Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poznaki Kids' Club

Part One:
Some of you may remember from my trip to Ukraine in 2008 that my teammate and I worked in Zaporozhe with a pastor named Andriy and his wife Marina.  Within the past year, Andriy and Marina have moved to the Left Bank area of Kiev (not far from where we held classes during the swine flu quarantine of '09).  They have started a church plant in their apartment.

A few weeks ago, Andriy and Marina asked me to come and help them for their Saturday afternoon kids' club.  I didn't know what to expect, and nor did I know how to get there!  They said that last time they had taught basic colors to the kids, and asked if I could bring some games or activity ideas.  I decided to bring Twister, and then would "wing it" with another game idea (I think it's called Trainwreck, when the person in the middle says things like "If you are wearing blue, then you need to get up and change seats").

There were three kids there -- Liza (age 7), Masha (age 4), and Andrusha (also 7, I think).  Their moms have been to our church at Studencheskaya, and are both named Svetlana.  Marina reviewed the colors with them -- and they did well!  We started to play Twister (each child taking turns), but it soon became apparent that the kids needed to learn their left from their right in both English AND Russian!  The kids also had a chance to spin the spinner for their friends, and I joined in for a few rounds also.

Masha and Andrusha (brother and sister)

The kids and Marina
Svetlana and Marina also read the children Bible stories and showed a video (I think it was from the Beginner's Bible series) about the Last Supper and Jesus' last hours.  Then we made a craft, and I helped them with that.  Up until this point, I was doing okay with communicating in Russian -- both understanding and being understood.

While we ate a snack, the other Svetlana came and the conversation level went from being at a child's level to being for grown-ups.  Hence, my focus and comprehension level quickly dropped.  I'm convinced Svetlana #2 was speaking Ukrainian to me, because I barely understood her most of the time, except when I recognized the word "mova"which means language in Ukrainian.  Marina would translate/repeat for me from Svetlana's Ukrainian/Russian, to more simple Russian.  

About 10-15 minutes into the conversation happening at the table, Svetlana #2 asked me if I was understanding everything -- I wasn't, because at this point, I'm sure my eyes were glazed over as I thought about other things.  It's hard to stay attentive after about 20 minutes of conversation in a foreign language when it's mostly over my head.  Maybe I should stick to talking with kids.

Part Two:  NNU Team
Currently there is a short-term summer missions team here from NNU, helping at various places throughout the city.  Because I am in school, I'm not able to join them as much, though it was nice to have them at KCA on Wednesday.  Last weekend, I joined them at a nearby park for a kids' club.

As we arrived, the team members made balloon animals for the kids who were flocking to the playground.  Translators included Slavik, Dina, Anya, and also Marina's brothers and sisters who I hadn't seen since 2008!  The team dispersed, and accompanied by translators, we invited kids to the playground and schoolyard at 5.

The kids' club included a craft and relay games at one location, and sports games at the schoolyard.  I tried to talk to some of the Ukrainian kids, but alas, as far as I got with most of them was "What's your name?" and "How old are you?" just like in 2008.  I realized yet again that I am not fluent in Russian, and thus cannot completely translate things.  With this team, any little bit that I can interpret for them is helpful, but I recognize that the Ukrainians doing the translation are MUCH more equipped for the task than I am.  Plus it's more important to give these folks opportunities to practice English and help in the church, as they are rising leaders.  

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