Crystal Ballentyne (’07)

June, 2020

 

Update on Crystal’s Journey

“The best way to appreciate something is to be without it for awhile.”
The coaches in the Maldives.
Working on shooting form with the under 13 group in the Maldives.
Always fun participating in the drills with them!
Gotta love silly pictures! Cheol who has become apart of our family since he was in our dorm 2 years ago was able to spend a few days with us before he left for Korea.  He is graduated this year so pray as he processes what is next as there is so many uncertainties.
Celebrated my dads birthday during quarantine by hanging out at the pool.
Vitamin D time!

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!

On Mondays we go for a walk outside.
Celebrated Mothers Day during quarantine as well. We made breakfast and picked flowers for her.
I have been doing A LOT of baking during the quarantine. I’ve made a few birthday cakes for people which has been fun.
If you are under 20 you can’t go into any stores so we do Starbucks drive through.
What to do during quarantine. We have my mom do a watercolor class for us.  We loved it!

PRAISE
  • CTI has many amazing opportunities ahead (Lord willing sports and country boarders open up)
  • Good health especial during this time
  • For each one of you who continue to support me through prayer and financially. I know that without you what I do would not be possible. You have been a huge part of impacting so many lives!
  • Being able to go back to Canada
PRAYER
  • For my parents who will stay in the Philippines
  • Continued prayer for spiritual healing for Faith Academy
  • Vehicle while I am in Canada
  • For each of you during this time of uncertainty
  • I had a place to stay once I arrived but due to these crazy times it wont be available till the end of July so now I am needing to find a place where I can not only do my 14 day quarantine but also stay till the end of July
  • The girl from the Maldives would still be able to go to the States and attend school there this coming year and that this would be a great opportunity for others to share about God with her