It’s hard to imagine a team with a more difficult travel experience than the group from The University of Wyoming Fellowship of Christian Athletes who helped build a court in a very impoverished part of Ethiopia. The trip started around 4am when the team headed to Denver from Laramie. Things were on schedule until a four hour delay in Washington D.C. made them miss their connection to Ethiopia in Frankfurt and forced them into a 12 hour layover in Frankfurt. By the time the team arrived into Addis Ababa, they had traveled through the night and weren’t able to spend a night in a hotel in Addis to recuperate. Instead it was out the airport doors into the vans to drive six hours to Shone. A little while later, their bus broke down, forcing them into another four hour delay while they awaited their new ride. When it came, it was too late to make it all the way to Shone so they found a hotel on the way. According to the team’s count, by the time they actually made it into Shone from Laramie, it had been 66 hours of traveling!
The team showed their character when instead of complaining about the delays, they used it as an opportunity to come closer together, hear each other’s stories and build unity. By the time we made it to Shone, they actually had joy on their faces and were ready to work. But we knew this was an amazing team already. When we had the option of camping in Ethiopia or staying in a hotel with running water, the college girls on the team were wanting to camp! The hotel ended up winning out, but only because Courts for Kids and Look Development insisted on it. Needless to say, this was a hardy crew from Wyoming!
When we arrived, everyone was blown away by the people involved with Look Development, our in-country partner organization. This organization is basically the byproduct of a remarkable family who has tirelessly poured their hearts and souls into their community, which faces remarkable needs and obstacles. It is a story of prayer, of joy, of contentment, of faithfulness and of power. We worked hard, long, hours, but know that this court will be put to incredible use for years and years to come. Furthermore, the impact on our team by the Ethiopian hosts and community will far outlast even the court.
The trip came to a close, the team did a clinic on the court, and then begin the long journey home. In a fitting conclusion, the flight into Denver was detoured to Billings because of a strong headwind. What’s another four or five hour delay in the grand scheme of things? If our team learned anything from our Ethiopian experience, it is that contentment and joy don’t come from minor inconveniences and adverse circumstances!
One of our primary reasons for the trip was to … cultivate an environment for people within FCA to have their eyes opened to a world vision and heart for serving and loving others. I really think it would be hard to put a price tag on how the trip will make a difference in the lives of the 15 of us.
It’s hard to even know where to start. This trip has meant so much to me and I have so many memories. It’s not very often in life I can look back on an experience and say it was perfect, but this may be as close as I have ever come.
I realized that I am beyond blessed in what I have and where I’m at. An example was the flies, I mean they had their own country out there, and traveled in battalions. It just was bothersome to me since I’d never experienced something like that, and my complaining didn’t help, but then I realized that people there lived like that their whole lives and will always in some cases. It just really opens my eyes to just enjoy everything and grow from it.
This trip has impacted me in all angles of my faith. Faithfulness, service, love and selflessness were all evident in the lives of these people, and I feel I have grown in these areas as well.