Been a long time coming, but here is an update from the intern!
First off I just want to say thank you to everyone that has been praying for me on my trip out here, I know that I am only here thanks to all of your love and support.
So much has happened since the last time that I wrote you all, and I am not really sure where to start. Last time I wrote was just halfway through the first week of camp, and now I sit here as the first team that I am helping out with is preparing to leave back home to the states! Just want to say that it has been such a blessing working with this team of girls. They all have such amazing hearts of service and are so devoted to God’s calling in their lives.
The first week of the camp finished off well. I continued to be an assistant to the full time staff that SunErgos has working here in Novgorod, and I joined the team from CBU as they spent time teaching lessons and just loving on the children at the orphanage. The team accepted me as one of their own and I was able to fit right in with the ministry that they came here to perform.
The end of the first week came about as a nice relaxing weekend. On Saturday, we were invited by the orphanage to attend a memorial honoring the World War II veterans from the city of Novgorod (see CBU team updates below for more detail!) and then in the afternoon went to the Banya (that’s a Russian sauna for those not in the know)! Sunday came and the team and I attended the service here at the Church. It was an amazing time of worship with our brothers and sisters here in Russia, and two of the girls from the CBU team and I were able to share some of our own worship music with the Church as well! After service we joined everyone for a group lunch and time of simple fellowship. The rest of Sunday was spent simply going out into the city of Novgorod and enjoying the parks and scenery.
The beginning of this week came and my duties remained much the same. I have been helping to keep track of accounting for the teams and helping the team themselves with whatever I can in terms of the ministry. Monday and Tuesday were a bit different because we didn’t have nearly as many kids to work with, but things picked back up come Wednesday.
Wednesday morning I got to go along with Ksyusha (one of the awesome people here!) to take a little boy from the baby center to go find frames for the glasses he was going to get. We went to several different shops, but finally found a pair that would be able to withstand play and hard wear and tear. We purchased the frames and the glasses would be ready to pick up later that day. Wednesday night Ksyusha, the team, and I went to the store to buy gifts for the children at the baby orphanage. We were able to purchase new toys for the center to use for all children, as well as many supplies for the children individually.
Thursday morning we went to the baby center for the last time and brought all of the presents along with us. We spent a great morning with the kids, and they were all so happy with what we were able to provide them. The most prominent memory that I have from that morning is when we gave little Dima his glasses. He looked around surprised, and then told us that “there is something cool in my eyes.”
The rest of the Thursday we spent once again at the orphanage, and later that evening went shopping once again, this time for gifts for the older kids at the orphanage.
Friday came and the team prepared for the final day with the kids. I was asked to put together a slideshow, for use by the center, of the time that the team spent with the kids these two weeks, and I am happy to say that it came together quite well! It was a whirlwind of a day, and before I knew it the evening was upon us and we were saying goodbye (see last CBU update for more details of the day!). The kids were sad to see us go, but hopefully I will get to see them again while I am here for the next month.
Saturday morning we took the team to see a wooden village museum here in Novgorod. It was a fun morning of sightseeing, and in the afternoon the girls began their debriefing, while Marina and I worked on logistics. The day became a nice relaxing day of rest (much needed) and waned quickly.
Then today dawned and we were blessed to visit the church that Marina and Ksyusha regularly attend (different from the place we are staying). Megan, Lindsey, and I were able to share worship with that church as well, and we loved getting to see the people join us in praising God. After the church service we returned to our host church and joined them once again for lunch, during which time we were able to thank the cook that had been with us for the whole time thus far.
This afternoon one of the translators from last year, Artiom, stopped by. It was awesome to see him again and catch up. He took me to visit a young boy he is teaching English. The young man’s name is Sergey, he has cerebral palsy and is an absolute joy to be around. He used as much English as he could to talk to ask about who I was, and then told me all about his favorite sport, hockey, and how excited he was that the Russia team had just become national champions.
Now I sit here and contemplate the next few days. I will be saying goodbye to the girls of the first team, and spending a week and a half staying with one of my Russian friends, Vanya. During the break between teams, I will be continuing to help prepare for the next teams, as well as help out with ministry at the churches in the area, and basically just anything I can!
So please keep me in prayer as I prepare for what comes next. And also keep the awesome CBU girls in prayer as they travel home! Thanks everybody!