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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

CLICK HERE for the photo album.

Team members are: Jason Phillips (team leader), Beth Porter, Lauren Kate Porter, Jason Porter, Ryan Porter, Hadley Joiner, Julia Salmons, Lynn Reinbolt, Chris Eikenhorst & Patrick Eikenhorst.

Sunday, July 1 Jason reports for the team: We have safely arrived in Santiago, DR! Everyone is in good health and good spirits. We are excited to see where we are doing camps and getting things set up and ready to go for Monday.

Monday, July 2 Jason reports for the team: We hit the ground running this morning, leaving the house at 8:15A for camp that started a little after 9:00A. We had a great camp in the morning with 42 campers. It was a warm one for a good three and a half hours!

The kids were definitely excited to be there and eager to learn more and we are ready to get to know them better. We are excited to share a message of hope with them while we teach them some great basketball skills!

The afternoon got started a little late but definitely was a much cooler afternoon once the sun went down some and gave us a little shade from a tree. As always it was great to see kids who went through the morning camp show back up and want to go through camp again in the afternoon. Again, they are eager to learn and play the game we love.

There is a group of older boys in the afternoon that Lynn is getting to shepherd and lead with that fatherly figure they definitely need. It will be interesting to see how they respond when we show them skills they think they know, but in reality, they need to work on.

Island mentality definitely began to permeate the afternoon as we were running behind, but we managed to get in session 1 and look forward to session 2.

The team has some sun burned faces and tired bodies as 6-7 hours in this island tropical climate is taking a little bit of a toll. Besides a little sun exposure, everybody is healthy and in good spirits.

Tuesday, July 3 Jason reports for team: As I write this tonight, we have lost all the lights and ceiling fans, but we are so thankful, the air conditioners, oddly enough, seem to still be working. Somehow we have tripped a breaker… the joy of being on an island.

The morning was again pretty hot, but we maxed out with children and campers. We are at 50 and turning some away. We are glad for the children and the opportunity we have with them.

In the afternoon, there was cloud cover so were able to stay cool. The kids in the camp are a rambunctious group, very energetic! We started with 32 on the first day and 18 more showed up, so we have maxed out that camp as well.

Everybody is healthy and we are ready for tomorrow as we continue to enjoy the island culture and the challenges it presents in terms of timing and flexibility. It is definitely teaching us patience, which we all need, myself included.

Wednesday, July 4 Jason reports for the team: We had a great morning. It was one of our best sessions all week! Everything seems to flow really well.

The Dominicans are very competitive so the shooting competitions are a big hit. They really got into and enjoyed Last Second Hero.

The afternoon was a sun-filled, cloudless day, but we persevered and made it through.

The highlight of the afternoon was during relays where one of the older boys totally took his own initiative to encourage and run alongside one of his younger island brothers and run all the way down the court and back.

Thursday, July 5 Jason reports for the team: This is the day of camp where we share with the kids the hope filled message that they each have a Place! The message was very well received by the kids.

The camp seems to be improving and getting a handle on how all the basketball skills and drills work together and that is a relief when we are out in the heat.

We ended the night with a soccer game against the translators. There were 5 Dominican/Haitian translators vs 8 HFH basketball players, and the final score was… 4 to 3, translators victorious. It was close one, and the HFH team held their own!

The realization that we are seeing the kids for the last time tomorrow sunk in with the team tonight as we aired up a few more basketballs and filled out certificates. We are excited and a little sad at the same time to get through Friday.

Everyone continues to be in good health. We are growing as a team and it has been fun to get to see some of the younger members of the team mature and grow up this week.

Friday, July 6 Closing update from Jason and the DR team: It was a great final day of camp! As always, the award ceremony was a great hit. The children ate it up and it was definitely a meaningful time for them. They truly enjoyed it.

When it was all said and done, we had given away all the basketballs we brought, all 110 of them. It is good to know that there will be plenty of HFH basketballs dribbled in the DR for many months to come. But of course we are more cognizant of the fact that we have delivered a message of hope to them.

In our team debrief time, we shared some precious stories about children who were definitely sad to see us go. We also discussed how fortunate we really are with all the clothes and things we have and definitely take for granted. This was evident when one of the coaches asked a young person where they had gotten their shirt and he had no idea. It had Ballenger Texas on it, obviously donated to him. We think about our closet and we know where the clothes came from.

We also were reminded how precious those certificates are. Lynn shared that the certificates can mean the world to these boys and girls.

Prince is our main contact here throughout the camp and we were able to hear his heart and passion for these young boys and girls. It definitely reminded us that we are in the right place and have made a difference!

UGANDA

CLICK HERE for the photo album.

Team members are: Brent Wilson (team leader), Nicki & Tristan Wilson; Rodney & Landry Bowden; Ben, Emily, Landon & McKay Johnson; Jason, Jennifer, Hadley & Hudson Phillips; Benje, Kimberly, Creighton & Griffin Polnick; and Brad & Colton Wilson.

Sunday, June 3 The team arrived at Restoration Gateway this morning in time to meet their hosts. It was a wonderful time gathering and getting acquainted with many of the people at RG.

After lunch and some rest, the team gathered to prepare for tomorrow's camps to begin. Moses, a new friend from Kenya, arrived just as they began the walk-thru. Perfect timing! Moses was introduced to us by Vincent Asamoah, our Shoot4Life partner in Ghana. He is interested in seeing what HFH is all about and traveled by bus all the way from Kenya to spend the week at RG with the team. It was great to finally be together after much time in preparation for this.

Monday, June 4 It has rained non-stop since the team arrived at RG, making the morning campers’ crossing of the river treacherous. They are from a village close to the RG compound, and had to make their way across a tributary in water up to their armpits! The headmaster of their school came with them, and had to carry his bicycle over his head in the deep water to the other side.

It says a lot that the rain and deep waters didn’t stop the 52 campers from showing up! They were wet and many were barefoot or only had flip flops, but they were there to learn and have fun. The camp was exciting and energetic. When the morning was over, they had to make their way back to their school for the afternoon sessions.

Many of the 60 campers in the afternoon (RG kids) brought lunch with them, which for some, was a handful of corn in their pocket. As they gathered for camp, many recognized coaches who were there before and it was sweet to see each other again. One young gal was 11 years old when Brent & Nicki had her in camp before, and now she was all grown up. She made the presentation of RG rules to the team today. It was neat to get reacquainted with so many.

The junior HFH coaches were fantastic with the campers, and even knew their names by the end of the camps. They were great leaders during the day and helped the campers feel welcome. This included a secret handshake!

Tuesday, June 5 It was another great day of camps! The rain had stopped so everything started on time. In fact, when the team walked to the gym a little before 9 to start the first camp, there were several kids sitting quietly waiting. It turned out that these were kids from the neighboring village who were late yesterday because of the rain, so today they arrived at 8:00A, an hour early, and were just sitting there, quietly waiting. Sweet!

The coaches noticed that these kids responded much better today and were more engaged. It clicked and they were having a blast. The RG kids in the afternoon are having a blast too. It has been a good while, maybe 7 years, since a basketball camp came to RG, so it’s a fun change for them.

After lunch, the team went on a tour of the RG compound and were able to see how the orphanage houses 150 kids in 21 pods, with more being added as they are able. The hospital is operational, and the team hopes to tour the facility later this week.

After the afternoon camp was over, the fathers & sons of the team teamed up and played basketball for a while, which was a lot of fun too.

It was in the 70’s today, cool and very comfortable. The team is having a great time and everyone is healthy.

Wednesday, June 6 Brent reports it has been another great day of camps! Everything is running smoothly. In fact, they haven’t been faced yet with the need to be flexible!

He said that MaryAnn, the hostess of RG, shared that this camp is very organized and the team is so easy to work with. She’s enjoying this camp too!

The school principal of the first camp of kids from the neighboring village mentioned that he’s excited each of his students will have their own basketball at the end of camp, but they don’t have a court to play on. He is working with the RG Director to put together a proposal to take to those who can fund the project. With this village having their own court, Brent sees the potential of HFH teams staying on the RG compound and taking camps to them instead of them coming to RG. Exciting plans for the future!

Thursday, June 7 Brent shares that the last day of camp was great. It was really busy with the presentation of awards, basketballs and certificates.

The campers invited the team to walk with them back to their village, where they played soccer and had fun. It was good to meet some of their family members.

The afternoon camp with RG kids was a lot of fun too! The kids brought them fruit to eat to say thank you.

The team will board the bus at 5:00A tomorrow morning for a safari, where they see many forms of wildlife. This includes a trip to Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile River surges through a narrow gap over a massive drop. The park wildlife there includes elephants, hippos and chimpanzees, to name a few. They will begin their journey back home on Saturday.

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CLICK HERE for the MOZAMBIQUE photo album.

Team members are: Bill Semenyna, Phillip* & Kyla Telfer, Nathan Loutan, Caleb Rempel, and John and Nadine Aubrey. *Team Leader

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CLICK HERE for the NORTH AFRICA photo album.

Team members are: Mark Wible, Brian Ozols, Holly Page, Jonah Erbe, Laurie Wible, and Noah Wible.

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CLICK HERE for the HONDURAS photo album.

Team Members L-R: Dan & Melissa Estep, Hunter Daniels, Lindsey Estep, Noah Wible, Mark & Laurie Wible, Bill & Cindy Raines, Amy Maley, Larry & Laura Wright (back), Holly Page & Shardea Houston

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CLICK HERE for the MOZAMBIQUE photo album.

Team members are: Mark Wible, Andy Cash, Ben Sykes, Mike Remus, Noah Wible, and Vance Sadler.

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