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Day 11

This morning we awoke with a heaviness in our hearts, knowing that we leave the children today.  Everything is done with the knowledge that this is the last time.  We gather together for our last team devotional. The topic is what we have received in this ministry.  The blessings this time have offered our lives are numerous. We have seen over and over, God in the simple things.  We pray we incorporate this into our lives at home. After going over the day’s schedule, we hear the sweet dinging of the child carrying the breakfast bell.  We line up in our two lines, Pirates on one side and Black Pearl on the other.  Oleg asks Russia trivia questions. We quickly pack our bags after breakfast and return to closing ceremonies. With gratitude we pass out gift bags, thanking each staff member and each child for all they did to make this American Camp so wonderful. The children use the American’s cameras to take photos throughout the ceremonies. Closing ceremonies are followed by abundant hugs.

The bus is at the opposite side of the school from our living quarters and before you know it, the teenage boys have all our bags loaded with cheerful smiles on their faces.  Feelings of wanting to stay and feelings of sorrow that the kids are packing themselves to return to the forest summer camps (where “there is nothing to do”) fill our hearts. We bottle up the love and hugs given so freely and abundantly by the loving kids.  We move outside to the place of our initial entrance.  There is a last group picture, a last game of catch and a last “Americans, time to get on the bus.” The older kids surround the bus entrance hugging and shaking hands as we board.  There are many requests for our return and in our hearts, we all pray we will. Thank you MPPC, this ministry is such a blessing. We pray that His light stays behind to shine through the people at Rybnoe. As we pull away, we look out the back window to waving hands and smiling faces.