These past few months have definitely not been what anyone has expected! So far the year 2020 has kept everyone on their toes!
My time in the Maldives was pretty awesome. We did skills camps for different age groups so we would do 5 camps each day starting at 7 and ending at 10:30 at night. The culture there was exciting to experience. It is a Muslim country which meant we could not openly share about God. It also meant we would have to stop whatever we were doing during the call to prayer. It was in a way a spiritual and cultural shock but every time the speakers came on for the call to prayer that is when I would pray for God to do great things for the people of the Maldives. We still had several opportunities to share about the mission of Coaches Team International and create opportunities for the future to share about God with them. Basketball is growing in the Maldives and they are wanting more opportunities especially for their female athletes. We did a tryout for the opportunity for one of the high school girls to go to a private Christian school in the States to play basketball. God is amazing and everything has been processed and approved for her to attend this coming school year. She will be staying with a Christian family and the coach is connected with CTI. This will allow her to be exposed to Christianity. Her goal is to become the best female basketball player in the Maldives and play for her country. She has a bright future ahead of her as she is the first person in the Maldives to ever go overseas to play.
It was not smooth sailing during the trip. It started off with me having visa issues leaving the Philippines. This resulted in me missing the flight and spending the rest of the day sitting in both heavy traffic and at immigration to get it sorted out so I could leave the next day. This was right around when COVID was heating up worldwide. When we arrived the government had shut down all non-school related activities as there was a measles outbreak going on. Thankfully we were able to continue our camp but not as many days as we had planned. Our last night there we ate at a restaurant in a hotel before heading the airport only to find out the next day that place was shut down due to someone staying there who had the virus. We also just made it back to the Philippines a few days before they shut down the boarders and went into quarantine lockdown. Looking back on it all now I can see how in each situation God had his hand of protection over me, even when I was oblivious to it.
Since returning from the Maldives I was excited to see how else God could use me through CTI. Being stuck in quarantine and not being allowed to play sports has caused my to be used in ways I didn’t even think I would be. We have been making use of the social media platform to engage and encourage student athletes who are connected with CTI. We have started a few online Bible studies with many of the students. I have created workouts for kids who have limited/no access to weights or even basketballs or volleyballs. I have had to be creative to work with what they have in their house but it has been a fun challenge. CTI is a small organization and relatively new and now with the majority of our interaction with the students being online through social media, it was smart to have accountable guidelines and policies in place. I have spear-headed and created the social media child safety policy which we now have up and running. I will be working on the overall child safety policy next.
Currently in the Philippines competitive sports has essentially been banned until January at the earliest. This has put a halt with CTI here in the Philippines. I have decided that at this time it is best that I return to Canada. I will be flying out on June 21 (this Sunday!). I will be making Calgary my home base. I know it is crazy times and visiting will bring about it’s own challenges but my hope and goal is to be able to visit with as many of you as I can (obviously after I do my 14 day mandatory quarantine). For the time being I will only be able to connect with those in Canada but hopefully once the American border opens up I can start making plans to visit those of you in the States.
June 15th marked the 100th day for us here in the Philippines of being in quarantine. We are able to go out a bit more now but I have still not stepped foot in a mall since March. There are still many restrictions; like temperature taking before going into different subdivisions, stores, malls and wearing a mask is mandatory. Such an interesting time in life around the world for sure. I have been very blessed during this time as there is a pool where I live which was a life-saver as quarantine happened when hot season started.
I hope and pray that you are well and have not been too affected by these past few months. I would love to hear from you on how you are doing and how I can pray for you!