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DAy 4

Today was the fourth day of our trip…and since it followed new years it was really more of a half day. Most of Russia stayed up all night celebrating new years, which is a huge celebration. This certainly included the participants in our program from the Ryazan Ministry Center.

So, we headed out from our hotel at the early hour of 12PM, and decided to take advantage of a largely sleeping population to tour the Ryazan Kremlin. When Americans think of a Kremlin, their first association is the large government complex in Moscow. However, many cities have Kremlins, and they functioned as fortresses and seats of royal power in a distant era. We toured the snowy grounds of the Ryazan Kremlin and visited beautiful, historic Orthodox Churches. Many of these Orthodox churches have sat on the same grounds for hundreds of years. Worship is an experience that triggers all senses, with silent reverence, incense burning, and beautiful icons adorning the walls.

After our tour, we went back to the ministry center and had a lunch of noodles and hot dogs with the graduates and staff. This was followed by all sorts of games and conversations in which we shared our personal convictions and experiences.

During dinner, we had great conversations with the graduates about their lives and personal goals. One older graduate shared his goal of becoming an auto mechanic. It is encouraging to see the graduates so focused on their objectives moving forward, and to see the role of Children’s Hopechest and Fund Nadezhda in helping them to arrive at that.

Tomorrow will be a very different (albeit great) day, as we will spend part of the day with the kids from Rybnoe Orphanage…