This afternoon I just returned from KCA's annual Fall Retreat, held in the village of Vorzel, just outside of Kyiv. The entire student body (middle and high school students) looks forward to this time of strengthening friendships, enjoying a bonfire, times of worship, and traditions like singing "The Happy Song" on Saturday night.
I enjoyed helping with some games (like Ninja tag!), interacting with the students outside of the classroom, seeing them interact with their friends, spending time with the other teachers, and even seeing the oldest students interacting with the youngest students. Many of the seniors had leadership roles, primarily for the group games and discussion groups.
The theme for the weekend was "Growing in Grace," and Mr. McDonnel (father of one of my students) described grace as God's active, loving, presence. The students were also definitely showing God's grace to each other in their group activities and other interactions. Three of our students were not able to come, and we hope and pray that they will not feel drastically "out of the loop" when it comes to the memories/bonds made this weekend.
*When you buy groceries at the store, the clerk will ask you if you want any bags--if you do, you have to pay a few kopecks for them. My roommate and I try to remember our own bags or simply cram what we buy into our school bags.
*Since I don't have a car here, I take public transport or travel пешком (peshkom--by foot) to get anywhere I need to go. After a 15 minute walk, I can be at the metro/bus station, where I can catch a bus that will drop me off at the front of KCA. It's quite convenient, but not so fun in the rain or when you are carrying a heavy bag.
*My students with their diverse learning, emotional, and spiritual needs. Many of them have parents traveling at any given moment (whether to/from the States or within Eastern Europe), and some who have been adopted have additional emotional needs
*Traveling safety for others within the Nazarene team--the Skinners and Robyn A. are currently in the States, and Josh A. is in Kosovo.
*Finances--Already God has provided (through you) about 70% of my needed support for the year. Please pray that God would continue to provide. If you would like to contribute online, please visit web.nazarene.org/goto/ukrainejh.
Praise God for:
*No major injuries this weekend at Fall Retreat
*Students' mingling with each other and drawing closer as a community
Next update: "A Day in the Life"