Ukraine 2013

Love has defeated death.

Hey there! I’m still in Ukraine and it still blows my mind..ha. Last week was a prep week of sorts. It was also a somewhat relaxing week of getting settled in and adjusted to a new country and culture.

Yes, we did some prep for our Backyard Kids English Bible Club thing – this is a ministry for kids that is set up similarly to a VBS, but will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout June and July. Since I was blessed with an opportunity to do camp ministry this week, we bumped back the start date for the kid’s club to June 13th.

THE CAMP! It has been super fun. Our days have started by meeting at the church around the corner at 7:50 and then packing up the vans, praying over our day, and heading to the school where the camp is held. It is a simple, half-day camp but those kids are awesome! Josh, Bill, and I have been something similar to caged animals and most of the kids just want to stare at the “Real Americans” and take pictures of us and with us to show off to their friends and family.. hilarious. They LOVE to attempt to speak English with us – and by that I mean say “hello” and then giggle! They will say, “my name is..” in English, but after that it is broken with awkward hand motions of communication..but it is so much fun.

On Thursday, we went and did a pre-camp morning to get the kids excited about the upcoming week!
They got my name wrong.. I’m not, Laurens..





Monday, I stayed with Igor who knows English really well and translates for us in most situations with the kids. He was running a field game station, so I was perfectly at home and loved getting to see all different age groups throughout the morning.





Learning the memory verse..











Igor ran out of games so they played: tackle Igor!!




This station was an obstacle course/follow the leader type game..











On Tuesday, I stayed with a particularly large group throughout their transitioning from different games to the craft to the movie to more games. I even tried to sneak away from them while they watched the movie (it was in Russian, so I couldn’t understand it anyways!) to see other stations and kids and the adult that was with them came and found me and said the kids were upset and asking where I was! haha.. So I enjoyed the movie without knowing the words – and I genuinely enjoyed it! Ya gotta love cartoons that have enough expressions that the words are somewhat irrelevant! I also spent some times playing basketball when we first got there and at the end of the camp with some of the younger guys. I loved that, for sure. I was able to impress the kids with spinning the ball on my finger (always a hit! haha) and then just tossed the ball with them and “shot” with the hoop being a pull up bar on the wall.




These kids pull off mullets like it’s nothing! 🙂







A classroom at the school – where they did their craft.



They drew on these papers with vegetable oil and a q-tip..







Tuesday, after we left our camp, we went to another school to do a one day camp with their kids. They fed us lunch when we got there and then we did our game stations like the previous Thursday.

The school:




Eating Lunch:




broom/sponge hockey..






We needed a filler.. so I juggled.




And to end our afternoon, we had a dance party!





Wednesday I hung out in the craft room most of the day helping with the funny balloon face craft they did. I also played basketball with the same little boys from Tuesday to start and end my day. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures from that day (they’re on Bill’s camera).

Yesterday and today I have spent my time in the apartment being sick 🙁 I genuinely hate being sick, but especially missing being at camp – that has been harder than anything, for sure. It has been an incredible week (week three days) being able to share Jesus and love on these kids. I love that sharing Jesus is not tied down to being behind a pulpit or in front of any crowd preaching the word, but that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus by simply being an example and giving unconditional love.

This weekend we are supposed to go to Kiev and spend the weekend there being tourists.. We’re supposed to leave this afternoon, so I’m hoping that I am feeling up to it by then and able to go and enjoy the weekend.

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