Sooo, our weeklong day camp started this morning.
Jim and I left our flat at 8:15 so that we would be at the bus location by 9:00. We ran into Tolly and Marina under the street and then together looked for our bus. We first saw a beautiful big white bus, but it had a sign in the window that presumably was the name of the hiring group. Not us. I looked further down the road and saw a delapidated blue bus and commented that THAT was probably our bus. Meanwhile Tolly walked behind the white bus and verified that the number on it matched the number assigned to us. Really? What a great bus!
While Jim and Marina stayed near the bus so that they could greet any children and their parents, Tolly and Marianna went behind an apartment building to a small playground and found Viktor organizing games for children who were dropped off early. We played there for 30 minutes or so while waiting for one small group to arrive, and then boarded the bus.
A rousing chorus of The People on the Bus (led by…well, can YOU ride a bus to camp and NOT sing it? I can’t either!) Our musicians reconsidered some of their chosen music once they saw the ages of the children…and they did a GREAT job!
The trip took 40 minutes. Not too bad. The children all lined up to register and were given bracelets color-coded by their age group. Pretty smart, eh? Brilliant, actually. Even for those who couldn’t speak a word of Russian or Ukrainian, one could see the bracelet and know where the child should be.
We began with music followed by a skit featuring a princess who wanted to tour the Covenant Kingdom as a commoner. She chose a companion who was simply overwhelmed when he learned that she was THE Princess. She reassured him that she needed someone to travel with her and to help her take care of the grounds. He recruited ALL the children at the camp!
The groups visited four different stations throughout the day. I was with the green group — the youngest group with the most children. Definitely going to adjust some numbers tomorrow. We started off with music and tried to teach them Alleluia, Praise Ye the Lord. They enjoyed squatting down and standing tall to sing their parts.
A few of the young boys were easily bored and really didn’t want to sing anymore. They thought it would be much more fun to climb the gate. I approached our guitarist (Slava) and asked him whether he might allow a couple of the boys to strum his guitar if he himself played the chords. That way everyone could be involved. Little did we know that lots of children wanted the privilege of playing the guitar. We opted to motivate them to sing well so that they could be rewarded with a chance to play the guitar.
Slightly distracted by the cows heading to the field…
Other groups were painting their own crowns — jewels to be added as the children memorized Bible verses.
Games were a big hit — scavenger hunts for the older children and Duck, Duck, Goose for the younger ones. They found it particularly amusing to choose the oldest person in the circle as the one to do the chasing!
Bible lessons were a key part of the day. Day 1 featured Creation and kudos to the team for keeping all the groups interested — even acting out the motions and sounds of God’s animals to keep the youngest children involved. Interactive play is always enjoyable.
Lunch was served midway through the camp, and it appeared that most of us had worked up an appetite. Not much conversation in the lunchroom as we satisfied those hunger pangs.
To close out our day we met once again as a large group and sang a couple of the songs we had learned earlier. Then Paul, the American team leader, reviewed what had been taught throughout the day.
Right about that time the cows were headed home. Allyson and I laughed that maybe we could now better understand the expression “until the cows come home.” One cow made a wrong turn and entered through a gate to our churchgrounds. Thankful that all the children were inside at this point, and also thankful that the cow made her way back out without too much difficulty.
We pulled away from the camp at 3:30 and arrived back to Kyiv at 4:15. Jim and I walked back into our flat at 5:45. Tired, but encouraged by a wonderful day.
Thanks to the team!! To God be the glory!