B A S K E T B A L L by Courtney Copeland

Written By: Wes Cole

“Coach Wes, we have been praying all year for your return!” This was a greeting I will never forget. I hear it in Ken's Ugandan accent perfectly every time I think about it. They all surrounded me and we exchanged hugs and high fives. It was good to be back.

This was my second time in Uganda with Reaction Tour to coach basketball, and I was overwhelmed by this greeting. I felt loved by these kids who I was here to help. I felt empowered and important. I’ve worked with kids a lot. I currently work at a Christian sports camp in the United States and love it. But it is just different. It is different to be in a third world country. At my camp in the U.S. I had kids who I hung out with 24/7 for two weeks in my cabin come back the next year and not remember my name which is fine. It is not about me, and that isn’t the point. The point is that it is different. These boys were in my basketball class of 75 kids for around 4 hours a day for one week a year ago. And, they were “praying all year for my return."

As undeserved as it is our presence is noticed, and our words are heard, and our actions are seen. Instructions are understood. Things just sink in harder than if someone from their own country came and coached or taught the exact same thing.

Is it because we know more? No.

Is it because we have been trained to coach for years? Certainly not. 

Does it even make sense? No, not really.

But, it is real. 

Jesus called fisherman and tax collectors to be his disciples and eventually to spread the faith of Christianity. They had no training, no background, and no real preparation. I didn’t deserve the respect these kids gave me, I won’t be the best basketball coach they ever come across. But I was lucky enough and fortunate enough to be used by God to make some sort of an impact on these kids. 

Coaching was an amazing experience, the kids laughed at me when I tried to speak their language or say some of their names. I laughed at many of them when they tried to play basketball. Some of them thought I was crazy because of the intensity I had on the court and during training. We were different.

I think our different background, our different experiences, and our different lives allow us to connect. It isn’t easy and it doesn’t always feel comfortable to do something different. But, it is powerful. Jesus did it all the time. He was a carpenter who spoke to thousands of people, he was the Son of God who interacted with prostitutes, beggars, the rich, and anyone else who needed it. The most mighty man to ever live didn’t try and do what was the most comfortable, and for that I am thankful. 

W O R S H I P by Courtney Copeland

Written By: John Michael Howell

I am so grateful for the opportunity to go with Reaction Tour to Africa this past camp. I'm honored to have been a part of all the amazing things that God did there this year.

A big highlight for me on this trip was serving in the worship class with my amazing Dad, Michael Howell, and one of my worship leader heroes, Dara Maclean. It was so great to get to reunite with many of my friends from last years class, and to see all the change that God has been doing in their heart's since the previous year. We started off day one strong by leading the students through "soak time", where we got quiet and allowed God to speak to our hearts as a demonstration of how we can live our every day aware of his presence. After, we all would watch a powerful sermon on the character of a worshiper by our friend, Pastor Sion, from Gateway Church. We would all sing together to some of our favorite songs from the setlist that we would play for the worship service the following night. There's something so beautiful about when very different people from across the world unite their voices and worship their very same father as one, and I cherished every moment that we got to unite in song with our African brothers and sisters.

My favorite part of the worship class was the guitar giveaway. This year, we were able to give away one guitar to one student every day of camp, thanks to a great ministry called Guitars for Glory, that partnered with us to make a total of 6 beautiful acoustic guitars that were given away, along with pickups, cases, tuners, extra strings, picks, and various accessories. It brought so much joy to our hearts to see the look of surprise and joy on the faces of the blessed individuals who received a guitar.

This years worship class was a HUGE success, and I know that throughout the class, God has started something new on the inside of the students, as well as my dad, Dara and I. It was such a huge blessing to be a part of Reaction Tour 2017, and I cannot wait to go back again next year! #rtuganda17

D A N C E by Courtney Copeland

Written by: Dyanna Groves

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heaven!
Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!
Praise Him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise Him with instruments!
Praise Him with the tambourine and dancing; praise Him with strings and flutes!
Praise Him with a clash of cymbals; praise Him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Let’s be honest, stepping into this dance elective for Reaction Tour, I felt a little out of place, maybe even a little underqualified, but so very filled with anticipation!

When we began that first morning, we knew these students had the skill to dance, we knew they had the heart, but we still felt the Lord’s direction to lay the foundation for the true purpose of dance.  We talked about King David, giving the example of what it would be like if they had seen their own leaders worship God so enthusiastically that they danced right out of their clothes – which, of course, we didn’t advocate!

II Samuel 6
David danced with great abandon before God…he said “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want!  Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory – more recklessly than this...as far as I’m concerned…I’ll gladly look like a fool.”

We’ve all seen the way people use their bodies to dance in ways that are anything but glorifying to God.  All of us, including these students have Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Usher, and all the other “greats” as examples of talent and skill.  And although all of these performers are indeed talented, they are not the example of one who’s heart is set to worship our One True God.

So, our heart was to, not only teach, but demonstrate that dance is – at its core – the abandonment of self in worship to God: using every part of your body to tell God just how amazing He is, and how much you adore Him.  Dance is a beautiful expression of a passionate heart.

The song Glorie chose and choreographed was “Sideways” by KB and Lacrae.  It is basically saying that it doesn’t matter if people look at you “sideways” for living for God.  That thought is what we reminded them of, over and over.  Live for God – live big for God – and don’t care what people think about you!

One we got to the actual dancing, it came as NO surprise that they learned the moves crazy fast.  I’m talking that after the first day of practice, they had the first section covered and were rockin’ it!  The energy and comradery among the group was seriously contagious.  I don’t think I have ever seen a group of people more ready to work hard, and encourage each other.  Their favorite part – which became our favorite to watch – was the “dance battle.”  We would divide the group in two and they would perform facing each other.  They were electrified – hollering and cheering for each other every single time!  What an example!

The other favorite of mine was the “after party,” meaning when class would be over and they would then teach us some of their traditional dances, or even dances they were making up as we went along!  And then we’d have long conversations about the differences and similarities from our cultures.  Those moments made every day valuable to me.

Well, 5 days with anybody causes you to build relationships, and the conversations that I was blessed to have with these students marked me for life.  There were heart-to-heart, real-life moments of open venerability, not just conversation about culture.  It’s in these moments that you pray to God that you’ve said the right thing, listened to their heart, and somehow helped them – even if it’s just in some little way. 

And although this elective was supposed to be all about worshipping God in the dance, I believe so much more was accomplished.  I pray hearts were opened, eyes were given a vision, and new steps were learned – but not just as part of the choreography!

And as to the final dance performance, yeah, they put their whole heart and being into it and truly did worship the Lord… and gave a great performance as well!

UGANDA WAS A SUCCESS by Courtney Copeland

At the beginning of January we returned from Uganda - BEST YEAR YET!

I want to start out by first apologizing about the delay in getting this report to you all! We hit the ground running into 2017!

I have no words to describe our trip to Uganda. Now that I have had time to reflect and think about work there, I am even more pleased with our team and the accomplishments that were made.

THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS PRESENT - There was a Holy Ghost Party in Uganda this year! We saw miracles, redemption, deliverance, and salvations take place all week long!  

Sports, classes, services, and worship were all on another level this year! Because of how amazing every area of camp was, I am going to have the leads each write their own blog post from their own perspective to help to the story of Reaction Tour Uganda 2017. 

Check back here for good reads and testimonies from the trip! 

Watch some of our favorite moments here!

Courtney.

Can you believe it's been 5 Years? by Courtney Copeland

Reaction Tour is going back to Uganda!!!

And this January will be our FIFTH Camp to be in Uganda. The Lord has put a special place in our hearts for Uganda and we are so excited to see what he has in store for this trip. We are praying and believing for hearts changed and youth set free. We believe the Lord is going to provide more than we can ask for or imagine!


Check out this video to see a recap of what Reaction Tour has been up to these past 5 years! 

In addition, we are planning our First Annual Reaction Tour 5k Color Run in honor of 5 years of Reaction Tour! More details on this great event to come, but if you are ready to register...

HOME from I N D I A by Courtney Copeland

I N D I A was amazing to see the Lord move.

 Earlier this month, we took a team of 13 to Hyderabad, India, to host two, 3-day camps for about 400 kids!

The trip started off with a few trials. The whole team arrived at the airport ready to rock-and-roll. About 10 minutes before we were supposed to take off, they announced that the entire flight had been cancelled! Now, if you’ve travelled before, then you know how extremely frustrating this is. Imagine having 10+ people in your group and having to figure that out. In addition, a couple of our team members actually lost their passports at the airport the night our flight was cancelled, so there were a few tears and emotions involved in the process of getting that situation resolved. BUT the Lord was there with us in those moments and we were able to ALL be on the same flight out, the following day! Because of the delay, we had to re-arrange our camp schedule a bit, but the culture in India is very relaxed and we had no issues adjusting our plans for the two weeks. We knew that the Lord must have big plans for the week, since the enemy was trying to attack us in so many ways. When it was time for camp, the children were beyond excited! In the mornings we would walk in and say, “GOOD MORNING!” and all the kids would respond with a huge smile and scream, “GOOD MORNING!” ...It was truly a beautiful sight to see. We played games, taught the children worship songs, did fun crafts, shared the different characteristics of Jesus with them, and loved on them during our time with there. Each child received their very own pair of shoes and a Reaction Tour t-shirt! We learned that these items were likely the first brand new shirt and shoes that these children have ever received, and you could tell they were so thankful and grateful by the enormous smiles on their faces! We taught them how to play soccer, basketball, kickball, and volleyball- and they gave us a cricket lesson or two! By the end of the week, we had created strong relationships with the children of Inida, despite the language barriers.

 Jesus was moving in India and He was accepted into the heart of 206 children!

 We want to thank you for your continued prayers and support. The Lord is using Reaction Tour to impact the world and we are grateful for the role you are playing through prayers, sponsorship, and financial support. Without the Grace of God, and your obedience to sow into Reaction Tour, NONE of this could have happened.

 To see what took place on our trip, watch our recap video!

Time for India by Courtney Copeland

In 2013, Reaction Tour stepped foot onto Indian soil for the first time. We knew The Lord had called us to minister to children in India, and the time had come.

NOW, we are excited to go back to India and hold two more camps! Please be in agreement with us that the exact will of The Lord be done and lives will be forever changed.

The Reaction Tour Team will be gone for two weeks hosting two separate camps with 300 kids in attendance- please be praying for the following things for the duration of this trip and during this time of preparation:

  1.  Safety- We plead Psalms 91 over us and the children attending our camps. We command our angels to take charge over all of us and our feet our guided by the Holy Spirit every step of the way.
  2. Hearts of Children- May the soil of these children’s hearts be prepared to receive The Word we are about to sow into their lives. That The Lord is already setting up divine appointments for when we leave to water seeds sown during camps.
  3. Provision- We believe that all of the finances are falling into place for this camp to be completed and BLESSED.

Your prayers mean so much to us. It is empowering when we know we have you praying for us while we are over seas. We are so thankful for YOU and everything you have done to make Reaction Tour happen.

Be Blessed,
Courtney Copeland

P.S.
It is not to late to sponsor a child or support Reaction Tour! – If The Lord leads you to sow financially into Reaction Tour, click HERE.

Shown here is one of my favorite photos from our last trip to India.. Language barriers cannot keep the Love of God from getting through to a young man's heart. We love seeing children accept Jesus as their Savior.

Shown here is one of my favorite photos from our last trip to India.. Language barriers cannot keep the Love of God from getting through to a young man's heart. We love seeing children accept Jesus as their Savior.

Chick-fil-a + Reaction Tour by Courtney Copeland

We have the opportunity to partner with Chick-fil-a to support Reaction Tour!

 

When: April 14th 5:00 - 9:00 pm

Where: Chick-fil-a Alliance Town Center [2870 Heritage Trace Parkway]

How: 1. Go To Chick-fil-a at Alliance Town Center between 5 & 9 on April 14th

         2. Mention Reaction Tour when you order

         3. Eat chicken

        4. Be happy!

Why: When you do this, 20% of the sales from that night will be donated to Reaction Tour!

What is Reaction Tour:

Reaction Tour exists to empower kids around the world, through the display of God's love, using the avenues of sports, discipleship, dance, and music. We do this by putting on camps in underprivileged areas around the world! We are going to India this May to do two 3-day camps for a total of 400 kids. We will be doing our first camp on American Soil in Haltom City, Texas this summer, and we will return to Uganda for a 5-day camp for 500 kids at the end of the year! These camps are free for the kids who attend. Each camper receives a t-shirt, all meals for the week, shoes, training in their activity, Love of the father, and the word of god during their time with reaction tour!

To understand Reaction Tour a little bit better, watch this video from our camp in Uganda earlier this year. 

 

Help support Reaction Tour to empower kids around the world by eating Chick-fil-a for dinner on April 14th! 

 

Can't make it to this event? You can still support Reaction Tour.