Tuesday, June 30, 2009

project ukraine: day 7 // june 30

it's day #4 of the camp, and the theme for this day (a favorite by all involved) is PIRATE day. Arrrrrgh, matie! everyone loves pirate day - another repeater from last year.

Schedule for today is roughly the same as the last two, with these additions:

- next lessons in English
- next hobby class
- sport for today is four-square. can you say "old school?"
- new cultural exchange time (i need to find the list of what culture we're discussing each day - sorry about that)
- party zone and the pirate emphasis will include custom made eye patches, some painted on beards and such, and a few piratey tattoos. songs we got planned include a veggie tales tune, a couple of very pirate "yo ho" type songs, and then a fun 50s style ditty about cruisin' on the sea...

i did forget to tell you that one of the hobby classes and a large part of all the group times for the week is the drama class. the students as well as some of the leaders will be doing both funny, icebreaker type skits all the way to the more serious types of drama relating to the messages and worship times. hopefully, we'll be capturing all of these on video for everyone to see when we get back.

we've now been in ukraine for one whole week - weather ranges from 75 for the higher end and 50s for the lower end. i'm okay with that....

pray for:
- health of everyone at the camp and that God would protect against any sickness
- strength to finish this last half stronger than the first, and that we do it all “for the sake of the gospel.”
- that both the students and leaders are getting enough rest so that we are all actively involved and learning from each other and from God
- any of the students who may be homesick or may feel lonely or out of place; that they would be noticed and that God would send someone across their path to encourage them

what the team is reflecting on for day 7:
1 corinthians 9:23-24
10I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

project ukraine: day 6 // june 29

idiot me - i forgot to tell you the overall theme of the camp. duh. the camp is "Inside Out" and the camp theme song is the Hillsong's "From the Inside Out" (you know, "everlasting, your light will shine when all else fails, neverending, your glory goes beyond all fame", that song).

okay, so to recap - we've had American Day and Native Indian Day... we did not go into the historical Native Indian in relation to America events however.... let's keep it positive. ha

today... i'm gonna guess... i went to our morning meeting in my pjs. just a guess. those who know me probably guessed day 2. but they're just cynical. like i said, let's keep it positive. eh eh eh (side note: whenever i put "eh eh eh" - that's what i call my smirk chuckle. just so you know.)

Theme for today is (drum roll please): INSIDE OUT (you guessed it, we're all dressed with our clothes inside out)

same as yesterday but insert these new pieces:
- 2nd ESL class
- 2nd hobby class
- 2nd sport: DODGEBALL (bring it on, ben stiller)
- bonfire!

for this theme day, since it's more about the overall camp theme, we get to rock out some with some one republic, evanescence, U2, etc.

pray for:
- God to show and affirm each person's special role on this team as we get to know the kids and get in the groove of camp
- energy and endurance
- discernment and "eyes to see" each individual student in our groups and classes

what the team is reflecting on for day 6:
1 corinthians 12:12-13
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

project ukraine: day 5 // june 28

so begins the first full day of camp with everyone present and accounted for.

humorous input - at this point, we will know if our drummer is working out. tony restivo was supposed to go with us on the trip as our drummer but his military date was changed (it's not like he could tell them not to do that) so we didn't take a drummer with us. the humorous but somewhat iffy sign for us is that the ukraine team told us they have a drummer for us.... but we just need to bring him sticks. huh. that doesn't "necessarily" exude confidence in a drummer if he doesn't have any sticks...... you know what i'm sayin'?

ok. so here is the theme for today: (and i'm still upset that i didn't have the statue of liberty costume for yesterday.... man, that would've been funny.) today is: INDIAN (as in native indian). i think they've done this particular theme each year - i swear it's because Sashko, the camp leader, loves to make and wear a HUGE feather headdress... is it two "d"s or one? anyway, great theme for dress up and making stuff. not so great theme in trying to find music. i've decided this year, we're going to do all of the upbeat worship choruses with a native indian beat. it's actually kind of cool. i'll have to let you know how it turned out.

oh and a cultural thing: meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) are for eating. no dilly dallying. not really social. eat and move on. by the time we sit down, they're done. not the same culture as america. probably why they're skinnier than us. :)

schedule for today:
7:30-8:00 - we arise from our slumber
8:30 - team meeting #4 and prayer time
9:00 - morning exercises (say what?) and breakfast
10:00 - bible lesson (taught by the ukrainian team, which means we won't understand a word of it and will just sit there. kinda funny.)
11:00 - clean rooms
11:30 - ESL lesson
12:30 - creative time (not sure what this is)
1:15 - lunch
2:00 - hobby class (there are different options for them: photography, drama, etc.)
3:00 - sports #1: ultimate frisbee
4:00 - theme game (led by ukrainian team), free time, shower, etc.

*side note: i just noticed on the schedule that was given out, there's no dinner listed. typo or sneaky intervention fat camp for the americans? guess we'll see.

5:30 - evening service
7:45 - cultural exchange (we teach them about some specific american culture... like TiVo. kidding.)
9:00 - party zone (woohoo. except that we have no native indian songs. we'll be throwing in some country.)
10:30 - meet in age groups/snacks
11:30 - lights out!

how many days is this camp?? :)

pray for:
- boldness and discernment in sharing our faith
- the students and God opening their hearts to the gospel and the love of Christ
- endurance and energy for the leaders (especially american team and the time difference)
- the weather (that it's not taking away from the plans for the camp)
- those who are presenting the messages during the worship times

what the team is reflecting on for day 5:
romans 1:6
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Saturday, June 27, 2009

project ukraine: day 4 // june 27

today is the day..... bring on the KIDS!!! (by kids i mean 14-19 year olds).

if i may give a short editorial at this point - i love the students/young people/teens/whatever you want to call them here in l'viv. they are different from american teens in that... they're not too "cool" to just be a kid and have fun. it's awesome. i feel bad for our students over here - the level of peer pressure,the level of needing to "keep up" with social status, and really the need to be grown up before they're grown up causes them to miss out on so much. trying to be older than you are before you've matured, in the end, will do the reverse. you end up being an adult who isn't prepared to be an adult... if that makes sense.

anyway, bring on the students!! here is the wonderment (is that a word?) of missions - any kind of missions - you usually end up being blessed more and changed more than the people you come to serve. it's been true for me the past two trips to ukraine. i have a feeling this year will be no different... if not more so.

today is a FULL day... and the next several days will be very similiar to one another. i wish - and i'm going to try and see what the possibility is - to do some live, on the spot blogging as well. or at least twitter and/or facebook. as a team, our fearless leaders, nick and krista, are trying to also figure out that option so we can hopefully blog on
www.thegosite.org - keep on checking there as well.

FORGOT to tell you - at the camp, each day we have a theme for the day that affects the hobby classes, crafts, the evening fun time, etc. this part has been fun to plan...

theme for the day: American... apple pie, betsy ross, you know, the good ol' US of A

9:00 - breakfast (b.e.t.t.e.r. schedule...no crack of dawn breakfast)
9:45 - team meeting #3 and prayer time
10:30 - prep time
12:00 - students arrive at the train station
12:30 - students arrive at the camp (tried to find a statue of liberty costume... thought that would be funny to have the bus pulling into the camp and there stands lady liberty. haha)
1:00 - registration (we'll be dividing kids into english class groups by levels: no absolutely no english up to "they talk better than we do")
2:30 - lunch
3:30 - information meeting, intro of leaders, schedules, rules, etc.
4:00 - free time for students (leaders get ready for first class)
5:30 - ESL introductory lesson
6:00 - sports team formation time (have no clue what this is)
7:00 - dinner
8:00 - "camp it up" evening program (bring on the band!) we're doing some fun "american" music. this time for the first time includes two different sections: a worship time and a fun, theme day time.
10:00 - students meet in age groups/snacks
11:30 - lights out!

is it too early for me to already be tired?

pray for:
- the students! you don't have to know them by name... the big Man knows....
- a servant's heart by everyone in leadership
- cohesiveness with the ukrainian team
- openness to learn the culture and the language
- overcoming cultural and language barriers
- against any type of sickness or things that could get in the way of serving these kids

what the team is reflecting on for day 4:
matthew 10:44-45
44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

project ukraine: day 3 // june 26

well... hopefully, we were all smart and looked ahead at what time we have to catch the train today to head to the Carpathian Mountains and the camp. good lord. are ukrainians haters of night people? holy cow.

leaving hostel at 6:20 (that would be A.M.) to head to the train station.

train departs l'viv heading to mukachevo at 7:10 (once again, A.M.). this is a 5 hour train ride... although going to be adventurous, loud and fun... as well as scenic and beautiful... don't be picturing amtrac with the drink cart and the individual cars. this is not the movie "french kiss" and i am not meg ryan. however, with the team we have going - it's bound to be very memorable and will probably fly by.

we will arrive at mukachevo at 12:00 PM, and then by bus will head to the camp... appropriately called "mukachevo camp." no confusion there.

the students coming to the camp won't be arriving until tomorrow so we'll be getting settled at the camp, having lunch, familiarizing ourselves and the ukrainian team with how the camp will be set up and all.

we'll have technically our first official "team meeting" with all of us there at the camp. get things squared away head to downtown mukachevo (i'm thinking the downtown of this town that i have never heard of is probably somewhat small) to eat dinner, pick the sound system up from a local church there, and then head back. it's always an unknown adventure when picking up equipment... some things really do get lost in translation. coordinating stuff like that with the plug and voltage differences gets really interesting and creative.

we'll end the evening with our second team meeting concluding with team devotions... though technically, you guys have been "devoting" for us this whole time. :)

after that, i don't about the rest of the team, but i'm going to bed as quickly as possible. once all the students arrive tomorrow, sleep runs away screaming at the top of its lungs. eh eh eh

side note: so far, weather reports have things listed as 75 during the day and 50s in the evening. gonna have some rain to deal with, but good grief.... you mean, no 100 degree weather with 200% humidity? i'll take it.

pray for:
- selfish prayer request: please pray that all the equipment we are bringing and we are getting from them all works together. there's no running to radio shack here.
- that everyone is successfully getting adjusted to the time change
- health overall for the team, being in a new culture with new surroundings, food, etc.
- safe travel to the camp (plus, no motion sickness on the train or bus)
- flexibility as team roles are fleshed out even more
- adjusting to camp life and surroundings (which are beautiful by the way!)

what the team is reflecting on for day 3:
acts 2:42-47
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

project ukraine: day 2 // june 25

still a flyin'.... we are landing in frankfurt at 8:55 AM. then departing for vienna at 11:10 AM.

to help out with the time change (if it's 10:00 PM here in houston, it's 6:00 AM the next morning in l'viv. it's 5:00 AM in vienna, frankfurt, and munich, other cities we'll pass through.)

the flight from frankfurt to vienna is roughly a little longer than when you fly from houston to dallas and then back - without landing. better description - you're driving from the woodlands to league city in afternoon traffic.

we arrive in vienna at 12:45 PM, then depart for l'viv at 1:15 PM. once again, another shorter flight, we will arrive at 3:35 PM. now is not the time to discuss going through customs in l'viv... there's no need for that kind of negativity this early in the trip. (it's probably the biggest pain in the buttocks part of the trip.)

now... for the most part... the major traveling is done (minus a train ride that i'm very excited about that i didn't get to do last time i went - they got us a bus to get there).

ok. where are we? oh. we will get picked up at the l'viv airport and taken to... wait for it... a hostel. this will be a first for most of the ukraine mission peeps. side note: at this juncture of the trip, i'm going to seem like i'm spoiled. HOWEVER, to my defense, i did not request to stay somewhere else (and i will have Olya who is on facebook back me up on this). the hostel can only house so many so a couple of us get to stay at one of the ukrainian leaders apartments. since i got to know Olya last year, she gave me a shout out and i get to stay at her apartment, along with amber. i don't want to hear any of your smartalec comments. :)

once we unload our stuff, it's off to enjoy the city of l'viv - one of the absolute most favorite cities of mine. ever. such cool architecture, atmosphere, culture, history, style... and you want to talk about authentic and freakin' cool (yes, i said freakin') coffee houses ever.

the blue bottle, for example...

anyway, for the rest of day 2, we get to enjoy the city of l'viv. love it.

pray for:
- energy for the team; dealing with jet lag
- team unity and instant chemistry with the ukrainian team
- unity and cooperation as we get to know each other and prepare for the camp

what the team is reflecting on day 2:
joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God.I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

project ukraine: day 1 // june 24

we're outta here!

meeting at the church office at 11:30 to pack up and head to intercontinental.

we fly out at 4:15 to frankfurt, germany - our first stop on the way to l'viv. for day one, we will spend all of it traveling... and mostly in the air. the time change gets a little crazy, so i'm going to blog/describe everything based on time that makes sense.

pray for:

- safe travel

- for God to relieve any fears of the team

- that we remembered everything

- flights to be on time (we have a tight connection in vienna)

- all of our checked luggage to make it there with us

- rest on the way over

what the team is reflecting on for day 1:
psalm 100:1-5
1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 2Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

psalm 150:6
6Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

psalm 89:8
8O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ukraine mission trip: meet the ukraine leadership team

(left to right)

- Andrei is an evangelist on the team. Former drug addict & criminal who God saved. Lives in the apartment CCCC rents for ministry in Ocean.

- Boghdan works in L’viv oblast as a director of youth ministries for the entire L’viv region.

- Anya directs children’s programs/Awana. Also in charge of drama teams

- Tolik is trained as a church planter in Brazil. He is the missions director for Baptists in the L’viv oblast. He speaks at least 3 other languages.

- Ira (not pictured) is Tolik’s wife

- Taras is the Ocean team leader and our main church planter. Gifted and humble leader.

(left to right)

- Saško is part of the Ocean team. He directs English clubs. He is the best English speaker on our team. Just finished seminary.

- Lubchick is a businessman and is a new Christian on the team. He is working on incorporating business and evangelism.

- Oleck directs youth programs for the Ocean team.

Monday, June 22, 2009

ukraine mission trip: june 24-july 6

well... we're one day away from heading to l'viv, ukraine and the carpathian mountains to do a camp for 14-19 year old students from l'viv.

go to www.thegosite.org to (hopefully) be able to see play by play action from the trip.

i have my blog set to post what we're doing each day and what to reflect on and pray for. i know the entire team would covet your prayers - any and all of them.

here's the US team: (and an AWESOME team, i must say!)
- Kimberly Biery
- Ryan Brown
- Natalie Dixon
- Dave Durand
- Heather Gadsby
- Daniel and Sherri Lehman
- Keri Lilley
- Christopher Nelson
- Amber Sailer
- Nick and Krista Skytland
- Jori Turner
- Jaime Valverde
- Daniel and Leanne Vencil

come back each day to check in and see what we're doing... and don't forget: prayer is the best thing any of us can do. ever.

love you, people!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

i'm a mom! ;)

this is tracy nakazzi (uganda)

this is fred kiweewa (uganda)

this is reagan ssemirimo (uganda)

this is mintamer alemu (ethiopia)

this is kidist matiwos (ethiopia)