Saturday, June 6, 2009

The week in review – keeping a diary for ourselves

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, there are a number of reasons to blog. One, to share what God is doing through the ministry here. Second, to let our friends know of the needs here. And, third, to keep our own personal diary. So this week in review, I am really writing a diary entry for ourselves.

Dear Blog,
This Saturday morning, David and I left early to go to Bishkek. Tomorrow is our 34th wedding anniversary and we planned to take a long walk through the city, eat at a great restaurant and then come home. Last night, our plans for that great restaurant changed. We were at a gathering at a friend’s home where we learned the need of 20 Chinese men, here to work. They all live in one small dirty house with very little to eat, waiting on work. Both of us realized that we could not enjoy a meal at a fancy and expensive restaurant,(even though it was a special occasion,) while these men had so little. The cost of our meal would fund their needs for a number of days. So, we went to Bishkek, took a great walk through the city and enjoyed a modest lunch at a place where we usually go. We will look in to how to get the necessary supplies to this group of men on Monday.

From Saturday's walk through the streets of Bishkek. It is a beautiful city.

On the way to the city today, we talked about exactly what happened last week. Some of the events were major…others smaller, but no less significant.

On Monday – The morning started off with my bi-weekly Russian lesson. I cannot explain why I enjoy learning this most difficult language, but I do. I do feel God is helping me to make progress as I can read much more and understand more all the time. Speaking the language has been my greatest challenge and I am told that part usually comes last. My teacher and I talked today about maybe continuing when I go home – on skype. Maybe??

Monday afternoon, we went with our friends to take care of some necessary business in Bishkek. We forgot it was Children’s Day and major streets were closed. We experienced a long detour in the city, and major traffic jams added a couple of hours of travel time. It was okay because we enjoyed being with friends.

Monday evening we had dinner at Valera and Luba’s home. - I remember when we first met Luba and Valera last year. David had the privilege of praying with this man, who suffered with many problems. He had so many needs. What a joy it was to see him this year. He is doing better in every area of his life. He looked healthy and was happy and productive.
Praying for this special family as we leave.

On Tuesday – Getting up early to be in Bishkek by 9:00 is a requirement here and we left very early. We were invited to the Humanitarian University for a four hour seminar with their psychology and social work students. We arrived well ahead of time, spent a few moments in the office of the department head and then walked into a room full of 23 students, waiting for us. We were so impressed with them as they listened attentively and asked a lot of questions. The seminar focused on what is child abuse and neglect – a subject they have not had yet. The time flew by quickly with requests to return. They are so open to learning and it was a joy to be with them.

These young ladies are third year social work and psychology majors. It is a five year program for them.
Gathering after class for a group picture.

After the seminar was over, Natalia, David and I went to a favorite lunch spot. We were eating on a outdoor area with two young friends, when the young man received a phone call from a friend. The friend told us to take shelter – an incredible hail storm was on the way. Within just a very few moments, we were being pelted with the largest hail stones I have even seen. Natalia kept saying “this is a historic moment – this never happens here.” It lasted about ten to fifteen minutes….quite interesting!
Although the clouds were dark, it was calm and peaceful...then all of a sudden the hail started and we ran for cover.

Tuesday evening we met with a young couple in our home. They are soon to be married. David guided the time together as we talked about the five needs of a husband and wife. As we were finishing up, the young woman asked us if they could come back one more time. We were so honored as we really didn’t know what they were thinking. We will be leaving before their wedding and I am sorry we won’t be here.

On Wednesday –I really looked forward to this day – it was a final day for now training in Kemin. We have spent a lot of time there in meetings and training on the building blocks of a successful foster care program. Foster care is a brand new concept to the people of this Central Asia country. We have spent the last three to four weeks simply dropping seeds into the ground with the hope that some of them will take root. One of my biggest regrets is that I cannot talk to these precious people without a translator. I want to talk to them…hear their stories…learn about their families.
Planting seeds -with many, many challenges ahead, our group explored what a foster care system is. We talked about recruitment, family assessment and preservice training. One of the fun things we did was plan what a recruitment program might look like, planned an informational meeting and created recruitment flyers. Their creativity on the flyers was fun to watch.

These workers are from villages and had not experienced a training like this before. They feel they now have a beginning understanding of what foster care is and look forward to continuing program development.

The young lady in the middle is one that we have targeted to consider development as a trainer for preservice. She is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and wants to be considered.

Nagasyat on the far left, is the new director of the region's Family and Children Services. She has been the force behind the desire to start foster care in Kemin.

All of these workers were there for all sessions, worked hard - and we laughed alot. I really look forward to continued work with them.
After the session was over, we talked about the next steps. It is our hope to be able to return here in the fall and guide this group of workers through training and foster care development.
On Thursday – After morning devotions, we left for training. This was final day for training this round in the Chui region, as well. We also began planting seeds of the dreams of a foster care system. We have spent a great deal of time with this group of social workers – last year and this year and I do have hopes that from the seeds that were planted here, change will come. I told both groups – Kemin workers and Chui workers, that they are pioneers and that being a pioneer is exciting, challenging, discouraging, even sometimes frightening. It takes patience and perseverance through the numberless untold barriers ahead.
Last summer, we trained for six weeks here with this group and returned this trip for three sessions. There is real interest in the future for foster care in this Chui region.

On Friday - Friday morning started out just like Monday – I had Russian lessons . We knew Friday would be an unusual day filled with many different things. David walked down to the bazaar for much needed things for the house. Natalia and I went to fulfill a promise – to deliver a ball to a little boy in a small orphanage who broke his leg. He had been refusing to walk and we asked a friend, who is a physical therapist to intervene. She did and he is making great progress. We told him we would bring him a “get-well ball” which we did on Friday and we amazed at how well he is now walking. We ran a few other errands before we went home to get ready for a very special wedding.

Friday afternoon, we were invited to attend the wedding of the daughter of Foundation's Superintendent of Schools - Lydia. It was a beautiful ceremony and David was asked to give a blessing to the new couple. We had to leave a little early for one more stop - we were only mid way through a six course meal!
Marina and her new husband - She currently is a faculty member at the Professional Institute.

Blessing the new couple

Beautiful dances highlight the ceremony.

We now will begin our last full week here....many things we have planned...many things have not been revealed yet...we are so thankful as our journey continues.

1 comment:

Jennifer Wlodarczyk said...

You both look well. You are certainly doing some wonderful work with the people there. I was struck by the picture of your friend Valera. I remember him in the blog last year-what an amazing difference! That is such a blessing. Take care!
Jennifer Wlodarczyk