Thursday, June 30, 2011
Blessings to you! I hope all of you are well and that you have had a wonderful week this week. My team and I are safely at the Yantar camp in Russia. We arrived early on Wednesday morning (Russian Time) after 16 hours of flying and 10-11 more hours of travelling by van on bumpy rural roads to the camp. It was definitely smooth, but exhausting adventure. We were picked up by the airport by a girl named Galina who is 23 and speaks English very well. She befriended us and helped us the first full day that we were here at Yantar too, which was great. Her sister also drove 2 hours from Cherepovets to meet us and we were able to have dinner and talk with her too. They said they might come visit us here in 2 weeks and hopefully can take us into town or something.
We are 2 hours outside of Cherepovets here, and aren't really close to any town or village. This camp is a place that the children come to get away from the city and find health with the fresh air and nature. They excercise every morning, eat healthy food, play games, make theatrical productions for competitions, and some study here as well (like the kids we are teaching right now). There is constant music blasting over the loud speakers in front of the main building from early in the morning until late at night, which is different than camp in America. There is a loop of children's songs that plays every day and one of them even features the "Tro Lo Lo" man from the youtube video. It makes me chuckle every time I hear it.
A highlight so far for me has been talking to some of the advanced students (who are mostly teenagers) and giving them an opportunity to use their English skills. They seem really mature and have worked really hard in school to build their vocabularies. I think some of them have had tutors, and a few have been in special English-focused schools since they were in 1st grade. Almost every day, we will have a chance to go to the river bank with the students and play volleyball and swim. We did that for the first time yesterday and it was a great way to build relationships with them across the language barrier.
I'm excited to teach my first lesson today too! I will be teaching a class of beginners, so we will see what that is going to look like. I'm anticipating good things. My team is in good spirits so far. We are tired and we are awake at strange hours as we adjust to the time difference, but we are excited, well taken care of, and ready to trust God and what He is doing here.
We had a great time of worship on Thursday night, so that was encouraging to me. We sang and read some scripture, and I cried because I was overwhelmed with emotion to be here. It was kind of disbelief/culture shock/joy wrapped up all in one. My prayer requests for this weekend and the upcoming week are that my team would be rested and adjusted, that our classes would be a blessing for everyone, and that we would continue to be healthy and united as a team that trusts in God and relies on his provision for everything we need. God is here.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
This is just a brief update of what I'm up to right now. I am currently at training in Pasadena and things are going really well. I am enjoying my team and all of the things that I'm learning about teaching language learners. I practice teach tonight for the first time, so that should be a good learning experience!
We have classes every day this week from 8am to 9pm, so we are VERY busy! I feel like I am aborbing so much information that will be useful for when we get to the camp.
We offically leave for Russia next Monday! I'm so excited!!! My return date is oficially August 3rd, which is nice to know too.
Well, I don't have a lot of time before I need to be at my next session! I love you all and hope that you are doing well.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
This is a song I wrote today as I was preparing to go to Russia. I hope you all enjoy it! It is called "This One's Mine" and it is about how the Lord has chosen me to be his and that he will ALWAYS take care of me because of that.
The recording quality is poor (I don't have fancy equipment or anything!) and my playing is far from perfect since I just wrote the song, but I still think it is beautiful and worth sharing with the people who are praying for me!
Only a few more days to go before I leave. Praise God for what He is doing.
Here is a translation if you can't understand the words:
"You lay your hand upon my head and you say this one's mine, this one's mine"
"My Cup Overflows, I know"
"Your hand will never leave me, the one you chose. My cup, overflows, I know"
Monday, June 6, 2011
I will be in Cherepovets this summer, which is between Moscow and St. Petersburg. It's a town of about 300,000 people, so I'm sure there will be plenty to see and do during our free time.
My team will be working at a place called the Yantar (Amber) youth camp. It is a place where kids with health problems can come for treatment and to have fun during the day. There are sports, drama, music, art and other activities for the kids to participate in. I'm sure my team will be doing all of those things as well as practicing English with all of the kids and becoming their new American friends :) Here is the translated link to the site's website. It is in babblefish, so some of the wording is funny, but you at least get the main idea.
I'm really getting excited for this! My team has been emailing back and forth now trying to figure out everything that we want to bring and prepare. More updates to come!