After a long but exciting first week with the children at the center, it was break time. Sunday we had the wonderful opportunity to tour the Kremlin, and hit the mall, due to some curious ladies, and some men on the team as well. Majority of us were shocked to find that by the end of the weekend, we were almost as exhausted as when it started on Friday night, but we were more then prepared for the upcoming week filled with outings, lessons, crafts, skits, and the closing ceremonies.
Monday was the start of our second week here with the kids at the TB Center. It was an exciting start to the week, upon arrival that brisk Monday morning, lesson and crafts at the ready, to our surprise it was the amusement park outing. It was such a joy to see the excitement on the kids faces as we entered the park. Even though this was no Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Disneyland, the smiles on their faces (and ours as well), were ear to ear. For some of the children it was their first time to ever experience the joy and laughter of an amusement park. Time flew by as we went on different rides, taking turns riding with the children. Everywhere you looked, you could see smiles on all the kids and our team’s faces. It was truly a beautiful sight. After a long day at the amusement park we went back to the center, where we split into groups. The older ones went with Joey, Melanie, and David to talk about peer pressure, where they acted out negative and positive peer pressure without using words. While the younger ones went outside to learn about the birth of Jesus. The kids reenacted the journey of the wise men, following Vasili to find the star where baby Jesus laid in mother Mary’s (played by Kasey) arms. The kids seemed to really enjoy playing follow the leader searching for the star.
Tuesday we began the day with a skit about obedience, paralleling our Olympic team with the work of Jesus’ disciples. In the skit we obeyed our coach (Dale), where he led us to victory, explaining to the kids that when we obey God, he will lead us in the right direction. After our skit we split into groups where the younger ones learned about Jesus’ disciples and how they became fisher’s of men. For their activity they decorated their own fish, and made fishing poles. Laughter filled the room as they played with their new fishing poles taking turns catching each other’s fish. While we were upstairs “fishing”, Joey, Melanie and David were downstairs sharing testimonies with the older ones, resulting in a heartfelt conversation full of tears and laughter. It is such a blessing to see these older ones open up to these three in so little time. We ended the day with an eventful night at the circus, where we watched an assortment of animals perform tricks for the applauding crowd. While watching the bears spin around, a storm had approached, causing us to all leave the circus early. The children were so calm as we carried them through what seemed like a never ending flood of water. We made it back to the center soaked but all safe and sound.
It saddens us to know that we only have three more days with these bundles of joy, but we are doing our best to make the most out of the time we have left with them. This trip has truly been such a blessing to us all. Thank you for the continuous prayers, they mean the world to us. We ask you to please lift up a special prayer for one of our little ones at the center, he is going through a rough time right now and prayers would be greatly appreciated. We love you and miss you all immensely, and cannot wait to share our memories with everyone.
-Vanguard Team, written by Kasey and Chelsea