the missing bag will get here tomorrow. We have 100 kids signed up and are short 20 balls, a set of wristbands and medals.
We had a great dinner and a time of getting to know our translators. Then it was off to bed, trying to get over jet leg.
We are excited about the camps beginning tomorrow.
Saturday, July 15
We are happy to share that the Hungary team has made it safely to Budapest. The flights were uneventful. In fact, the first flight, 12 hours to Istanbul, was really good since the guys had bulkhead seats, so nothing was in front of them giving them plenty of room to stretch out. Mark sat on the floor on his row and laid his head in a seat and slept for several hours. When they landed, they had just enough time to stretch their legs before boarding the plane for their last 2 hour flight into Budapest.
They are missing one piece of luggage with balls and equipment in it, and hopefully it will arrive before Monday.
The team was met at the airport by a colleague of our hosts and took them to a restaurant for dinner. It's similar to our Golden Corral with great food and incredible variety. They really enjoyed it. The president of our host agency joined them for dinner. They were headed to the hotel afterwards for a good night's rest.
Mark shared that it was great weather, maybe 72 degrees, and the sun was setting on the clouds. A beautiful evening.