Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And It Is Only Thursday

It is only Thursday and it feels like we have already had a week's full of experiences. The five social workers from Cleveland finish up their time here on Friday and we will really miss them!!!! So far this week....
David had the opportunity to preach at the Chinese Church at Mercy Foundation. We were able to reconnect with many friends we knew from our last time here. It was a privilege for us to be there
These brothers have been coming to the Chinese Church for a number of weeks and keep asking for Sunday School. Pretty remarkable. Anne, the Johnston's niece plans to prepare a lesson for them next week.

The social work team has been here now for ten days and Sunday evening we all gathered at Lynn and Ruby's apartment to learn how to make LOGMON, a national dish. It was quite the complicated process, but it was great fun learning about and and enjoying it!
Watching Zuma make the logmon noodles - a two hour process.
Zuma is a special friend we met last year and an incredibly talented cook!

It was the best we have ever had!

International Leadership and Development Center (ILDC, our organization) began training in Kyrgyzstan in 2005. Last summer, while we were here, we had the opportunity to extend that training by working with social workers in different regions as well. On Monday, the Cleveland team had the opportunity to train a group of social workers that I knew from last summer. It was a meaningful day and fun to greet friends from last year. Hopefully this will continue to open more doors in the future. ILDC is now working in partnership with the national government leaders to provide training for key leadership.
Ruby and Natalia (right) Ian, Catherine, Jessica, Jennifer from Cleveland in the background.

The workshop participants learn about the casework process.
The Cleveland team, with the Regional Director, some of his staff and us just before the workshop began.

David and I have the incredible opportunity to work with at the Professional Institute in Tokmok. This is a new school, finishing its first year of operation. We taught there last fall for just a few weeks and it is good to be back with them. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach two English classes and on Thursday, David teaches psychology.

One of the advanced English classess. Many of the students at the Professional Institute are there on scholarships....they represent hope for this country. These teens are studying four languages at the same time - Latin, Chinese, English and Kyrgyz.

One of them asked me if I would help them by just coming over and talking with them. We are going to see about setting up "an English club" for the remaining few weeks of school. Mastering English here is a way out of poverty and we want to encourage them the best we can.

On Wednesday afternoon, after a morning of sight-seeing, we drove way out into the countryside to visit the ministry of Teen Challenge, meet their directors and students. Currently, Teen Challange provides rehabilitation services to 24 men, many of them who were homeless, living on the streets of the capital city.
The grounds of Teen Challenge, about 45 minutes from Bishkek.

One of our partners, Possibilitities International, purchased weights for the men and we have the joy of seeing them delivered.
Jenish, on the left is an incredible young man and will be the topic of a soon "what does love look like" story. Lynn Johnston is on the right.

Two of the men whose lives are changed because Teen Challenge is in Kyrgyzstan.

After our visit with Teen Challenge, we drove another 30 minutes or so to visit a local orphanage, Red River.....the pictures themselves tell the story....

The girls in the picture worked together on these sewing projects. We bought the green one in the middle.

Some more of the beautiful children at the orphanage. They all love our translator, Natalia!

After teaching in the morning at the Professional Institute, we joined the Cleveland team at the Tokmok orphanage ---they were finishing their last day with the kids with two fun crafts.

Three of the youngsters, show off their "tie-dyed" socks. We had an interesting insight as the team started working on the socks....the children couldn't understand why we would ruin a good pair of socks. After they saw the final product, they realized the socks are still useable and will be fun to wear.

All the socks are hanging on the clothesline to dry....what an afternoon.

A full two weeks of work is almost over for the Cleveland team and we all took the opportunity to enjoy shaslik....a Krygyzstan special dish.

The Cleveland team - Jennifer, Michelle, Jessica, Ian and Catherine - a JOB WELL DONE!