From June 30-July 9, Marty Carter and I were in Azerbaijan working a basketball camp through a connection with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). This was the second time Sports Reach had been here. In 2018, Andrew Hammond and Marty Carter helped lead a camp as well.
While in the country, Marty and I put on 13 basketball camp sessions, 2-3 a day. Two of those sessions were with younger players and new players, and the rest were with older and more established players. In all, we worked with around 60 boy and girls between the ages of 9 to16. For the camp, there were a few that understood and spoke English and could translate to Russian and Azeri. Despite this obstacle, the camps went very well. The kids were all eager to learn and grow as players. Very few times did we need to raise our voices. Their coach, who is our other contact, often has to leave the country to play in tournaments for Azerbaijan, so no one had been working with them for a bit. The camps also opened doors for us and our contact to meet with parents and other coaches, which hopefully will lead to new fruit.
As foreigners, we are not allowed to share about any religion until someone is 18. So, for our camps, we just focused on training the kids in basketball and being kind, friendly, and patient. After we left, our contacts could answer questions about why we were there and disciple the kids. While we were in the country, we also were able to visit established and new churches, witness 11 baptisms and talk to some coaches about what ministry here or in other Muslim countries could look like in the future. If anyone is ever interested in Judo or has a country interested in Judo, please let us know! Hopefully, we can continue to help grow God’s Kingdom here and encourage Christians as they live here. Please pray for the churches and our contacts as they reach out to their communities.
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