Archive for May, 2011

Well another week has gone by so quickly and our team has had a wonderful time with the orphans at camp. We have had opportunities to share about God, heaven, and the love of Jesus in many personal ways. Kayla and Brooke led the lesson on listening and talked about Noah. The children were able to make an ark and had lots of fun with animals. Beth and Analeisha led the lesson on obedience and Tawni and Hannah led the lesson about faith and forgiveness. Other lessons included joy and love and the whole team worked together each day to ensure things went smoothly for the teen group and the younger kids too. We also learned a lot about flexibility/shifting/changing and of course, yielding.

Kayla, Hannah, and Freizel were able to talk to one of the girls about Jesus. Brooke is an awesome director for the skits we did every day and Katrina was very helpful to keep us all organized. Lauren was always available with willing hands to help wherever she was needed. Joelle is also amazingly organized and told the children and teens about the love of Jesus and the joy of heaven in a wonderful way. Today we had closing ceremonies with a fun carnival; ballooning, face painting, and games kept the whole group busy. We have been blessed by the children and many tears were shed on both sides today. We look forward to spending more time together in the next few days as we pray, sing, and spend time in the Word.

Please continue to pray for the work being done here and our fieldworker. Also pray for the team; health, renewed energy, and rest.

Hannah and Rebecca

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

So today was our last day with the kids and teens from the orphanage. It’s hard to pinpoint exact feelings but all we can say is that it has been an amazing experience. Over these past few weeks, we have grown closer as a team, as well as with the kids we have been working with. From playing games with the young ones and teaching them valuable lessons, to having in-depth discussions with the teens about grace and the meaning of life.

As we had our final lesson with the kids and continued in discussion with the teens, it was evident that God had done and is doing something in all of our lives. One of the kids told us that they have learned how to be kind to others because of how evident our kindness and love was to them. Even the teens, who at first were very opposed to us being there opened up completely to us and asked to exchange emails so as to keep in touch when we get back home. One of them said goodbye with these words: “We’ve had people come to us before and all they did was try to force their faith on us without even getting to know us, however, you all came and actually cared about us as people, listened to our stories and we appreciated that.” With all of this, God opened doors that only He could and we were able to share the gospel to kids and teens in an orphanage that at first prohibited us to do so.

Although we were sad to leave everyone and everything, it was a day full of hugs and smiles. The kids were so appreciative of everything. They sang and performed songs for us as we had tea and desserts with them. We took pictures galore. As we left the building and turned the corner, the kids all ran to us to say goodbye once more. It was hard to let them go but we know that God accomplished His will and what He had planned for us all. Keep this orphanage, the kids and teens, in your prayers and that God would continue to open doors for SunErgos and for teams to come.  We are excited to return home and share with you all, in more depth, all that God has done in Russia.

-Russia A Team (written by Danny)

Read Full Post »

       The Lord has been blessing our team in amazing ways.  Not only are we sharing our faith and the truth with the teens but we can also see a marked difference in the actions and reactions of the children.  It is obvious to us all that our team was put together for a reason because we work so well together.

The group working with the little kids, Theo, Matt, Lauren and Sarah have been making amazing progress in changing the attitudes of the smaller children. After putting on a Good Samaritan type of skit the kids were asked what they thought about being kind to each other and they were challenged to do something kind for the staff of the orphanage.  The next day, when asked what they had done none of them had anything to say.  They were asked why they hadn’t done anything kind and a boy replied with, “I don’t know how to be kind, no-one has ever been kind to me.”  That statement stopped the team in their tracks.  The concept of not understanding kindness had never occurred to them.  It really just shows how lost these children are and we ask that you will continue to lift them up in your prayers, that God helps them to find value and truth in what we’re sharing with them.

With the teens?  Wow. God has opened to door so wide it’s impossible not to stumble through it with the Gospel.  Chris, Danny, Bekah and Jackie have been accepted into their group so intimately that yesterday they attended a Russian HS graduation for one of the girls.  She had no family attending and when she saw them there the joy was evident in her face.  On Monday, while walking by the river and doing their best to work faith and God into a conversation, one of the teens blatantly asked if they were Orthodox or Protestant and that led to an hour and a half conversation.  It is a beautiful thing when God takes control.  The teens are open to sharing and talking and the team hopes to be planting seeds.

Thank you for praying for us.  We need it.  Pray for team unity as we finish our trip.  Pray that God will guide us and that we will continually seek His glory.  See you in a week!

Read Full Post »

Hello!

Our second week has started with time to re-charge and learn more about the culture. We went to church on Sunday and heard the message in Russian and English and had the opportunity to sing familiar worship songs in Russian. It was amazing to hear everyone’s voices blending and lifted up in praise.

We continue to have fun with the children through funny skits, stories, and crafts. The team has done a great job of planning and taking ownership of each day while remaining adaptable to any changes that occur. Each team member leads two camp days and the rest of the team helps with each activity.

Those who are working with the younger children; Kayla, Brooke, Katrina, Analeisha, Joelle, and Hannah continue to share high energy and enthusiasm with them. Brooke and Joelle have already led two camp days and did a great job of organizing them. Kayla and Analeisha have also led camp days and they were big hits with the children. Hannah is great at coming up with the funny skits and new activities. Some of the day camp themes we have talked about are friendship, loyalty, trust, kindness, and listening.

Those who are working with the teens; Beth, Lauren, Friezel, Tawni, and Rebecca have been able to connect on a personal level with them. Beth has been able to share good stories with some of the boys and Lauren was able to encourage one of the girls through her personal story. Friezel has also shared laughter and stories with the teens. Some of the other day camp themes the team has shared are obedience, faith, joy, and love.

We continue to begin and end our days with prayer, devotions, and debriefing. We have been very blessed by your prayers and support. Please pray for our team in the following ways: continued unity, frequent flexibility, and renewed energy for each day. We are also very blessed by our amazing fieldworker and would ask that you pray for her as well.

Thank you,

Hannah and Rebecca

Read Full Post »

Hello all!

We have finished a full week of our time in Russia and have already been blessed by all the opportunities we have had. Every morning we take time to prepare and pray for the day ahead through personal and team devotionals.

Monday began our first day of our time with the children at the local transit center. As our team entered the center, we were blessed to see the wonderful facilities we would be working in for the rest of the week. The walls were painted with bright colors and the classrooms were full of supplies and art the children had made and we were blessed to be served wonderful food made by the workers in the center’s cafeteria. We entered with joy and we left on Monday with overflowing, and full, hearts.

We split up the team for some to the work with the teens; Tawni, Freizel, Rebecca, Lauren and Beth, and for the others to work with the younger children; Joelle, Katrina, Analeisha, Brooke, Kayla, and Hannah. Each day begins with a funny skit and then a couple of songs with all the kids in attendance. The groups then split into the younger children’s and teens groups. The children’s group proceeds with games in the auditorium and a story about positive character traits. The group participates in a fun craft tying in what they have learned during the story.

Then its play time, and off to the gym we go to play with Frisbees, balls, and other gym equipment. The children then have a small snack before returning to participate in another craft. This last craft has given many of the members of the team opportunities to discover the stories behind some of the children’s past. Although it has been difficult to hear some of the stories of the young children, we know there is still so much we can share about hope and love. We look forward to more opportunities to share Christ’s love with the children over the next week that remains.

The teen’s group starts with a similar format including a story with a discussion that follows about the key themes and ways to apply the information. They also have a craft to complete and it is during this time that the team is able to interact on a personal level with them. Sometimes it is just a matter of sitting alongside them and working on the craft, other times it is listening while they share their stories, and other times it is playing games together.  Some of the team members have been able to talk about their faith with the teens.

Our day at the transit center is complete when the staff feeds us a wonderfully satisfying meal with lots of veggies, meat, and rice. Everyone leaves each day with a happy heart and a full tummy. The team has learned so much about the beautiful culture and is growing a heart for the people.

We have wonderful devotional time each evening and have the following prayer requests: please pray for team unity, intentional conversations with the young children and teens, and continued health.

Rebecca and Hannah

Read Full Post »

Greetings from Novgorod

We are having a blast here in this beautiful town; it is Thursday night at 11:30. We had a fun filled day; we got up and did our usual routine of breakfast, worship, and devotions. After that, we split into our two different groups and made a plan for the day. We were blessed with sunny weather, and got to meet some of the orphans at a sidewalk chalk competition at an IRS office here in town. As we walked up, the group of young orphans ran up to us with open arms and bright smiles. After a fun filled time of drawing Russian cartoons, and a few American superheroes we went to a small kids carnival located in a nearby park and let the kids ride a few rides. It was all laughs and giggles as the kids tried to teach us any words that we can learn as we walk down the streets.

As we walked back towards the orphanage, we stopped at a big grass field that was on the river, we got to play freeze tag, and a few other games that we have not been able to play inside due to the rainy, cold weather. We are planning on spending the morning with kids that are from the ages of 3-5 and then get to head back to the main orphanage and spend the afternoon with the older kids. Please continue to pray for health and open ears of the kids to what we get to teach them, as we build deeper, more meaningful relationships here during our time.

Blessings from Russia A (written by Matt)

Read Full Post »

We just finished Day 2 with the kids at the orphanage. We are all absolutely loving our interaction with the kids. Today not only did we get to go back to the orphanage that we were at yesterday we also got to go and hang out at a sister orphanage not far from where we are currently serving. This orphanage had kids ranging from ages 4-9. We mostly hung out and played a ton of games with them. We got to go to the playground in the back of their orphanage for about an hour and run around and have fun. Sarah and Theodora both were able to connect really well with the kids. They were running around constantly up and down the swing set and around the playground.

After we visited that orphanage some of us took a bus and others went in a car to the main orphanage. We thought that we were only going to be able to spend time with the younger kids today but to our surprise at the beginning only the teenagers were there. So the entire team was able to spend 30 minutes getting to know the teenagers until the younger kids arrived. We then split into two groups; Sarah, Theodora, Lauren, and Matt went with the younger kids and Chris, Danny, Jackie, and Bekah stayed with the teenagers. Today was a great day for both of the groups. The group that stayed with the teens was able to break the ice with them and start to be open and just have fun. We taught them how to play Uno and ended up playing the entire time we were with them, we also brought an iHome and were able to show them some “American” music. They knew Rihanna and Justin Bieber (Russians have Bieber Fever too :).  Danny showed off his muscles and arm wrestled with one of the girls (we’ll let him tell you the outcome…), Chris got to play chess with one of the guys, Bekah tried to rap for them, and Jackie was able to have fun with them, even through the language barrier, by being her outgoing and goofy self.

The group that was with the younger kids was able to continue in making fun crafts and make fish out of paper plates and decorate them with feathers, googly eyes and tons of glitter! Many of the children we have met in Russia are very creative and crafts have been a great way to get them involved in what we are teaching. After craft time, we played a lot of games including musical chairs, a color learning game and Ootka, Ootka, Goos (or Duck, Duck, Goose). Matt has been a great and fun example for the kids and Lauren was able to play with the really shy, young kids in our group. It was a lot of fun and the children are really starting to open up to us more and more. The joy is already evident on their faces when we tell them we’ll be back the next day.

As some of you know, when we started our ministry we were unable to share about our faith and we were asked to only teach the children and teens to live good lives.  However, today we found out that we have permission by the director of the orphanage to talk about God and religion.  Praise Him! Pray that in the next few days we would be able to have intentional conversations and not just do what is comfortable. Pray for our energy level as we are now working with three different sets of children, requiring two to three sets of daily plans and a LOT of endurance.  The language barrier is also a bit of a challenge but please lift up our actions and non-verbal communication.  We need these kids and especially the teens to know that we care about them before we can impact them on the level we’d like to.

We can’t wait to tell you more stories about what God is doing in Novgorod and how He is using SunErgos International, but for now we are enjoying authentic Russian soda and ice cream. 🙂

Russia A Team.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »