Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week Four

This week, Julie taught six hours of vocabulary development to the teachers and translators. The last session of the English Café met on Friday. They enjoyed Julie’s lesson and our last lesson in the book of John.

Julie has also written sixteen hours of lectures for the youth English camp next week. She and the team will leave for the Black Sea Camp on Monday.

The second construction team has come and gone. They accomplished much on the upper level of the camp. There are four buildings on the upper level that are almost ready for occupancy. This was a significant team because Joseph worked as their translator. He spent two weeks with them up at the camp. We missed him but are very proud of him. He received excellent reports from all.

The next team arrives on Monday. They are our largest team for the summer – 17 people. They will assist in running an English camp at the Black Sea camp next week and the week after that they will help in a tent VBS in a small northern village.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Linguistic Richness

The last two weeks have been crazy. It has been one of those times in our lives where so many things converged that it seemed impossible to respond to everything. To start off, Alfie agreed to teach a two week intensive class to students from the Middle East. He agreed to give 30 lectures in two weeks. Halfway through the class, our first construction team left for the US and the second one arrived. The second week of the class, Julie and Alfie started the ESL Café (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Well, sounds like a crazy schedule, but all should be well as long as nothing goes wrong. Unfortunately, our team-mate, who was taking care of the construction team was in western Ukraine and her car was stolen. So Alfie needed take over logistics for that team, but just for a few days. Next, we had a catastrophic computer crash. Our new notebook is currently a large paperweight. Of course it happened about an hour before Julie’s ESL lesson and, of course, before she printed her lesson. She did a great job of teacher her two hour lesson without her notes and prepared material.

Alfie’s class is over now and our teammate, Susanna, is back in Odessa to take care of the construction team so things should be a little smoother.

So, is it worth it? Yep. It has been hard but two of many highlights make it more than worth it.
First, it has been a pleasure teaching these students at the seminary. There are only three of them but they are unique. One speaks English, Russian and Arabic. The next speaks some English and Arabic and the third speaks Russian and Arabic. So my class is an ordered confusion of English, Arabic, Russian and Greek. We often have all four languages on the whiteboard. Also, listening to what these young men have already been through and their desire to serve the Lord among Islamic communities has reminded me of the ease of my life. When I see what they have sacrificed for Christ, I am humbled.

Second, it has been a joy to see the fruit of relationship building. Over the last year Julie has been hosting “teacher exchange” meetings. She and friends have gathered English teachers and shared experiences. The purpose has been to develop relationship and provide a meaningful time of professional development. Many of the teachers from the teacher’s exchange are coming to the ESL Café. The first part of the café, Julie leads a lesson in vocabulary development. It is for high level speakers, so there is much interaction. Then we have a short break and drink coffee and tea. We have some cookies and candy and enjoy fellowship. After the break, Alfie leads a Bible study from the Gospel of John. We have believers and unbelievers and the interaction and the interest has been a joy to see. Our goal is the same as John’s…that they me understand the Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and by believing in Him, they may have life in His name.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Secondish Week

The first team is on their way to Kiev. The accomplished much up at the camp. Ron and Jeane and Dave and Barb mostly took care of them. The installed wainscoting, wallpaper and trim in 23 of the 24 rooms in the wooden buildings on the upper level. The next team arrives tomorrow and they will continue the finish work.

I finished his first week of teaching students from Jordan and Syria. I teach them Monday through Friday for three hours a day for two weeks. It is an interesting group. There are only three students in my group. One speaks English, Russian and Arabic. The second speaks just Russian and Arabic and the third English and Arabic. It is interesting having English, Greek, Russian and Arabic on the board at the same time.

We lost water for a about a day and half this week and it has been getting hotter. But Julie continues to develop her lessons for the two ESL camps. The first starts next week. We will host a ESL Café for two weeks – Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next two weeks. After that Julie along with our coworker Leah will teach at an ESL camp at the Black Sea Camp.
Today is Sunday and Joseph has left with the team for his first solo translating job. He is very excited. We are excited too but we will miss him.

Monday starts probably the busiest week of the summer. I am teaching 15 lectures at the seminary and three days this week, Julie and I are starting the ESL café this week. That means that Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have class in the morning and ESL café in the evening.

It is Monday and we hosted our first ESL Café. Julie taught on vocabulary development strategies and Alfie gave a Bible lesson on John 1:1-18. We are tired but had a great time.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week One Summer 2010

Ron and Jeane Hawkins arrived on Saturday fine and enjoyed reconnecting with old friends. It is great to be with them again.

The Community Bible church team missed their flights in New York and Amsterdam. The arrived about a half day late and spent the night in Kiev. They were able to take a bus to Odessa and are now working at the camp. However, their luggage is still in transit. I spent the better part of Wednesday on the phone with two airports and a deliver service. We managed to pick up two suitcases today and two are in transition. On

On Thursday Steve Wooden, the area director arrived and we participated in the board meeting at Odessa Theological seminary. After the board meeting we enjoyed a picnic with the seminary students and staff. During the staff meeting I received a text message that the team at the Black Sea Camp finally received their luggage – Praise God.

Friday was OTS graduation. We enjoyed seeing the graduates receive their diplomas, give speeches and receives words of exhortation. After the graduation was a reception then a time for the students to thank their professors. It was an all day event but very enjoyable.
While we were at the graduation reception, I received a text message that our team-mate’s car was stolen. She, Susanna, is in Lutsk to take part in a friends wedding then go to Poland to receive a new visa. The police are working on it but we have very little hope.

Saturday was the 10 year celebration of the Grace Church Foster Home ministry. Steve and our family went up to the Black Sea Camp to celebrate. A delegation from Germany also came for the specific purpose of celebrating with the kids. The weather was perfect. We enjoyed a time of remembrance, good food and the beach!

Sunday, I (Alfie) translated for the American team at the church service. Julie and the girls stayed home because Micah fell on Saturday and had to nurse a leg another day. She is fine now. After church, we took the team to the catacombs and then downtown. I left then with Dave and Barb at about 4:30 and went home. It was good to be back home, but we had no electricity so we played, “Would you Rather” and all went to bed. Sunday night I was also asked to change my schedule for teaching Monday. I am now teaching Monday afternoon.

What a week!