Monday, July 10, 2017

Day 5 of trip, Day 1 of VBS Kids Camp in Ukraine

Today I got many great pictures and videos of the first day of kids' camp/VBS. I enjoyed a quiet phone call with Mitch too, which was a blessing.

 {Heading to camp}


Today took a lot of organization and orientation. Kids arrived at all different times, so some got to play longer while others didn't really get a chance to play. When kids arrived, they got registered, then received a hat and a t-shirt. The backdrop I had a picture of yesterday makes a great photo booth, and kids had cameras or cell phones and were taking pictures by it. Mitch said that the kids rotate through 3 stations--crafts, Bible time, and sports. They spend an hour in each, except the last 15 min of sports is actually snack time. It actually got quite hot today and they were all feeling it! After the snack, they have a closing time with songs and a skit.




They played on the field--soccer, capture the flag. The played with a parachute, and they played at the playground. I'm pretty sure some of these pictures are out of order...




 {I love the colored hats--what a brilliant idea! All the shirts were generously provided for by the group Second Half for Him at our church. I am amazed at what this group accomplishes each year as they come alongside the Horol team to support this trip.}




 {Victoria and AJ}

 {Mitch said he and this boy took many pictures of each other. ^^}


{Getting organized}


{AJ, Mitch, and Victoria were on sports}






Victoria shared some pictures with me too!

 {An exciting first day--130 kids came!}

{Last time our church sent a team over, Micah and Andrew went with the team. They had both just finished 11th grade, and it was a new dynamic to the team. Teens connect in different ways, so I was excited when Victoria volunteered to go on this trip. She has just graduated high school. I know that she will set an example for the teens there and her friendship will mean more to them than she knows!}

{Saying goodbye at the end of the day}


So one of the "surprises" of today was that the field they play sports on had not been mowed this year. The team returned after lunch to mow the field. It may not be how you would expect...


{This is a harvester...}


{And Pastor Grigorii is reallllllly fast!}


{Hard workers!}
So the harvester that Pastor Grigorii was using cuts the grass off at the bottom of the stalk only, pretty much exactly like a hay mower. Our team went behind him, raking, and piling the hay. Mitch was videoing a little bit, then Oxana came up to him and said, "You are a good farmer. Give me your camera, and you go work, and I will make a video for your wife." Heehee... Mitch is wearing a yellow shirt in the video (one that he got from Ukraine 9 years ago!)

Ok for the sum of it, with praises and prayer requests:

It was an exciting day. Even though there were adjustments to make, the kids were super excited to be there. There were 130 kids, and we expect as many as 150 tomorrow. Pray specifically for the weather--today was hot enough, and tomorrow may be hotter. There is a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast, so pray for good weather. They do have a gym that they can play in, but it is hot and stuffy. By the way, there is no A/C for the VBS camp. Please pray for beautiful weather and for the kids and the volunteers to be safe from heat and dehydration.

Mitch says they got about 1/4 of the field mowed in 2 hours of work. It looks like it was fun work, I'm sure that working together with friends makes it more fun. We are thankful for the hands that did this work and for a fun and clean place for the kids to run and play. Mitch and Victoria are both prone to sunburn easily. Mitch forgot his sunscreen at home today AND he lost his cap. Victoria was also a little red. Please pray for them to be comfortable and not get more burned.

As we were talking on the phone, Mitch walked into his bedroom and saw a pile of neatly folded clean laundry on his chair--Zhenya has such a servant heart and always attentively washes the laundry of our team. He is so thankful for her. Today she not only did laundry, but cooked delicious food and washed dishes, and her back continues to hurt. Please keep praying for healing for Zhenya. 

Other small things to pray for--Mitch has had a small cyst on his foot for a long time (nothing concerning), and it usually doesn't bother him at all (except when playing basketball, but his knees hurt more), but now it is really hurting. Heather had a bad headache yesterday, but she did feel better today. As I'm writing this,they are already sleeping on their side of the world, so please pray for restful sleep. Mitch had trouble sleeping again last night, and even woke to a nightmare. He described it to me and it made me cry. It definitely felt like a spiritual attack, which brings me to my closing thoughts.

Remember that they are in a spiritually dark country. I am not sure what your perception of Ukraine is, but it continues to be a place where people struggle to survive. They live on unimaginably low salaries. Crumbling infrastructure and corrupt government is common. It is estimated that only 2 to 3 percent of the population is evangelical (see more about the Church in Ukraine and how they are working towards unification). Pastor Grigorii and Zhenya and many in the church are working hard on the front lines to bring the one hope that all of us have--the truth of the Gospel. 

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