The Sports Reach High School Tour to Jamaica took place from June 3-13 with a short Training Camp in Waco, Texas before the trip. The tour consisted of two teams, 8 guys that made up the 14U team and 8 guys that made up the 16U team. The players are all from the Waco area and came from 6 different schools.
During Training Camp, the guys helped run the Live Oak High School Basketball Camp in the mornings and had individual workouts and practices in the afternoons. We also had Team Times at the lunch breaks and in the evenings to prepare the guys for the trip. Coach Kyle Combs, Coach K and Jody Combs did the teachings during the Training Camp.
The team arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica Saturday afternoon and took a nice bus ride to Kingston on the other end of the island so they could participate in the FCA Jamaica Tournament on Sunday. Both teams played games against the Jamaican 16U and 14U Jr. National Teams and teams from PHASE 1 Academy. The 16U team also played against Excelsior High School. It was a great day of intense basketball in a pretty nice gym at G. C. Foster College. Both Sports Reach teams were challenged but came out on top.
On Monday, the teams spent the day at the Majestic Gardens just outside of Kingston. They visited several schools and conducted a camp for 50-60 kids on the outdoor court right in the middle of the town. After the camp, the Sports Reach U14 team got to play against a team of players that consisted of guys from the U16 and U14 teams from the Majestic Garden program. After the fun game in front of a large crowd both teams walked right down the middle of the street to go have dinner together at one of the local schools. The kids really enjoyed getting to spend time together, sharing their life stories and the Gospel off the court.
On Tuesday, we spent the day visiting the Camperdown Schools. The kids there were awesome. They treated our teams like they were famous NBA stars. We were able to visit a lot of classrooms and talk about our faith and why we came to share with them. After having a late lunch with some kids we played a couple of really great games on a court that had beautiful mountains on one side and the ocean breeze blowing in on the other side. The shocker for our kids was the barbed wire fence that surrounded the court.
Wednesday ended up being a day of rest. Some of our guys were not feeling well from dehydration so we stayed in the hotel and pumped them with fluids. Coach Carl did a great job using the time to get in some extra teachings at Team Times.
Thursday was a planned travel day in which we stopped at a few more schools to visit with kids and do some mini clinics for the kids. The school visits and the mini clinics were a huge hit with our guys and the kids at the schools.
Friday and Saturday were both filled with school visits and our last two days of games. Friday was at another beautiful court in the mountains at Manchester High School and Saturday was at a downtown city school in Montego Bay. Both days the games were fun and the sharing of testimonies and the Gospel was well received.
Another highlight of the trip was when the players at Montego Bay traded jerseys with the Sports Reach guys after the games. Both teams loved the new souvenirs.
After a week of visiting schools, doing camps, and playing games, we got to get a little R&R as we visited Dunns River Falls and the beach in Ocho Rios on Sunday. On Monday, we visited Negril, where we got to play on the beach and take a catamaran out to snorkel at the reef. What fun challenges and great examples of God’s amazing creation.
The focus of our Team Time for this trip was “Making Your Faith Your Own” and then learning “How to Share it!” Coach Carl Lanham was our Discipler for the trip and he did an Amazing Job teaching from God’s Word. The guys loved the Team Times and were really excited to be able to put their Faith in action.
The biggest highlight of the trip was when we got to Baptize 8 of the 16 guys on our trip. They were all either new believers or guys that wanted to be baptized to show their commitment to Making Their Faith Their Own. Four guys got baptized at Dunns River Falls and four in the ocean in Negril. Both were beautiful times that none of the guys will forget.
Special thanks to Coach Carl Lanham for being our Discipler, to Coach Will Pitts for being my assistant coach and statistician and to Jody Combs and Anglea Lanham for being our Team Moms. Thanks to Johnny Neal II for being our biggest fan and helper on the trip. We really have to thank Ricardo Edwards for being our host and for all he did to make our trip a success.
The Sports Reach teams won all 12 games but I really believe the biggest highlights were from the times of sharing the Gospel, seeing people pray to accept Christ and seeing the guys on our team get baptized. We can’t wait to see what is next for these guys. God’s Glory!
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