Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gypsy VBS western Ukraine

I know I am doing the unpardonable sin by putting a sunset picture at the beginning of my post. But will you please forgive me. By this time in our summer ministry, we were all so tired that we didn't know if we were going or coming, if it was a sunset or a sunrise. Any way it was beautiful. I loved the mountains in western Ukraine. We miss our mountains in Colorado so it was great camping out under the stars and listening to the crickets . Don't get me wrong it wasn't a vacation, just a beautiful location to serve. We camped on top of the mountain and went to bed watching sunsets like the one above. We were staying on Vita's parents farm.
It was so nice to get some good Ukrainian food. Vita's mother even cooked us some food from the Carpathian mountains. I loved her cook shack. It was so quaint. There was a big, wood burning cook stove in the corner and then cabinets and a little work table. Why would you want to heat up you house in the summer time with cooking, when you have a great place like this. You should have seen the tomatoes growing right outside the door.
When I say that this trip was no vacation, I'm not kidding. Working with the gypsy kids was WORK!!! I have never done children's ministry with kids like these gypsy kids. You can't help but love them, but man are they Wild! Most of them have never been to school so they can't read. Not only that, they can't sit still, or be quite. You just have to talk over them, and them reward the one that was the best behaved.
We tried to play games with them but that didn't keep their interest very long.
We did feed them every day after telling them a Bible story, and singing with them. We tried to make crafts with them and some of them kept eating the craft supplies.
Our time was split between being with the children and cooking for them.
Of course when you are serving food all the moms come too. Artyom was helping serve the gypsies here. I was so proud of him and the way he loved the kids. He is a very, VERY clean person, and gypsies are... well not. At least the ones we were with. The paster required the children to wash their faces before they could come to VBS. One little guy had no pants but he got his butt cleaned as well as his face. But Artyom would hug those little kids even if they smelled bad and had lice. I prayed the we would see the little people that needed to see God's love not just the dirt.
They all just found a place in the shade and chowed down.
After they were done eating , what do you know, they had a new hat. Who said that one person's trash is another's treasure? Any way they could be pretty funny.
One thing for sure, they really loved the watermelon. I think one little guy even used it for hair gel. Hey why not? They make fruit smelling hair spry, don't they? The kids had not been taught a lot of manners, and we had a hard time getting them to say "please" or "thank you" for anything. But when I had a big bowl of watermelon and I would only give a piece to the ones who would say "please", they learn real quick.
Even though we were all worn down by this time and it was the hardest VBS of the summer it was so worth it when you saw the smiles on their faces, the twinkle in the eyes and....

... the group that came forward to pray. We showed them how to pray and ask God to forgive their sins. Then we knelt down and prayed together. It was one of the hardest things we did this summer, but Oh, so rewarding. If you can't tell, I kinda like being a missionary and teaching kids about God.

No comments: