Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 2012 KCA Update

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Hope that where you are it is much warmer than it is here!  As of right now, the temperature is -11*C (that's 12*F).  Here's a glimpse into the past month in Ukraine:

"Fishtailing" feet and frozen nose hairs
A few weeks ago, the temperature dropped to below -20*C for at least a week.  Sorry, I think in Celsius temperatures now, especially when it's cold: 0* is the freezing point, anything below means there will be ice, and positive temperatures mean puddles.

Walking to the bus stop--it's slippery sometimes, and my feet "fishtail" on the ice
Though it was cold, the sun shone brightly--quite deceptive, but as one of my HS students put it, "the clouds protect us from space" and the cold.  We had hoped for a day off from school due to the cold, but that hasn't happened yet--Ukrainian schools closed for 3 days though!  One morning it was so cold that our bus stalled and wouldn't start again--so we had to catch another bus.

Click here to read about how the cold has affected people in Ukraine and Armenia.

Budapest Basketball Tournament
Our high school students recently competed in an invitational tournament sponsored by the International Christian School of Budapest (ICSB).  Students from schools in Hungary, Austria, Romania, and Ukraine (us!) attended for a two-day tournament.  We traveled by overnight train within Ukraine and then a bus in Hungary -- total distance between the two cities is almost 700 miles.  While there, the Skinners and I were hosted by the Sunberg family--it was so fun to be with them again and spend time with their daughters.

Our girls placed FIRST and our boys ranked THIRD in their divisions!  So great!
Here are some of the highlights of the weekend:
~Train and bus rides with the students and some parents...great conversations and even some good sleep!
~My first times crossing a land border in Europe: going into Hungary it took 3 hours, but coming back only 1!
~Musical KCA students--listening to them sing a cappella in the train station (which had great acoustics), or play guitar while on the train
~Piling into the Sunbergs' car twice a day and hearing/telling stories, even having theological discussions first thing in the morning
~Laughing and playing memory games with the 9th grade girls between basketball games in the Players' Lounge
~Eating Korean "pepero sticks" (cookie sticks)
~Dancing with our Eagle mascot on the court between games
~Seeing a former KCA student and her family--such a surprise! (she was in my 6th grade math class from '09-'10)
~Going to Hungarian church, and hearing Maria preach a great sermon on Luke 15...the only phrase I understood was "Jesus Christ."  But He is the most important one, no matter the language or culture.
~Trying to find our KCA group after church -- the last person we asked about directions spoke Russian!!!
~Seeing wild deer and pheasants in the fields in rural Hungary

Fun Moments at Kids' Club
*One little boy (Danya, maybe) put on a cowboy hat and galloped around the room on his imaginary horse, saying (in Russian) "I'm a cowboy! I'm a cowboy!"
*For the Daniel Bible story one week, I prepared questions, and wasn't even nervous about asking 10-15 kids/adults questions in Russian!
*Katya (age 7 1/2) "styled" my hair one day--by messing it all up.  I asked her, "Am I pretty?" "Oh, yes."  "VERY pretty?"  "Yes."  Then she said something about a wedding, I guess that she could style my hair for my wedding.
*Some of the kids are giving me hugs throughout the day, just because--I hug them back, knowing that's an easy way to communicate Christ's love.

Katya, Katya, Dasha, Dima, and Danya
Upcoming Dates
*Feb 19: English at Obolon
*Week of Feb 27: Basketball season ends
*March 24: First full day of spring break!

Prayer Requests
~KCA seniors as they transition to college life in America--a foreign country to them, even if they have US passports
~For me to focus on God and spending time with Him regularly
~NTS coursework (History and Polity of the Church of the Nazarene): To balance my time well, and to use my time wisely in addition to all my other responsibilities here in Kiev

~During a time of feeling left out this weekend, God provided opportunities for me to serve others, to listen to their stories, and otherwise keep my eyes off of myself!
~No fines or trouble for anyone at the border crossings
~A great time in Budapest, including no major injuries

Thank you again for all your support!
In Christ,

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