Yesterday we said 'good-bye' to our first group of students. from the AMTEK school in Cherepovets, and it was a very emotional time. Those kids were so special to us and we really became close with them over the 2 weeks that we were together. I had kids that were English beginners and were ages 9-12. They were so precious and so eager to learn. We had so many laughs in class even though it was often difficult for us to communicate with words. I will also miss the teenagers from AMTEK who helped us every day, spoke Russian on our behalf, and blessed us with meaningful conversation in English. Their English teacher, Elena Nicolievna, has been such a GREAT HELP to us as well. She made sure that 2 students that were here last week will be coming back to the camp for the next 2 weeks with us as our interpreters and helpers. That is something she didn't have to do, but she did it. AMAZING. Praise God for friends when you need them and can't do anything for yourself! (Sign Language is okay in some circumstances, but not always effective when you need it to be.)
We got to ride the bus back to town with our students and met some of their parents when they picked them up. Then, Elena, Irina (the Principal), and some of the teachers that had been at camp with us took us to the AMTEK school and gave us a tour. I will post my pictures later when I get back to the US, because I can't get it to work here, but I will tell you now that I was SO IMPRESSED with the school and it looked like an amazing place to learn. They had SEVERAL 'Smart Boards' and state-of-the-art technology, the building was beautifully rennovated and cared for, and student work was all over the place. Their auditorium was gorgeous and full of new padded chairs. It seemed more like an American private school than a public school, but it IS a Russian Public school. It's a science and math magnet school in town and they have a 100% college acceptance rate for their graduates. wow. I think the teachers there have it REALLY good and the headmaster Dimitri seemed like he was a pretty good guy.
The sad news is that I don't think I will be going to Moscow this trip. We had the chance to go, but I said 'no' because it will cost $115 just to get there, not to mention taxis, food, etc. when we are actually in the city and I know it's not a cheap place to be. I'm okay, just a little disappointed, but I know I made the right choice. If God wants me to go to Moscow someday, I know He will make it happen when it is right. This just didn't feel right to me. I think we will be able to go to St. Petersburg before we leave, so I will still get to go to the city and see some famous places :D
Right now, we have 3 days until our new students arrive at camp. In that time we really don't have any obligations. Two of our team members are going to Moscow on that trip, so they will be getting ready for that. I hope to spend these three days reflecting and journaling, relaxing on the bank of the river, and just resting. As I remember from working at Riverside, camp takes a lot of energy so it IS important to be quiet and be refreshed.
Well, that's what has been going on for me! My feelings are: Peaceful, Patient, Reflective, in Anticipation and- yes - dependent on the care of others and of God.