Well, we finally figured out that the Ukraine team’s updates weren’t going through, so Micah re-sent three from the past 10 days :) Enjoy!
We have an expression in Spanish that says “mil disculpas” it means “a thousand apologies”. Sorry for the lack of communication. Here are two updates that were written and I thought had been sent but I guess never made it to you. And Ill write a detailed update now so that everyone who is wondering what is going on will be up to date
Our whole team (excluding Hannah Dooley who was coming from Morocco) left from the San Francisco airport during the end of May. We had a long layover in London (where, after some hiccups we met with Hannah). We were able to have an evening to explore London before heading to Ukraine. The camp (Jeremiah’s Hope) is located in a small village called Kolsensi about an hour and a half from the capital city of Kiev. The first week went better than I could have imagined. Despite the language barrier the team was able to connect well with the kids. Andrew (the camp director and our field worker) said it was one of the best first weeks of camp he had directed at Jeremiah’s Hope. I am so proud of each of my team members!
During the year as we prepared for our trip it was obvious that we had a quieter group. It is often easy for people that are quiet, or introverted to be more reserved in situations in which they are not comfortable, so I was very excited to see that as some of the team were pushed out of their comfort zones they reacted by diving head first into our ministry with great attitudes and energy (and continue to do so into week two). I have so much to say about each member but that can wait for another time. Our first few days we had the privilege to help prepare a house that will be used as a foster home for several kids that are currently in the rescue shelter that is run by Andrew and Jenny, his wife. After a few days of preparing the foster house and the camp for the upcoming week we got the day off to visit Kiev.
Monday morning we welcomed 44 kids from our village and surrounding villages and towns and started the week with lice check The girls handled that very well. Originally we had anticipated that our first week at camp would be a little more relaxed as we were informed that there would be a team from Texas taking care of most of it. The team from Texas turned out to be only four people, very loving, kind, servant hearted people. Naturally, this meant that we would be more involved in week 1 than we anticipated. We were blessed to be able to work with these village kids along side our friends from Texas and a few other volunteers. Many of the kids have very difficult family situations. One of the girls that was at camp that week found out that during the week her mom (who has been an alcoholic since her husband died two years ago) had been stripped of her rights to take care of the girl and her brother. They are now in the rescue shelter. This is only one of the stories from the kids we were able to love and serve last week.
Once the village kids took off on Saturday morning we spent most of Saturday and some of Sunday cleaning and preparing the camp for our first week of Missionary Kid campers. Monday morning Hannah, Josh and I, went with Andrew to pick up the campers from Kiev. The theme for the MK camps is “Amazing Race”. Josh was able to share about China and his experience there, he did a great job sharing his testimony and about God’s unconditional love for each of us. A topic that I feel was very appropriate for children of missionaries who often feel the pressures of having to be “good kids”. And that brings us pretty well up to date today!
1. For the village kids from last week, that the Lord would protect them in their homes and that they could share what they learned at camp with their families.
2. For each of our WorldServe team members as we take on another two weeks with fewer staff.
3. For the MK’s we are reaching out to. That we would be able to relate and show them that they are loved.
June 2, 2013
Update 1 by Hannah
Upon our arrival in the Ukraine we were taken to the camp and were given a small orientation. The property is covered in sand and has a wealth of both outdoor games and playground toys. Everything from a soccer and a sand volleyball court to trampolines, monkey-bars and a merry-go-round. The perfect place to have a camp.
Since being here we have played on all of the toys and perfected our skills of “Round Robin”, besides cleaning the camp and preparing for the kids to come, of course.
Today, we were able to take the morning off and go sight-seeing in the city of Kyiv. There were majestic cathedrals, cobblestone streets and plenty of sights to take in as we walked from one monument to the next. Upon our return to camp we had a worship time. I found this to be the highlight of my day, it enabled me to become more centered on what we are really here to do. We talked about how we are here to serve “the least of these” and were instructed to pray for the kids that we come into contact with over the five days that they are here. This time in the word and prayer encouraged me and got me so excited for the first day of camp, which is to begin tomorrow.
- As we use our broken Ukrainian/Russian to play, lead and connect with the kids.
- For Josh to heal from the cold that he has been fighting off.
- For our team to stay a cohesive unit and that we would bless not only the kids but also the adults we are serving alongside.
PS: We touched a wild Hedgehog.
June 6, 2013
Update 2 byJosh
So much has happened this last week! After arriving in Kolentsi, we worked two days for a couple named Cola and Natasha. They have five children and now they are fostering five orphans from the Kelly’s Rescue Mission. Because Cola and his family are going to foster the orphans, the government has built them a new house. Even though we could hardly understand anything he was saying, we had a great time working with Cola and just laughing together at random things.
Camp for the Ukrainian kids started early Monday morning. We had 44 kids that were registered and came to camp. The gals on our team checked the kids for lice, while the rest of the staff kept the kids busy. Our volunteer staff here are from around the world and are incredibly awesome!
These four days of camp have been long, tough days with many challenges, especially with the Ukrainian kids, but they have been incredibly rewarding. The language barrier is hard to work around even though we have translators, but it is amazing how hard we can laugh together no matter what we language we speak. The kids here are amazingly cute and are really fun to play with.
The last two nights have been skit nights. Last night the kids performed renditions of Bible stories and tonight, the staff performed hilarious skits to entertain the kids. It was a huge hit. We have an awesome team, full of amazing and hilarious talent!
On a more personal note, I was really touched by one of the little guys in my cabin. His name is Sasha and he is a little rascal. He has been fun to be with, but has been very disobedient. Two nights ago, I had to confront him because he was not listening to me. Through a translator, I asked him what was wrong and he told me that everyone around him hated him and I hated him. I had to take a breath. Then I crouched down and looked him straight in his beautifully vivid blue eyes and I told him, “I love you.” I just said it over and over and gave him a huge hug. The next day, he came up to me and told me in English that he loves me. I was so touched. God’s love is so powerful when we show it to those who don’t know about it.
- Pray that we will continue to show God’s love to Sasha and the other little rascals.
- Pray for strength and health for our team as we finish up this week and prepare for next week’s camp.
Isbogum! (Be with God!)