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Day3

PictureOur adventure in Russia moved into a new phase today. This phase was full of games, crafts, fun, laugher, meaningful conversations, gratitude, comfort, and a variety of emotions that included tears of joy. 

With special visitors coming to the orphanage today, our team was given the opportunity of visiting the village and home of the famous Russian poet Sergey Yesenin. The highlight of this outing involved four of our team being transformed into a peasant Russian family with traditional clothing. Norm was given the honor of being the father, Lori the mother, Jeff the son, and I was the young daughter. Some traditional Russian games were played and fun was had by all, including the rest of our team who became the guests to our home. During our time at this village our translators, Lena, Rita, Helen and Christina amazed us with their impressive translating skills keeping us informed and laughing! While we thoroughly enjoyed our time in this quaint Russian village, we could not wait to get back to the orphanage to begin the 1st official day of camp.

PictureUpon our return a quick lunch gave way to a game time that was spontaneous and exciting, a game of basketball, break dancing, arm wrestling, and a variety of other games. Unstructured games gave each team member a chance to have special moments with the children. The games lead to quality conversations with some of the older students giving a greater insight into some of their lives, dreams, hopes, and struggles.

During the game time one of my personal prayers was answered with the arrival of a very special graduate, Anya. I have known Anya since she was 15 and she is now 23, with a 3 yr old daughter of her own.  We were both overwhelmed with joy at being able to hug each other and share a quality update of our lives with each other. My relationship with Anya was formed at a camp just like the one I am on today and this meeting was a bold reminder of how the children that we “play” with at camp can have lives transformed with the unconditional love given to them during our time here.

PictureI have joy in my heart and tears in my eyes as I write this and think of the lives that have already been  transformed because of these camps and the relationships that I saw being built today that will lead to transformed lives in the future. I can only credit this to the love that each member of this team was first given that we can then freely give to others!