I really can't begin to recount how many times we've tried to travel out of town for a sports tournament, or even host one in or city, that has been cancelled because of a security threat. It is really the only disappointment my kids talk about in living here. They are so happy here, but for a kid who has worked hard all season leading up to a tournament, it's frustrating.
But this year, it happened for the first time! We were set to travel to Istanbul to play volleyball against some premier international schools. Provided there was not widespread rioting following a particular vote in April, we were given permission to go.
So, we finished out the school day and a loaded up 25 kids on a bus. There were 2 adults for each of the boys' and girls' teams, as well as our team nurse. (She's so dear I always want to get sick when she's around.)
We stopped part way for dinner. We were in the sticks, and did we ever stand out! We have kids from all over the world, including tall beautiful Africans. The Turks aren't used to seeing Africans so we drew plenty of attention.
When we finally got to the bridge crossing from Asia to Europe, I knew we were almost there.
The kids settled in quickly and went right to bed. (Well, I did call one room and tell them to pipe down and go to sleep!) The hotel provided a basic breakfast for us, so we told them to fill up and be ready to hit the road!
This was my favorite shot of the day. A group of the gals gathered up on their own to pray for the day and the teams and our testimony.
I loved watching them play. We were not expecting to dominate as we did. We played all day. In the morning, we did not lose a single set.
In the afternoon, we had only lost 1 match and got to play for 3rd place, which we won. I was so proud of them! These girls are from the USA, Sudan, Gambia, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Jordan/Palestine, Korea, and Italy/France. Aren't they beautiful?
These gals have been playing together for years and are about to graduate. Thankfully, Firstborn's friend is planning to attend university in the USA. I hope they can see each other.