Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 2011 Update

Dear family, friends, and supporters,

Hello once again from Kyiv, Ukraine!  I have been back in the country for almost 3 weeks now, and (for now, anyway) it seems to be a smooth transition back into the swing of things.  My roommate and I have settled into our new apartment and found essential places nearby like the bank, grocery store, Dreamtown mall, and Domino's pizza.  :)  We've enjoyed catching up with friends again, hanging out in the evenings after school or on Sundays after church.

KCA: The First Week
All four of my classes are in a row this year:  6th grade math (during 2nd period), then a snack break, then precalculus/advanced math, geometry (followed by lunch), and 6th grade Bible.  The first 2 weeks have been a time of "training" my students in the daily routine and how I do things in my classroom, in addition to teaching math and Bible, of course.
For now, the hardest part about my schedule is that I don't get a break, and have to be "on" at all times, ready to teach or answer questions or get ready for the next class.  I'm an introvert (though not shy, in case you were wondering), so I need to make time to "recharge" away from people.

Jen and Kara
From Aug 24-27, my roommate and I hosted 2 American English teachers in our apartment.  Kara (who is also a YIM alum) and her cousin Jen came to Ukraine to teach English with International House in Poltava (not to be confused with IHOP).  We showed them around a LOT of the city, and introduced them to some church leaders before they left on the train.  Their first night -- mere hours after their arrival -- we made them come to the city center for some Independence Day festivities.  These were their first few days in Ukraine, so we showed them around a grocery store and taught them a little Ukrainian history.  I was even able to help Jen buy antibiotics at the local pharmacy!

Riding the metro with "just one more" passenger:  Amy and I in the background; Kara and Jen in the front
Obolon English and Other Church Ministries
This morning was the "kick-off" for Sunday school/children's church at the Obolon church, located only a 10 minute walk from our apartment.  Though we didn't teach a lesson today, Amy and I went to see the kids and our fellow teachers again for the first time since the spring.  We sang a song that I first learned in 2008 in Zaporozhe that goes something like this:  "Every day and every hour...Lord, come help us."  Our first lesson will be on October 2, and I look forward to working with Svetlana again this year.

The kiddos at Obolon
On the first Sunday I was back, I went out to the district Girls' Camp for the evening to see friends and hear Pastor Vova speak.  Though there were a handful of people there that spoke English (including Tanya from Moscow) and Zee translated the message, I was mostly immersed in Russian for most of the time.  Eight of us played Dutch Blitz, then after a tea spill, we played a game that was a combination of charades, pictionary, and taboo.  Zee and Tanya were on the other team, so they would translate what I needed to do, though sometimes I understood the phrase

Also, a team from Susanville, CA was here a couple weeks ago to help the church-plant in Poznyaki.  (Some of you may remember that there was an NNU team here, and I've helped teach English over there too.)  Each night for a week, the team and Andriy and Marina's family held a VBS for the neighborhood kids, with the intent of connecting these families to the church plant.  A couple times I joined them to help paint and help with the kids and games.  I enjoyed getting to know each of them throughout the course of the week, including 12 year old Ben and 6 year old Danny!

The team (Verne, Cathy, Ben, Danny, Jameson) and myself
Hope House Opportunity in Odesa
Yesterday I spoke on the phone with some Wesleyan missionaries in Odesa (a city on the Black Sea) about coming to teach English there once a month.  Last spring, Cliff told us about Hope House, and how we could visit once a month while the Canadian missionaries are gone, so that the girls could practice speaking English.  Now that I have talked to the missionaries a bit (and we Skyped tonight), I'm excited about this opportunity for teaching English and leading Bible studies!  Pray for the planning and coordinating of this time, and for the people to whom and with whom we'll be ministering.

Upcoming Dates
*September 12 (I think): "Operation Mary / Hold and Witness" team comes to Ukraine
*September 16-18: Visiting Odessa and Hope House
*October 2: Teaching English at Obolon
*October 7-9:  MS/HS Fall Retreat
*October 9-16: Eurasia Regional Conference

Prayer Requests
*Students/parents who are still on their way to Ukraine
*English-language learners in all my classes, and patience/understanding in working with them (In my 6th grade class, only 2 of the 9 students are American.  One has lived in UA all his life, and the other was adopted from Russia.)
*Time management: in regards to tasks I need to complete, time with people, and time spent with God
*Hope House girls and the ministry that happens there every day/week.

*My geometry class has only 14 students this year (rather than 18), which means more space in my classroom and more time to answer students' questions.
*Ministry opportunities -- teaching English in various places, building relationships with the KCA students, and just being with my Ukrainian friends
*Russian-language triumphs, like asking directions, putting our friends on the train, and basic conversations

Thank you for all your prayers and support!
In Christ,

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