Privet,

This weekend we had the opportunity to relax and explore our home here in Novgorod. On Saturday, we went to a Russian village museum where we got to see how Russians lived centuries ago. Our favorite part was a huge wooden slide that we raced down, go figure. Also, there was a craftsman who made authentic birch items: like hats, shoes, bookmarks, baskets and so much more. As we talked to him we found out his story; he is one of the last people to know the way the ancient Novgorodians would work with birch. Getting to know the Russian people and their stories is a blessing.

From there we went onto our second historical stop which was a local monastery. We explored the beautiful grounds; it was mind blowing to think that we were walking on the same ground that has such a deep connection with the history of Novgorod. The rest of the day we spent swimming in the river that runs through the city, which we enjoyed immensely due to the heat. It was a great way to spend our Saturday.

On Sunday we worked with the kids at the church and later in the day we had the opportunity to go souvenir shopping at the Kremlin (get ready for some great gifts).  The weekend was nice but we were all really eager to get back to the kids at the center. Today was the first day of the last week here in Novgorod. We all agree that we are not ready to say good-bye to the kids and we are making sure to take advantage of every moment, not taking any second for granted. Our team meeting tonight was filled with mixed emotions, all of us struggling with the realization of the limited amount of time we have left and what their lives will be like when we leave. But we know that they will forever be in our hearts and in our prayers. We look forward to all of the fun things we have planned for the rest of this week (cinema on Wednesday!). As always please keep us and the kids in your prayers as we continue in our final week.

Love from the Novgorod team, Sam and Adrienne

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Since there is no internet, or any electricity, at the camp, the update will be through the phone. 🙂

The team is doing great, getting to know the teens and the workers of the camp. It has been a blessing to be able to love the kids and teens and show them that they are very important to us.  We have gotten to know the workers a bit more, especially since we hang out with them each evening after the kids are asleep.

It has been challenging in sharing about our faith with the workers of the camp, but slowly we are able to talk about who we are and why we have come to Russia on a mission trip.  All of the workers have such a big heart for the disabled youth and we really hope that they can see God through our words and actions.

Each team member is becoming more and more comfortable with the disabled youth, as we learn the things they like and the things they don’t like to do.  Some of them can voice their dislike, others try to explain non verbally.

God has been teaching the team so much through this camp, especially through the disabled youth. They delight in the small things like reading, swimming, walking, the rain and playing in the sand. It is such joy to watch their faces light up when they like something!

The team sends their love to you family and friends and cannot wait to tell you all about their experiences! 🙂

–The Russia Team by the Gulf of Finland (written by Tatiana, director of SunErgos International)

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The past couple of days have been filled with fun adventures and awesome memories continuing to be made. Yesterday, our team began the day with a skit about “How to Cope” – one of the most serious and important topics we’ve talked about with the kids yet. It is encouraging to see them continue to react to what we’re trying to teach them, and even the smallest ones have input to give and stories to share. After making journals with the kids, we left the TB center early yesterday because of the fact that we hadn’t showered in five days! We walked to a “banya” not too far away, and were greeted with traditional Russian song and dance as the banya celebrated its grand re-opening. Feeling bold, our entire team decided to get up in front of a crowd to demonstrate our own version of Russian dancing—and were filmed by TV cameras! It was a fun way to experience more Russian culture, and funny enough, we ended up on the local news last night!

Today, though not yet over, has already been full of fun activities. Our team left an hour early this morning so we could take the kids to a children’s art gallery, but when we walked outside it began raining! So, we played some indoor games until the sun came back out, and walked to the gallery afterward. It’s always so much fun to spend time with the kids outside of the Center; it seems to make them open up even more to us, and allows us to hang out with all the kids, instead of just some. In the art gallery, we learned about the history of Novgorod through paintings, drawings, and clay sculptures. The kids all really seemed to enjoy it, and we did too! Afterward we were all treated to a boat ride along the river that winds through Novgorod. Today was such a beautiful day for it, and it’s so fun to get a different perspective on this city we’ve all come to know and love. It’s been such a great week and we’re looking forward to spending one more with the children before it’s time to say dasvidaniya!

Russia Team from Novgorod! Written by Jess.

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Here’s a little something from each team member:

Jess: Hello again friends and family! Oh, this past week has been so incredible. I began the week in kind of a slump, not sure of exactly why I’m here or what God is teaching me. I found myself discouraged and unsure about what to do or how to feel, and prayed hard that God would reveal himself to me. And that, He did! In the past three days alone, I’ve learned more about myself and how God is using me than I have yet this whole trip. Just last night, I truly realized just how much I’ve fallen in love with these kids, and found it hard to imagine leaving them in nine days. The bonds I’ve made with some of them are unforgettable and the memories will stick with me forever. My continued prayer is that, when we leave next weekend, God will continue to watch over and protect each and every single child with whom we’ve come into contact. I also pray for continued faith in His will, and knowledge that he has a reason for everything. Love and miss you all!  Jess   P.S. Happy birthday four days early Alex! I’ll say it again if I get the chance but I love you and YOU’RE FINALLY AN ADULT! 🙂

Tanisha: Privet my dearest friends and family! I miss everyone so much but I am not quite ready for this trip to be over. Every day as I learn more and more about these beautiful children, I fall deeper in love with them. They have been through so very much yet they continue to laugh and find joy. I started the trip thinking I would work with the younger children but after the first day we were at the TB Center I felt unexpectedly drawn to the older teenagers and have been working with them ever since. These teens have taught me so much about myself and my relationship with God. Their willingness to trust us with their stories and care about us without question makes me realize how much I am called by God to do the same. This entire trip has been an experience of a lifetime. I continue to pray that God just fills me up so that I can pour out even more love to these children. They deserve everything I have to give and more. I am excited for the weekend and to have more time to explore Novgorod with my team but I can’t wait until Monday and I can run into the kids arms again and hug them tight. Thank you to everyone for their continued prayers. I love you Momma, Keith and the puppies more than you know.

Alli: Hi Family and Friends! Here I am sitting in Novgorod; I sometimes still have to remind myself that I am in Russia. I love it here so much. We have been with the kids in the TB center for two weeks now. I have been working with the teenagers; we split up the guys and girls for our daily discussions. The girls have been opening up to us more and more. They have been through so much in their lives; however, they are still full of smiles and laughter. Every morning when we get to the TB center they greet us with big hugs and ready to sing and play! The weather here has been really hot, we are constantly sweating. But, the weather doesn’t stop us from playing soccer, Frisbee, and random games. This weekend is going to bring some rest, which is always very much needed. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. I love you all!  P.S. Amy and Mel- I finished Hunger Games…so good!!! Mom and Dad- I can’t wait to see you in Chelan in two weeks. Sammi- I want chipotle! And I hope the apartment is super cute! Max- I can’t wait to see you! Thanks for all the letters! 🙂

Savannah: Hello to my family and droogs! I can’t even begin to describe how amazing my trip has been so far. I am falling in love with these kids more each day. We have only known them for two weeks and I honestly feel like they have been my droogs my whole life. Every kid at the TB center is so special and I can see God working through their lives. If I have a rough night because my back hurts really bad or I am just feeling down, as soon as I get to the center everything is better, all the kids embrace us with hugs and I just feel so blessed to see their smiles every day. The weekends are actually hard for the team because we hate not seeing them for two days; we aren’t even thinking about what it will be like when we leave. God has really opened my heart and I have truly fallen in love with every single child at the TB center. He has shown me how wonderful He is and getting so close to these kids and my team has been such a blessing. I miss you all so much but I thank God every day that I am in this beautiful country! Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and supporting me through this process, I love you all! Oh also mama and dad, my back is feeling a lot better, so no need to worry anymore 🙂 Hosh and Johnny- your sis misses you both like crazy, Joshy stay out of trouble 🙂 love you

Adrienne: Hey family and friends! I miss you all so much, but it is hard to accept that we only have a week left with the kids at the TB center! I love it here so much, and although it is quite warm during the days, it is nothing we can’t handle. I can honestly say I have fallen in love with Novgorod and Russia as a whole. I can’t even really put into words how wonderful these past two weeks with them have been. I love every single one of them, and I literally can’t wait to see each of them every morning and be greeted by their hugs and smiles. It is so encouraging to see that despite all of the difficulties these children and teens have faced in their lives, they are willing to open up to us and love us regardless of the amount of time we have known them. Each day the teens are opening up more and more, and even though I am mostly working with the little kids, I still have been able to hang out with the older kids, which has been so great. God has been teaching me so much on this trip, and working in my life in ways I did not expect. I am excited to share it with you all when I return. Although there have been struggles and difficulties along the way, God is bigger and has allowed the struggles to bring us closer to Him both individually and as a team. I love you all so much, and I hope all is well. Mom, Dad, and Blair: I miss and love you all, and want you all to know I am doing well! Get ready for some crazy stories and pictures. 🙂

Samantha: Hi family and friends! We have already been here in Novgorod for two weeks. I feel like I have been here forever and yet the time has flown. These kids have completely stolen my heart, I think of them constantly with their smiling faces and laughter. This is the best experience of my life and I really can’t imagine going home right now. But even though I know this experience must come to an end I will keep every memory in my mind (and my journal). Your prayers are so appreciated; I can see God working in many of the kids. I shared part of my story yesterday and I was so nervous but God spoke through me and I think was able to affect some of the kids at the center.  I have been able to spend more time with the older kids lately and it is so fulfilling seeing them open up and smile and spend time with us. I have never been happier. Ma and Holly- I want you to know that I am so happy and safe; no worrying about me! I am excited to share stories and pictures and I know you can’t wait to hear and see them. HP is waiting for us when I get back! I love you and hope you are doing well too!

Tim: What’s up family and friends?! Novgorod, Russia has been good and is still good! Every day has been a blessing. Just playing with the kids and seeing their smiles every day just makes me really happy. The past couple of days have been good. Two days ago, we went to a Russian banya to take a shower, and to our surprise it is celebrating its grand reopening. There were a few local TV stations filming and we were filmed dancing and being goofy. I was also interviewed and it was a little bit intimidating. Who would have thought my debut on Television would be in Russia?! And today, we went to a Children’s museum and rode a boat. The relationship of the kids and the team are coming along great. A lot of the teens who were closed off for the first week were open to us and we were sharing laughs on the boat. It has been great and I am hoping that this last week is going to be even better than the past two weeks. It is going to be bittersweet, but it will be great. Mom and Tiff—I’m safe and happy here. There have been no problems at all. The food has been good. I’ll be home soon enough. Love you guys.

Aryn: Hi to all my family and friends!  This whole experience has been a whirlwind of emotions.  I have learned so much about myself, and most importantly about God.  He has been evident all throughout this trip and I can’t wait to bring everything I am learning back to the states and share it with everyone.  Every day as we make our way to the center I just pray that God will open the kids’ hearts so that we will be able to communicate the love we have that stems from God.  So far God has been answering those prayers.  The relationships that we are building are only growing every day.  I feel so fortunate to have heard the stories of some of the teenagers, especially the girls.  These girls are so strong and for all of us to open up to one another has been an amazing thing to witness.  My favorite moment thus far in the trip was when two of the girls and I just walked around the building at the center with an English to Russian dictionary struggling our way through a conversation.  I cannot put into words how we were able to just be around each other. Even when there were no words being spoken, we just smiled and knew we accepted each other just the way we were.  It is hard to believe that we only have a week left, but if you all can be praying for these kids even more, especially for the love to be communicated, would be a blessing!  Thank you all for the support! (PS. Dad I am glad your surgery went well.  I love and miss you guys and hope everything is going well! Xoxoxo)

Oh goodness! We can’t begin to comprehend that we’ve been at the TB Center for a week and a half already. Each day brings more and more joy to us all. These beautiful children have completely stolen our hearts. We fall in love with them more and more each day.

On Monday, we had an excursion with the kids outside of the TB Center. We toured two museums that showed us some of the history of Novgorod through Art.  Afterwards, we walked to a park. On our way we passed a little amusement park with carnival like rides. The kids stared and pointed the whole time. We had no idea but Zinaida, the woman who oversees all the activities for the kids, planned for us to go on rides with kids. To see the excitement on the children’s faces when they found out that we would actually be going on roller coasters and other spinney rides was like seeing the kids finding out we were going to Disneyland. Seeing their smiles and hearing their shouts of enthusiasm just reminded us all to appreciate the little things.

These wonderful children have taught us how to love with even a greater capacity than we thought possible.

From Novgorod, Russia with love.

-Nish-Nish (Tanisha)

P.S. Pictures will come tomorrow. 🙂

Dear family and friends!

We are now camping off the Gulf of Finland at the beautiful campsite that sits just a few steps from the beach. We love it here.

We arrived two days ago after a two hour drive through the country side of Russia. After setting up our things in our tents we each got paired up with a disabled youth and a trained staff member, who we are working with as their assistant.

So far it’s been great! The teens, some of them in wheelchairs, have been enjoying the camping experience as much as we have. We’ve been eating delicious Russian food cooked over the campfire, going on long walks with our teams through the woods and along the beach (which the wheelchairs do surprisingly well in) and then either doing crafts with the teens or taking them swimming. Swimming so far seems to be everyone’s favorite activity; the water is warm and crystal clear.

Although challenging at times, we have all been partnered up nicely with a disabled youth and are getting to know them personally and are happy that we can help them explore and enjoy the great outdoors. SunErgos International partners with the organization we are working with; which is a non-profit that helps families who struggle to support their disabled youth by taking the children, who would otherwise be struck at home, out and to a classroom setting where they can play and simultaneously learn important life skills. Although Russia is working on making changes, many of these families receive no support and since handicap accessibility is rare, mentally and physically disabled people struggle to live a normal life and most are force to stay home and never leave the apartment. Which is why the non-profit and its volunteers is such a wonderful organization, as it gives the teens a chance to experience life as well as allowing the families a bit of a break now and then.

The summer camp is a great way for these teens to leave the city and explore more of the world. We understood how meaningful it was to them the first day we took them swimming! Everyone was splashing, smiling and having the time of their life!

As a group this has been a wonderful bonding experience and we have been enjoying getting to know the people we are working with. Our Russian is improving a lot too!

We will be out here for another week before heading back to St Petersburg for our final few days. Rest assured that we are all safe, healthy and happy. We hope you are all doing well and we love you.

Dosvedanya, the Russia team!

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Here’s a little greeting from each team member:

Deanna: I cannot describe how happy I have been since arriving at camp! The teenager I get to spend time with has the most contagious love for life. Even the small cold I have cannot keep me down.

Vanessa: Preevyet Mom, Dad, David and friends! It is day two at the disabled teens’ camp and it has been GREAT! I feel much more comfortable and helpful here. The camp is gorgeous and I’m slowly learning more and more Russian, this is definitely challenging, but I’m loving it! Love you always!

Emily: Privyet friends and family! I’m having the most fun yet camping on the Gulf of Finland. I am working with a 20 year old girl named Patya. She is sweet. Her mother is the cook at the camp. I have also been on duty with means I have spent a day cooking and cleaning and helping out. It’s been so fun. And we get to swim daily and play volleyball and ultimate Frisbee. And God is teaching me so much here through the challenges and the joys. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you. Love you all!

Jessica: Привет Family & Friends! We have left city life and gone to full camping mode. God’s handiwork at the Gulf of Finland is so breathtaking. While here I have the opportunity to work with one beautiful little girl who has down syndrome. God is stretching all of us, but it really is such a great experience that I cannot thank Him enough for! Love you guys!

Natalya: Preevyet. I am sitting here at the Gulf of Finland enjoying the pure beauty of God’s creation. This week has been a challenge as I learn how to love this group of disabled teens but it is such a blessing. God is teaching me the power of His healing love and the ultimate strength He provides. Thank you for your prayers. Love, Natalya.

Rachel: Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know that I’m doing well. Got a stuffy nose but other than that am having a great time. I’ve actually been swimming in the Gulf of Finland, which is big for me. I feel like I’m learning a lot and can’t wait to share when I get back. I love you guys.

Elizabeth: hello from the Gulf of Finland! It is absolutely beautiful here! I’ve already got a nice tan. Camp live is tough, but this is such a great adventure. I am working with a little boy named Dyoma who has cerebral palsy. Looking forward to seeing you all in 12 days.

Shannon: Hello from the Russian wilderness! Camp has been very challenging for me, the first day especially, but I am doing so well now. We are right on the water so I get to go swimming every day. So you know how happy I must be! Love you all and can’t wait to share all my stories!

Greetings from the Novgorod team! Here’s a little update from each team member!

Adrienne: Hello from Novgorod family and friends!!  Today was day 4 of our VBS with the kids, and I can’t fully express my love for each and every one of them. Their energy and joy is contagious, and I can’t get enough of their hugs. I could seriously go on for days about each of them. Not only are the kids wonderful, but this place is amazing as well. It already feels like home even though we’ve only been in Novgorod for a week (not to mention the food is absolutely delicious). I can’t wait to share the stories, memories, and pictures when I get back with all of you. I miss you all lots, and send tons of love from Russia!!   Love, Adrienne.  P.S.- Happy Birthday Blair!!! Wish I could celebrate with you, but I hope you are having an amazing day, and I send lots of love and best wishes!! Hope you went and saw Harry Potter with mom (just kidding of course).

Tim: Hi friends and family! Greetings from Novgorod. Today was day 4 of our VBS at the T.B. Center. It has been great spending time with the kids, playing with them and just seeing their smiles. Its only day four and they are already wanting us to stay there overnight. Our translator Artyom and Marina told us that before, the kids did not do that until the last day. That meant a lot to me and my team. And just thinking that we still have two weeks to spend with them is a dream! Can’t wait to get back and share amazing stories!

Alli:  Hi Family and Friends!!!  We have now been in Russia for 11 days and I love it! We started working with the kids in the TB center on Tuesday. There are about 50 children and they are all full of love and energy. We start every day with a song and a skit, then we do a craft with them. They are so grateful for everything we do with them; from making bracelets to playing games and coloring with chalk. Most of the children go home on the weekends, so tomorrow we are going into the city (Novgorod) and to the banya (it’s like a Russian sauna.)  Then on Sunday we are doing the children ministry in the church we are staying in. Before coming to Russia we were a little bit skeptical about the food here, but I have loved everything we have eaten. We eat the best food and drink tea at least once a day! I hope everything is great back home! I love you and miss you all!  Love, Alli   (PS Sammi and Marla…have fun moving into the apartment! J)

CaBaHa (Savannah): To my family and droogs!  Oh how I miss you guys so much! But let me tell you…I have fallen in love with the children of Russia. We have been at the TB center for four days now and I feel like I have known these kids for years and years. They are the sweetest children in the world. It hurts me to not know all of their stories and know that they come from broken homes, but we have just been loving on them and trying to make them feel special. The little boys are crazy but I get along with them so well and I have been playing soccer and volleyball every day. Every single one of them melts my heart and I cannot wait to see them again Monday. I have not had a bad day here, and I can just feel God’s presence at the center. This trip has really been a blessing. I miss you guys so much but I am loving life. Love you all!

Jess:  Hello to my lovely family and friends! 🙂  Today marks the end of our first week working with the children in the TB center in Novgorod, and I am completely in love with them. They are all so vibrant and full of life, despite the broken families and lives they’ve come from. My favorite times spent with them have been simply jump roping, making bracelets, and picking flowers. They seem to love our presence there too—after the first day they were literally blocking the gate so we couldn’t leave! Even though it’s sometimes difficult to communicate with them because of the language barrier, I feel like God is still allowing us to get through to them and share His light. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this trip holds for me, my team, and these incredible children. Thank you for the continued prayer and support, I love you all very much!  Love, Jess.   P.S. Mom, Dad and Alex I love and miss you all! I hope you’re having a great month and I’ll email soon!

Aryn:  Hi Friends and Family!!!  I miss you all lots and I appreciate all the prayers and support, but the work that we are doing here is really something amazing.  We finished our first week at the TB center and seeing the relationships that are being built are AMAZING! The kids haven’t opened up a lot about their lives, but seeing their smiles is enough.  We fill the days with crafts, games, and lots of running around.  At first there were some teenage boys that would just distance themselves from us, but now they are starting to play futbol (soccer) and Frisbee with us, and we have only been around them for four days.  God is at work here and witnessing His work is one of the most beautiful things I have seen.  The team cannot wait till Monday, so we might surprise the kids on Sunday!! I wish you could all meet these kids and see how special they truly are, words cannot describe how wonderful they are.  I cannot thank you enough for all the prayers and support.  Much love coming from Novgorod, Aryn.   P.S. Grandpa I am so happy to hear that you made it to the reunion!  Dad, Mom, and Jordo you mean the world to me and hopefully we will get to do one of these trips together! LOVE YOU!

Таниша (Tanisha):  Hello friends and family!  How I miss all of you so very much! It is hard to imagine that I’ve been in Russia for only 11 days. This beautiful place has started to feel like home. Today marked our official week in Novgorod, with 4 days at the TB Center. I can’t believe how many months my team and I have thought and prayed about this place. Our time with these children has more than I could have ever imagined. They are just all so special. There is such a light in them. They have so much love to give. The moment we had entered the TB center, they grabbed our hands and hugged us all. Every time I hug them, I don’t want to let them go. I have fallen in love with each of them.  I pray every day that these children know how much we all care for them. The language barrier can be hard at times, but we have two incredible translators who help us. My Russian is definitely improving. Thank you so much for all the support, the donations, the well wishes and prayers. Know that I would not have been able to be here without all of your help.  From Russia with love, Таниша (Tanisha)  P.S. I love and miss you so much momma!

Саманта (Samantha):  Hello Family and Friends!  This has been the most amazing four days of my life. It seems like we have been here for so much longer. After day one I had already fallen in love with each one of them. They are so affectionate and show us all so much love; it is so hard to say good-bye each day. Everyone on the team is so amazing with the kids and when we aren’t at the center we still have so much fun. I can feel God working in my life and using situations everyday to bring me closer to him. Keep praying for me and the hearts of the kids at the TB Center.       —- Ma and Holly: I miss you guys and wish you could be here to see and experience what I am. Don’t worry I’m trying to remember everything because I know you’re going to want a detailed play by play. I sent you a postcard but it probably won’t get there until after I get back, but know its comin’. And don’t worry Pamogitia (ok, that was a bad translation) is HELP. Holl, Its HP day. This is a big day for us. Again, if you see it I will not be offended. Love,  #1 offspring.

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Dear Family, Friends and Loved Ones,

Time for our weekly update and we couldn’t be more excited to share about our experiences at the Baby HIV Orphanage. We apologize that we have been quiet for a few days, but fortunately our time has been well spent and we have so much to share!

While Monday was a little shaky with us being introduced to the children for the first time, Tuesday we established what would be our weekly routine. We have been lucky to have an apartment opened up to us for us to stay in and have been treated to some of the BEST Russian home-cooked meals, thanks to the generous spirit of Alexandra who has agreed to come cook for us. We would all be fat and happy if it wasn’t for chasing kids and burning it all off after each day 😉

Tuesday morning, and each day afterwards, the children became more familiar with us and each morning they would rush to meet us. I think it is safe to say that we have all been blown away by how amazing these children are. While facing so many challenges, these children have an amazing capacity to love and each one of them willingly opened their hearts and were generous to share their smiles and laughter. These children have a rough life; they don’t have a family and are very sick. But God has been generous and has provided them with an amazing facility that does the best to accommodate for their unique needs and they daily receive medicine and therapy to help them stay healthy. While stretched thin, the staff there is very compassionate and loving towards the children – which is unique for a place such as this. We are all impressed with how polite and well-mannered the children are, they are happy and it is hard sometimes to remember that they are sick with the smiles on their faces.

For most of our week we have been outside, running around with them. Bubbles were a HUGE hit as was sidewalk chalk. The language barrier was an issue at times, but fortunately for us, our actions were more important to the children than words so we could get around that communication difference, and having two amazing translators helped. We have picked up some more Russian. Thanks to the children we now know that a dog says “Gawf gawf” and a horse says “E-go-go”, that toy buckets and shovels are popular on the playground and that we have to say “Paka!” to the cars passing by. Over the course of the week we have all had amazing experiences, we have all been writing daily in our journals so we can share them all when we return, but here is a small glimpse of what we’ve each individually been doing:

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– Vanessa learned that she is a natural with newborns and quickly became the favorite to push them around in strollers.

-Shannon bonded tightly with a rosy cheeked little 3-year-old girl who cried each time she left.

– Natalya spent a lot of time smelling flowers in the garden beds with a shy 4-year-old girl who had a preference for her and thought she was the coolest ever.

– Elizabeth was well exercised running around with a very robust and energetic 4-year-old girl who taught her a lot of new Russian words.

-Rachel built up some muscles tossing a trio of 3-year-old boys up into the air a million times after catching them on the slide.

-Jessica was attached to the hip to an 18-month-old girl who, while very stand-offish at first, quickly warmed up to her and Jessica was one of the few who could make her giggle and laugh.

-Emily has been sketching individual drawings of each of the children in-between being one of the favorite swing pushers (mainly because she would serenade them in the process).

-Deanna was well adored by a 2-year-old boy who made her a gift out of twigs and leaves as a going away present after spending a week building things with her.

There is so much more that we can say, but then this little post wouldn’t be so little. So we just want to let you all know that we are doing very well, we are all still healthy, we’re getting along well (almost TOO well sometimes, hehe) and are now packing for our next ministry: camping by the Gulf of Finland with about two dozen special needs teenagers. We love you all very much and have cherished hearing the comments you have been leaving. Dosvedanya from Russia with big hugs!

Love,

“Emmie” (Emily), “Zhenya “(Shannon), “Raya” (Rachel), “Natasha” (Natalya), “Zhana” (Jessica), “Dinka” (Deanna), “Liza” (Elizabeth) and “Vanya” (Vanessa)  ….(as termed by our Russian cook J )