July 15, 2010

July 2010 Trip Blog

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:38 pm by usnof

Please visit usnof.org for the July 2010 Trip Blog.

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August 4, 2009

Here we come!!!

Posted in 2009 Jul/Aug Trip at 8:16 pm by amyjones4

It’s a little after 3am here in Kiev…I wanted to leave a brief update because I know you all are anxiously awaiting our arrival. We are now gathering in the lobby to board our bus for the airport.  We are looking forward to being back with our families. We will be very tired so forgive us if we sleep for a whole day once we’re home! 

Please pray for our safe travels! – Amy

Our last day here in Kiev

Posted in 2009 Jul/Aug Trip at 11:05 am by amyjones4

Today we spent the day shopping in downtown Kiev, finding gifts for friends and family, as well as all the wonderful people who sponsored our mission trips. We also toured one of the local monastaries, the Chernobyl museum, and the outdoor WW2 museum located along the river.  We are getting ready to go to dinner, then pack up for our very late night (3am) trip to the airport.  We will have a 7-hour layover in Munich, Germany and are planning a little excursion to explore. Then its back to our friends and family in the good ‘ole USA.

We miss you all so much!!  and I want to thank you especially for all the prayers – all week, I felt God’s hand watching over us, keeping us safe and unified.

See you soon!! 🙂

With His love,

Amy

August 3, 2009

Update from the Camp Ministry – our last day with the children

Posted in 2009 Jul/Aug Trip, Camp Ministry at 4:00 pm by amyjones4

Today was our last day in Rivne….so much to tell but it is very late here so I will make it brief…

We spent the morning with the children at the camp.  It was so hard saying goodbye to these precious children who kept asking if we’d be back tomorrow. We did one last round of ukrainian worship songs and bible stories, leaving them with gifts and many, many hugs. Already there is talk among the team of coming back to Ukraine next summer.

Back in town, we had lunch with our translators and gave them gifts from our team to express our gratefulness for all their hard work. This has got to be the best group of translators we have ever had and hope many will come work with us again next summer!!

Tonight, we are back in Kiev safe and sound. Tomorrow we will tour Kiev, then pack up and head to the airport around 3am to catch our 645am flight home. We are looking foward to seeing our families again and sharing our stories and pictures. Pray for safe travels!

Love,  Amy

Safely to Kyiv

Posted in 2009 June/Jul Trip at 2:06 pm by usnof

We have just received word that the travelers have arrived safely in Kiev.

August 2, 2009

a note about comments

Posted in 2009 Jul/Aug Trip at 12:00 pm by usnof

We love seeing all the comments from those of us back home – and I’m sure the travelers do too!  They may not see them until they get home, so if you have a time sensitive message for a specific traveler, please email them directly.  If you are having trouble getting a message to them, you can email Jason.

August 1, 2009

Saturday at the camp and bowling too!

Posted in 2009 Jul/Aug Trip, Camp Ministry at 4:50 pm by amyjones4

The camp ministry team returned to the Klevan camp today and participated in a number of activities, including painting sun catchers, “mummy” relays and playing with a big parachute which the kids loved!!  Our drama group taught the children about compassion through the Good Samaritan skit.  We are also trying to help the children learn to work together.  We continue to see children we’ve met in past trips…..today there was a girl named Vika, who many of us have known for the past 5 years.  We ended the day with special candy from Saudi Arabia brought by our friend Marwan.

Here are some thoughts from the youth on our team…..

Amanda R. – “Today I switched groups and worked with the Sports team. I met a boy abaout 12 who taught me this really cool trick, where you let a ball slide down your arm and then pop it into the air. Being on this trip has made me very grateful for my mom, and my home, and my possessions, and how in America, if you are an orphan, you are well taken care of.  The children here don’t have parents and their lives are not as good as ours.”

Bekah C. – “I worked with the drama group…we did some games and a bible story today about the Good Samaritan. It makes me sad to see these children who do not have any parents. There is a very young boy about 2 years old named Andre who I wish could come home with me. I have enjoyed making friends with the other youth on this team, especially bowling tonight.”

Speaking of bowling, our team needed some rest from all the  long, hard days this week, so our team leaders took us to dinner at Hotir, this amazing restaurant outside of town with an indoor water mill, and crazy decorations like a life-size plastic cow with a flowered necklace.  We listened to live Ukrainian karaoke while dinner was served by a distinguished man in a mexican sombrero (not sure why that was).  Afterward our team bowled in the adjoining 6-lane bowling alley complete with disco music/ball and black lights. We had the best time, everyone was laughing non-stop.  It was a great evening of fun and fellowship!

Tomorrow our team heads out to 2 different churches.  One group will be visiting Calvary Chapel Ternopyl where the Pastor has been emailing with Steve Feden on our team, also a Calvary Chapel Pastor.  We’ll be attending the service, having lunch with them and doing some street ministry.   The other group will attend House of Gospel, Pastor Tupchik’s church through which we work at the camp. We will be speaking to the church and then later that day, host a youth worship service and ice cream social for all of the House of Gospel youth and USNOF youth on both teams.

Stay tuned…….

Amy and “Tink” 😉

July 31, 2009

Day 3 of VBS, Friday July 31th

Posted in 2009 Jul/Aug Trip, Pahinets, VBS at 3:04 pm by usnof

Youth Perspectives:

I didn’t know how much I would really enjoy this.  I expected it to be fun, but it’s more than just fun.  It’s deeper than that.  Some people get a lot out of singing or listening to people speak.  I get the most of serving people and making people smile.  I think that’s what it’s all about anyway in following Jesus…actually getting out there and doing  things.  It’s been cool to get close to some of these kids and show them love when you can tell a lot of other people haven’t before.  It’s hard to give them all up at the end of the day because you will miss them, but also because they won’t let go of you.  Ukraine seems to be a peaceful place.  Everybody has been very respectful and humble toward us, and that’s very nice to see.  I’ll be sad to leave but hope to return next year. – Daniel F.

This trip to Ukraine is sort of what I expected and sort of not what I expected.  I really like the older kids because I can talk to them more.  They understand me.  It feels like these kids are like the kids back home.  They are not different.  They like the same things and need the same things.  The difference is they don’t have people they can go to like the kids I work with at home.  So, it means a lot when we come to play with them.  They want the attention, so it’s easier to actually go up to them and play with them and talk to them.  I will remember everything about this trip. – Jessica K.

Yesterday, we went to the Pahinets Center to play with the kids with disabilities.  Before we went, I was a little worried about what the parents would think and if they would be too overprotective.  When we got there, it was neat to see how the parents actually weren’t that nervous and to see their faces light up when we started playing with the kids.  The kids themselves were great!  They were playful and just wonderful kids.  They are really funny the way they would play with you and throw the toys to you and smack you in the face with them.  The atmosphere in the whole building was fantastic… It was everyone’s feelings.  I was with several children… mostly three who had Down syndrome.  They were responsive.  They came up to you and showed you what they wanted to do.  They showed me what they wanted to do, and I took the lead.  We were told that people here don’t respond well to these children, and it was great to see them realize that we care about them. -Kyle D.

This is my third year coming to Ukraine to work in the Children’s Home and the Intake Center.  I came back this year because every year the kids just touch my heart and make me want to come back.  These kids are different from the kids back home because they want your attention all the time and they don’t get that attention.  I feel I’m used here by just giving them attention and spreading God’s Word and showing them someone really does care.  There’s one child who was here last year at the Children’s Home and is still there.  His name is Igor, and he’s seven year’s old, so this will probably be his last year at the home.  He’ll go to a boarding school next year.  He’s a very sweet kid…very outgoing.  He loves to laugh, and it feels really good.  It makes me really happy to see him laugh and enjoy himself.  Not having parents has got to not be fun.  I don’t feel I’d have as much joy as they do in the same situation.  They are always so happy when we are here.  When I leave this place, it is touching to me.  When I leave, I just them to all know God and what He did for them.  -Kendall H.

Thoughts from Katherine:

Today is Friday and for several of us who will be going with Vera to meet her family tomorrow, this is our last day with the children.  The children are really starting to remember us, and we’ve already connected with them even in these three days.  So far today, we’ve been to the children’s home and are visiting the “baby house.”  The children here are well cared for, and we took a tour of the facility.  To protect the children from foreign germs, we were unable to touch these little ones, but we saw many of the preschoolers and a few babies.  From here, we’re off to lunch and then the intake facility for more games and stories.  Everyone is healthy and well, and morale and stamina are both good.  We are grateful for the comments we’ve been reading on the blog and, most importantly, for your continued prayers.  I would be so grateful for anyone who would be interested in keeping a log of what you’re praying each day so I can let you know how God is answering those specific requests.  Paka! -Katherine

In their own words ~ Intake Facility

Posted in 2009 June/Jul Trip at 3:00 pm by usnof

Some of the children at the Intake Facility shared a bit of their stories with us:

My name is Sasha, and I’m seventeen years old.  I’ve been at the Intake Facility for three years now in the summer because I didn’t obey the law.  Instead of putting me in prison, they put me here.  I grew up in an orphanage.  I love to play soccer with your guys.  That’s one of my highlights.  I like Josh and the ants story.  It was very funny.  I was laughing. (A tough guy laughing like a child.)  I want to become a military man.  I had some times when I have seen God helping me.  Some Christians come here, and I go to their church meetings sometimes. Fridays, Sundays, and Tuesdays, I go to their meetings at a Pentecostal Church.  I think it would be good for you to come back again and tell young kids about God and pray with kids…and to play games.  I wish when you come back, that you would bring your children, and they should speak Ukrainian, so we could speak freely and have more fellowship. 

My name is Tanya, and I am ten years old.  I have been at the Intake Facility three or four months.  I am here because my father is drinking.  He is pretty aggressive, and he batters the whole family.  My brother is here and my sister is with my mother.  I haven’t seen them for six years.  More than anything in the world, I like to sing.  I love to sing in concerts here in the Intake.  My favorite song is “In the Morning, the Sun Will Smile.”  When I grow up, I would like to be a singer.  I feel like God is caring for me.  I love to talk with everyone this week and communicate with people.

My name is Diana, and I am ten years old.  I have been at the Intake Facility for eight months.  I have three brothers here with me and one sister in the orphanage.  She is half a year old.  On the 27th of July, I went to the court and saw my mother and stepfather.  I am here because my mother is consuming alcohol and is very violent to me and my brothers and sister.  I feel safer here than at home.  My brothers and I have enough food, and I don’t feel any danger here.  I like to sing.  I feel God is close to me.  When I grow up, I want to be a singer.  I will sing for you this week.

My name is Tasha, and sometimes people call me Tanya.  I am sixteen years old. I have been in the Intake for six months.  I am here because my parents have died, and I don’t see my other family members.  I love the children here like younger siblings.   I feel these people are my family.  More than anything, I like to paint and do different types of crafts.  Later, will be demonstrated all the crafts we do, and I will show you mine.  I want to be a medical nurse when I grow up, because I want to help other people.  I would like to work in the hospital or a facility like the Intake Facility.  I put my hope in God.  God is my friend and father and mother.  I go to the local church.  They let me go and visit the meetings at the church.   Tonight at 7 I will go to the meeting.  When I go to the meetings, I love to hear about the life of Jesus and what He was doing here.  This week, I have enjoyed the crafts…especially the bracelets we made today.

In their own words ~ Interpreter Sasha

Posted in 2009 June/Jul Trip, VBS at 2:59 pm by usnof

From Sasha A., one of our interpreters from Kiev:

First of all, I was glad to meet your group…people who were filled with love and compassion here.  I was glad to see that besides bringing Gospel, you brought some practical ways to help families, orphans, and children with special needs.  One of the things I noticed in the Children’s Home is that you don’t only influence children here, but you also influence staff (teachers, workers, administration).  When they see your care, your smiles, presents, it encourages them also to love children more, to have more patience with children, and to have hope and be more optimistic.  If you didn’t believe things could change, you wouldn’t come back here.  They understand that. 

My pastor always told me, if you see the Holy Spirit working somewhere, then stick around there.  I hope and I pray that when you come back, I would love to help you as a translator, a social worker, serve you coffee, or clean your shoes.

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