Saturday, November 5, 2011

November Update 2011

Hello all,
Here is a recent update from life and ministry in Kiev, Ukraine!

KCA Fall Retreat
The school's Fall Retreat, held  from October 7th to 9th, was a great time of getting to know the students and watching them bond with each other.  My roommates included one 6th grade girl and a new 7th grade girl.
On Friday night, we played a large group game outside in the dark, called "The Most Dangerous Game."  Imagine a massive game of teachers hiding and students seeking -- BUT the teachers are armed with "weapons" like mayonnaise, wet dog food, flyswatter (that was mine), or frozen cauliflower.  Students could earn points for their team or lose individual lives (they had 5-10 total) if the teacher got them first.  The perk of looking like a high schooler was that I could sneak up on the students and tag them before they even realized I wasn't one of them! 
The rest of the time was filled with group games, discussion groups, worship sessions, and -- what is always a highlight -- the "extended worship" time just before the bonfire. 
High school girls having fun at Fall Retreat! (photo by Nadia)
Inquiring minds....
Have you ever wondered something about Ukraine and never had the chance to ask?  Some of you I haven't had the opportunity to see while in the US, especially when I'm at different churches.  I have created a sidebar on my blog where you may submit questions and I can answer them!  Questions will not be posted until I review and answer them.  Click here to submit questions (anonymously if you like)!

Regional Conference:
From October 10-16, I was at our Regional Conference with just over 600 other people.  Here are a few of the highlights:
~Missionary Retreat for the first few days:  I was able to reconnect with old friends and meet new volunteers.
~Dinner with other Mission Corps volunteers, sharing our stories with each other
~Spending more time with friends from Kiev, seeing other leaders from Ukraine (including pastors that I first met in 2008!), and meeting others from around the CIS Field (98 of us total)
~Connecting with Lonnie and Connie, our new Field Strategy Coordinator
~I learned that I have a blog reader from India!  
~Meeting and spending time with people from countries like India, UK, Spain, Holland, and also other Americans.
~Touring the Roman ruins at Perge and Aspendos
~Putting my feet in the Mediterranean Sea
~Hanging out with the MKs and other teens, playing games like Extreme Uno and "Honey if you love me"
~Ordination Service of 5 people, a few of whom are from Creative Access countries!

Conference Links:
Regional Newsletter about the conference
Highlight video
Some of our group singing in Russian.  That's me in the purple shirt, reading the words from the page!
New Ministry Involvement
This semester, I am working on earning an Intercultural Studies practicum credit from Nazarene Theological Seminary.  In addition to teaching English at Obolon and helping at Hope House, I have begun attending a Russian home Bible study and Kids' Club at Kiev First Church of the Nazarene.   Both of these include immersion in Russian for a few hours (though sometimes I get translation help with the Bible study), with the intention of learning more about the culture, ministry style, and spiritual formation here in Ukraine.  It's very tiring to listen to and try to comprehend Russian for more than 15-20 minutes, but my hope is that I can extend my attention span as well as my understanding.

Masha, my Russian teacher, and I went to the President's House one day after school.  You can't get this close to the White House!
Upcoming Dates:
Nov 6: Dedication Service of Pastor Oleg and Natasha's little girl Anna plus Day of Thanksgiving
November 11-13: Odessa trip to Hope House
November 20: English lesson at Obolon
November 23 (afternoon)-27: Thanksgiving vacation -- I will be traveling to Budapest to visit missionary friends there. :)

Prayer Requests:
*Patience with students when they ask unending questions
*Improved classroom management skills
*More engaging teaching methods to get my 6th graders discussing God's Word and how to apply it to their lives and draw closer to Christ
*Next year's staffing needs @ KCA

*God is faithful, and will take care of me no matter what the future holds.  I can trust Him rather than putting my hopes into other people.
*Bible study with Colleen and two other teachers from KCA -- this is a great time for us to grow in our relationships with God and with others
*A fun evening tonight (11/5) with Svetlana from Obolon and her two boys.  We invited them over for pizza and worked on a puzzle.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Without you, this would not be possible.  Thank you for being my "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) so that I can run this course of ministry in Ukraine.  May we remember to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

In Christ,

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