It’s been another cracking day at YWAM! We are officially into the second half of our trip and we finally got our first proper basketball action! Definitely the highlight of my day, but more on that later. Let's take it from the beginning.
It’s a rough 7am start here at YWAM. Though many of us wake up earlier, due to any combination of the heat, dogs, roosters and general busyness around the base and surrounding streets. Breakfast was the classic: eggs, fruit, and of course, rice, which for Filipinos transforms the otherwise snack into a proper meal.
After breakfast, we head into devotions and life stories, definitely one of the best aspects of our trip so far. Today, Caitlyn (affectionally known as “Pink” around the base) powerfully shared about her life, the ups and downs, and the way God has worked through it all. After a time of prayer for her, Kaitlyn (one of leaders, with the same name, hence Pink) led us through Mark 8, encouraging us that God is always opening our eyes more, growing our understanding and that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others or fall into pride. It was a great start to the day, and as the leader, I was more than happy for it all to carry on well over an hour!
We quickly realised, after some miscommunication, that we were well and truly late for our morning activity. We joined some of the YWAM team on an ‘evangelism treasure hunt’. Once again, we were well and truly out of our comfort zones, but it was really inspiring to see the girls go for it, praying for strangers and encouraging them alongside our YWAM friends. The passion and courage of the YWAMers really is contagious and so great to be around. Each group prayed for a few people, shared a word with them and saw God work!
Lunch followed, this time chicken, potato, and yep, rice. And happy days, we finally had a chance to retrieve our laundry and we were all pretty relieved to have some fresh clothes! While this was all taking place, round one of the basketball started, some quality 3 v 3, with Pink joining in and drawing some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.
We enjoyed a nice relaxed afternoon, before heading off for another round of kids ministry after school finished. Face-painting was again a hit, as countless spidermans, batmans and flowers added some colour to already beaming faces! As usual, we helped lead some songs, now comfortable with the actions, except for the new song that was thrown in, but we all caught on pretty quick! We performed our skit again and safe to say, this was definitely the best performance so far, with plenty of crowd engagement!
We prayed blessing over the kids, jumped in the van and arrived back just in time for dinner. A lovely noodle soup, with homemade spring rolls! And to validate this as a meal, some rice. With a night off for our team and many of the YWAMers, some went to 7-Eleven for snacks, some just hung out and chatted, and the rest played ball.
The tables were removed from the court, cars were moved, and all of a sudden the Filipinos started emerging from their rooms in singlets, shorts, skins underneath, sweatbands and basketball shoes! Pink and I returned to our rooms realising our underestimation of what “we play tonight” meant. First to 21, full court, 5 v 5, a referee and a growing crowd, intrigued to see what the white boy and girl would serve up.
Yes, it was extremely serious (as all basketball is for Filipinos) but it was so fun. Covered in sweat, we played a second game, before some more 3 v 3. We held our own and now have tired legs and bodies. A small price to pay though, as personally, I loved it. Possibly the thing I loved most, it was just people enjoying playing the sport. No complaining, no trash-talk or unnecessary banter, just fun. So yes, after one and half weeks surrounded by a team of girls, it was kinda nice just to run around and play! ;)
But in all seriousness, after hitting the halfway point, I’m so proud of our team. They are great fun, making the most of each day, and they have engaged so well in every activity and ministry, while reflecting deeply on all we are experiencing. We’ve been getting along really well as a team and the girls do a decent job at including me (only decent because I discovered I wasn’t invited to the latest bananagrams game!!!).
God is working, we are learning and I’m very excited for all that is still to come!
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