July 17, 2006

Monday, July 10

Monday was an awesome day. We woke up and went to the temple of Chiang Hai-Shek. There were also two other temples at the site and each of them were rich in Taiwanese history. We had our team time at a park near the site and spent some time talking about what God had done for us up to this point in the trip. It was very hot outside but Coach Jarvis did a great job of reminding us to make the best of it because the pictures and everything that we would take away from this trip would be huge when we looked back at it (also my mom will love it for the awesome scrapbooking that she does). Then we went to the Taipei 101, which is the tallest building in the world. It is up there, the elevator gets you to the 101st floor in 36 seconds. It goes something like 40 mph. It was quick. After that we headed back to the hotel for some lunch. Then we had the afternoon off before the big game that night with the hometown favorite Chinese Taipei.

We left early for the game to walk over to the gym and we barely got out of the hotel before we saw people that were heading over to the game and trying to stop us for pictures and such. Then, we got to the game and it was a tight match the whole way through. Then at halftime through our translator Hans, Coach Jarvis and Troy Devries told stories of how Jesus Christ has impacted their lives to a sold out crowd. It was a very touching experience. Then we got back to the game and we were up 14 in the fourth quarter but the home team never gave up and with about 29 secs left Taiwan had the ball and got an open look from 3 but couldn’t connect. We took a timeout and Coach J drew up a play that was for sure golden. Troy inbounded the ball to D-Nik, D-Nik drove the ball down the middle lane which the defense collasped, then……he passed the ball to a open Josh Carter who sealed the game with a clutch three in the corner.

It was grrrreat!!

Tuesday, July 11

Tuesday was another good morning. I got up and lifted some weights. They didn’t have all the equipment, so I just went around lifting whatever I could find in the weight room. Then I had some breakfast and we had our Bible study. We had a practice at a gym that looked similar to an airport hangar. It reminded me of some of the gyms we used to play in in tournaments when I was younger. Then we had lunch. Roast beef and sushi again. I will not touch the sushi after I got sick this year from it. Then we played Qatar. It was a tough game. They have some good athletes. After the game we ate dinner with them at the hotel. We found out that they only have one player that was actually born in Qatar. It was interesting to talk to them about their faith as most of them were Muslim and most of us are Christians. I found out that the Muslims believe that Jesus and Judas actually switched places on the cross and that is why Jesus is not the Son of God, but simply a prophet. I talked with Coach Burgess, who used to be at the University of New Orleans. He is a catholic and it was interesting talking about his experiences of faith and just experiences in Qatar. I definitely would like to have the gasoline prices that they have.

Wednesday, July 12

Wednesday was a good day. We woke up and had breakfast. French Toast, eggs, and sausage with some mango juice again. Then we had team time and had a great Bible study. We talked about either feeding the flesh or feeding the spirit in all that we do. They gave some great examples that made it very easy to apply. We played Japan tonight and they ran the fast break like I have never seen before they would jump to catch a pass and be passing again almost before they landed. Then they would shoot if they were open…or if they weren’t. We went zone later in the game and they could not figure it out. We won 108 to 81. Justin Herndon (Boomer) played well and had 28 points in the game. After the game all the fans were asking for autographs and pictures. We hand out autographed cards that have the Good News on the back of them. They talk about the love of Jesus and hopefully some people will be able to read them and it will mean something to them. Some of them even gave us some gifts or the pictures that they had taken earlier. I received a bag of “Taiwanese delicacies” that I will be bringing home to my family. Tyler and Cody (my brothers) you should brace yourselves for this. I have no idea what it is. I’m sure you’ll like it though.

Thursday, July 13

Thursday was another day of waking up to some French toast, eggs and sausage with some mango juice. Then I went down and lifted some weights with a guy from the Philippines and his trainer. I get this everyday because squid and sushi just simply aren’t appealing before noon. We had another good bible study. Then we played the Philippines that night. They had a couple of big guys. One guy was huge and then I found out that he was 31 years old and it put it into perspective for me. We won the game 91-68. I finally put together a double-double, so I was pleased. Then we had another Bible study after the game with Pastor Steve.

Friday, July 14

It was a great day. We woke up and had some breakfast. Breakfast is the best meal in my opinion because it is about the most American. Everyday the same — sausage, eggs, and either french toast or pancakes.

We had a good game with Kazakhstan today. We played well to start the game and got out to an early lead but they closed the gap and tied the game in the fourth quarter. A late 10-0 run spurred by three assists from D. Kirk and a couple jumpers from JaRon put us up and sealed the game. The game was great, but afterwards we got a chance to make an impact on some special lives.

We went with Sister Irene Kundinger, an American who moved to Taiwan 35 years ago in order to serve God by serving these people in Taiwan. We drove up into the mountains…and I mean into the mountains. It felt like we were going to fall off when we got close to our destination, which was a school for handicapped children. We had six guys from Kazakhstan join us, which was neat to see. We got to watch a video about the center and everything the do with the kids. They have their own bakery and some even get to work in a restaurant. Then, the kids cooked dinner for us, which was ummm….interesting. I couldn’t talk to the kids that the meal, but it was different. The rice was good and I said some bamboo with salad dressing. The eggplant was a little out of my league, but the tofu was alright. Then after dinner, we went back to the auditorium and sang songs to the kids. Christian, Patrick, and I led the kids in the theme song from Beauty and the Beast. I had no idea what the words to the song were, but they were on the screen and I was alright. Some of the kids came up and were dancing in front of us. They had some good moves. Then Damon a guy from AIA in Kazakhstan led us in some worship songs and the kids tried to sing with us to the best of their ability. It was awesome to see the kids joy in spending time with them. We were the first Americans to visit their school, so that is definitely an honor. But it helps not to take playing basketball for granted after spending time with these kids that had all this joy with what they have.

Then the night ended with a few of us going out to eat at TGI Fridays with our translator Hans because he was going to be with the New Zealand team next week.

This trip is a lot of fun…I just want to say hello to all my family, friends, and teammates back at home…I’ll be home soon.