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Day 3

PictureToday was an overwhelming day on many different fronts. We start each day with a team meeting time of going over logistics and devotions, lifting each other up as we prepare for the unique challenges of working together to bring “joy” to the children and staff at the orphanage. The day then progressed to breakfast together in the cafeteria eating traditional Russian food. Camp activities are sprinkled throughout the day. We spend the day leading the children in crafts, games, sports, drama and daily cultural events.

PictureThe relay events during the sports time was one of the hits of the day. We experienced lots of laughter, hugs and smiles. Flowers were created during the crafts time to be used in the skit. Children enjoyed playing flowers and walking across the stage. Upon the completion of the skit, the flowers were placed on Christmas Tree in the lobby.

Today was also New Year’s Eve. We participated in the typical Russian New Year’s celebrations. Dinner was served early to us as the children in their family units were preparing their mail holiday meal. We went visiting in small groups after the American dinner to each of the family units. PictureThey prepared many different typical Russian dishes and laid out their best tables in preparation of their special meals. There were typical Russian breads, meats and the holiday salad, Olivet. One of our leaders calls it “the best salad ever!” Beverages consisted of fizzy lemonade and sparkling Russian cider. Each family was very welcoming of our visits and eager to share their “homes” with us. The children brought out pictures to share about their vacations and previous team visits.

One forgets some of the little comforts of home that you take for granted. We completed our visits in the dark. The power went off and stayed off for about an hour at the conclusion of the evening. It didn’t faze the children in their festivities. We spent the next hour sitting at our holiday tables by candlelight.

PictureI believe a good time was had by all and the fireworks started a little before midnight and lasted for the next couple of hours in the surrounding community of Ryazan. So we wish you a Happy New Year from Russia!