Hello friends and family!
We’ve officially made it halfway through our trip and the first session of camp! All of us had an amazing time playing with, serving, and loving the beautiful campers. Naturally, we are all tired, but we are enjoying a day of rest today before the second session of camp begins.
I’ve been so encouraged by my team members over these past two weeks. When you lead a trip like this, you usually expect to be the one teaching your team members. However, my team members have been the ones teaching me. Below are lessons I’ve learned from each of my team members.
Megan: Megan is such a sweetheart! She is one of the most loving and caring people I have ever met. She has gone out of her way to learn basic Russian and to show love to the Russian people here. Every time I see her, she is always giving someone a hug or a word of encouragement. What I’m learning from Megan is to love without limits and to love boldly!
Daniel: Daniel is an amazing guy! He has a huge servant’s heart and is always seeking to put others first. Everyday, Daniel asks to carry my backpack when the group walks to the sea. The first day he asked if he could carry my backpack, me being a self-proclaimed strong independent woman, told him thank you, but that I was fine. Daniel simply responded with, “but I would like to.” Through Daniel, I am learning that we need to humble ourselves and let others serve us. Not allowing people to serve us deprives them of of the opportunity, but the joy that comes with blessing others.
Amy: Amy has been an incredible mentor to me (she is our team faculty member as well) over these past two years. Amy is an accomplished professor and has extensive training in multiple fields, including camp ministry and leadership, but she is the most humble of member of the team. There is no task that is above her. Everything she does, she does with humility and joy. She has taught me and the value of humility in leadership and the importance of being a team player. She and Lauren both had to leave early two days ago and we all miss them terribly.
Zach: Zach is such an awesome guy. This is his second time in Russia and I’ve loved seeing how he as grown and matured. He is incredibly humble and always willing to serve. I’m not sure if there a person more loved by the kids at this camp than Zach. I am constantly finding him surrounded by a throng of Russian children. Through Zach I have learned the importance of a gentle spirit and serving with a joyful attitude.
Lauren: Lauren is such an amazing person. She simply radiates joy. Every time I am done spending time with Lauren, I feel refreshed and energized. Lauren had to leave us early due to have surgery for a medical condition that causes her constant discomfort and pain. Despite being in pain everyday, Lauren remains positive and joyful. Through her I have learned the power of choosing joy in spite of difficult circumstances.
Alicia: This is also Alicia’s second time in Russia. She has been such an encouragement to me over these past two years. Alicia is an extremely caring person and feels incredible empathy for others. Whilst in Russia, I’ve always been impressed by Alicia’s ability to make fast friends with the Russian counselors. Her openness, caring nature and genuine kindness disarms people and makes them feel at ease. Through Alicia I have been challenged to approach others with the same kindness and genuine care that she demonstrates.
Griffin: Griffin is Jane’s cousin who joined our team in the JFK Airport. I was shocked and impressed how He immediately fit in with the rest of the team. Griffin has never met a stranger and genuinely loves life. Everything he does, he does with incredible enthusiasm and joy. Through Griffin I have be challenged to appreciate life and to treat every day as a gift. I am so incredibly blessed to have him on our team!
Thank you everyone for your continual support of us! It’s onto session two!