Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 2010 Update

Dear friends, family, and supporters,

Hello from Kyiv, where the leaves have changed colors and are falling off the trees!  Most of the fall leaves here are golden, with some red leaves here and there.

KCA:  Babysitting Weekend 
Last weekend I was at the home of one of our families from school.  The parents and 2 of the kids drove to Poland (vehicle registration issues), and I stayed with the other 3 kids.  I took the boys (ages 7 and 11) to an outdoor dinosaur exhibit, then to climb on the tanks by the WWII memorial.  On Sunday, we went to International Christian Assembly, which has an English service and has many ex-pats.  It wasn't until I left school on Monday night to ride the bus home that I realized, "Oh, right, I'm in Ukraine," and felt like I'd spent all weekend in an English-speaking bubble.

I told John and Andre to look terrified, because of the dinosaur behind them.
Church Ministry:  Teaching English at Obolon
Each time I teach English, Svetlana (Zakhar’s mom) helps me with the lesson/kids, translating as needed.  She’s also interested in learning/practicing English, maybe even more so than the kids!  This weekend I am meeting her for tea, so that I can get to know her better, and let her practice English if she wants.

Below is a photo of the kids in my group from the last time I taught English.
Zakhar, Oksana, Dima, me, Vanya, Vika, and Nastia
One:  One Sunday at church, we had our Harvest celebration during and after the morning service.  I was showing my roommate the view from the balcony, and a little girl stepped outside.  I asked her what her name was and her age, and she told me, "Katya--I'm 6 and a half and in FIRST grade!"  When I told her my name and my roommate's name, she replied, "Oh, English people?"  She excitedly started telling me something -- that I didn't understand until she used the words "dance" and "princess."  I repeated, "You're the princess?"  "No, YULIA'S the princess!"  she corrected me.  That afternoon it was fun to play with her, even though I barely speak her language (Zee and Colleen helped a bunch).

Trying hard to understand Katya -- or maybe I was already lost at this point!
Two:  A few weekends ago, we had the junior and senior girls for a sleepover at our house.  The 2 juniors, 8 (of 9) seniors, and 1 "gap year" gal (plus another KCA teacher) all came after youth group and took over our living room.  We played games, ate snacks, watched movies (until close to 3:30am!), and laughed together.  Most of these students are or have been in my classes, and I enjoyed having them over and sharing our house with them.

KCA 2010 Fall Retreat (Middle/High School)
Culture Tidbits:
*When the girls stayed overnight, they all took public transport to and from our house (though they might have gotten a ride closer to their homes).  These students are savvy about getting around the city, yet most do not have a driver's license.  Such is life for these Third Culture Kids.

*Light switches are located anywhere and everywhere on the wall.  At home, our light switches are about waist-high.  My bedroom light switch is on your RIGHT as you walk inside.  My roommate's switch is on the LEFT.  The bathroom in that part of the house has a light switch OUTSIDE the door on the left, and the other bathroom has a switch on the INSIDE on the right.  Also, when we enter our house, we have to walk through our kitchen in order to turn on the light, and it is randomly in the middle of a wall!  Most of the light switches at school (as well as in my old apartment) are at eye level, if not higher.  In my classroom, the light switches are on the left of the door as you enter.  It's so confusing to keep track of where the switches are, and even more so when I return to the States and everything is generally consistent (at least in regards to height)!

*Technology like Skype that allows me to video chat with friends and family around the world, as well as to help a student with her math homework.
*Provision of help in teaching English – my roommate needs a translator 90% of the time, whereas I can switch back and forth as needed.  We have 2 Ukrainians helping us (she has Masha from First Church, and I have Svetlana).
*A great Fall Retreat for KCA's MS/HS students, where they heard God's Word (many also memorized verses from 1 Peter!) and were able to discuss what they were learning with their peers and teachers.  Besides this, we all enjoyed a bonfire, playing games, worshipping together, and of course getting to know each other better!

Prayer Requests:
*Masha’s (my language tutor at school) uncle has been diagnosed with cancer.  Pray for him and the family, including Masha.  Her uncle is not (yet) a believer.
*My decision for the 2011-2012 school year must be made before Christmas break.  Pray for God’s guidance and discernment in this.
*English language youth group on 11/14 -- Sergei Dziba asked if I would coordinate this, and my idea is to include as many of the local youth as possible, encouraging leadership and involvement on their part.  Pray for this event/outreach (that Sergei would like to happen once every couple of months).

Upcoming Dates:
November 7:  Teaching English @ Obolon
November 14: English language youth group @ Kyiv First Church

In closing, I would like to encourage you with the memory verse from when I taught English -- – “For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps” (Job 34:21).   God sees all our steps – good or bad – and just as God prepared Moses during his time in Midian, God is shaping us for the purposes in our life.  I trust that you will allow God to do God's work in your life, to walk in God's ways, and to be confident in God's presence.

In Christ,


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