Saturday, September 15, 2012

Teen Camp in Odessa

There is probably a reason why I should blog about events as they happen...because that way I'd actually remember them!! So much happened in the last few months, so I guess what follows over the next week will be a blog blitz of the that it is Fall and I'm settling back into my routine in Kiev.

So my last real post was about our camp at an orphanage in the Kherson region in early June.  After that wrapped up we caught our breath for all of about 5 days before we headed down to Odessa to put on a 2 week camp for teens from orphanages from the Kherson region.

We had about 100 youth and it was an intense two weeks.  Trying to recall specific stories now three months later is post camp blur or something! But I can say it was challenging and I can say that God was at work as He always is at these camps.

Because we've worked in partnership with "Agape" for many years we have had a long standing relationship with the orphanages in Kherson region and so the camp served as a reunion of sorts.  I counted at least 10 kids that had been on some of our hosting trips to the US and others from previous camps.  It's hard to watch these kids grow up and see them still in the orphanage.  But many of them know God and seem to be headed in the right direction.  Others it is sad to see the choices they are making, and we can only pray that the seeds that have been planted year after year will eventually take root.

I was so blessed to spend time in Odessa with Vika.  I've known Vika since she was fourteen, and now she is nineteen and has graduated from the orphanage.  I still think of her as a little girl and in many ways it is clear that she still needs someone to hold her hand in life... as I often found her holding mine throughout the 2 weeks together.

Vika said 'no' to adoption several years ago, as it would have meant being separated from her younger sister. It was a hard decision for her and yet I admire her for making that decision to remain for the sake of her sister.  Because of her multiple trips to the US she has a good grasp of the English language, a skill I know that will help her as she now steps into college.  God is not done writing Vika's story, and I'm happy that I still get to be a part of her life.

The theme of the camp was all around the Euro Cup...which was taking place in Kiev while we were down in the sweltering heat of Odessa. We used our lessons and evening messages to make connections between the game of soccer (futbol) and the game of life.

I'll let the following pictures tell the rest of the story for the fun we had!
one whole day of rope's courses!

Yes, it was a very fun 2 weeks! You should join us next time!

1 comment:

Tara G. said...

Glad you're back and getting into the swing of things! We're still settling. Please tell everyone hi!!!