Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another Prayer Request, but not for Myself

My mom is in the hospital again. She was sent to the ER on Thursday after her routine bloodwork showed abnormally low hematocrit. So low, in fact, they suspect internal bleeding.

Daddy called me Thursday night to say he had to be at the Philly airport at 7:30 the next morning, so could I be on standby to pick Mama up and take her home if she was released? Yes, I said, with Sarah's help, sure. He was going up to Philly to pick up houseguests from.....Russia!
Birobidjhan to be exact. (If you remember, my folks were packing for Biro when Mama was admitted for kidney stones last month.) I teased Daddy, "You know, you oughta just tell Upper Chesapeake to book her for the last Thursday of every month. It'd save a lot of time and paperwork."

When I didn't hear from him yesterday (Friday) I assumed all was well. Didn't call there for the sake of their jetlagged house guests. But Mama called this morning to say she is still in the ER, and will be receiving three units of blood today to get her levels up. She is not dizzy, confused , or in pain. Daddy was, of course, not with her but at church, leading shabbat service and letting the Birobidjani couple have the mic for special reports on what the Lord is doing over there.

My mom told me to keep bugging my doctor's office. "That's what they expect. That if you're desperate, you'll call every day. So call Monday, Tuesday, every day." I began to weep. Hate to do that when your mom is getting ready for a transfusion, but still your mom is your mom, your comforter.

" Mama, I just want someone to assure me I'm not gonna die from blood loss!" She told me I won't, but it may come to an emergency surgery if I can't get the Dr's attention.
And then she said, "Keep trusting that you're safe under God's wing. That you are right where you're supposed to be. I'll be praying His blessings on you."

Thanks, Mama. I needed that. It was the updraft I needed to catch as I fly toward a medical mountain.

Getting into the Nitty Gritty of Ministry

"You can't give what you don't have," Jaye continually reminded us. Sure, she meant it spiritually, but when I uploaded this picture, my first thought was, "Relief for the missionaries. You can't give what you don't have!"

Thus our introduction to Russian rest stops.

Can you believe you actually have to pay to "go" in this hole in the ground? Well, Mercy Ministries treated us. This stop was on their dime--er, ruble. They don't call themselves Mercy Ministries for nothin'. It was quite clean, honestly. I can't complain. Well, I can. Newsprint toilet paper was still the norm, even at upscale facilities like this one. The sink area outside the stalls were sparkling porcelain with plenty of nice smelling soap.

Toilet talk behind me, meet our small group.

The team had been administratively split ahead of time (by GAiN staff) into groups of four or five.
Left to right: Me ( Russian name)

Sarah (Sara with a rolled "r" and a "sorry" sound)

Sacha (a Polish girl's name, but the nickname of every Alexander in Russia)
Bev (Beff, as they called her...If she and I competed for Talker of the Year, I might actually take the red ribbon.)

Sacha was our leader and did a great job. She made wise decisions about who would do what on which days (Zoya--gospel bracelet; Beff-- picture pres; Sarah--ice breaker game; Sacha---follow up games.) The next day we'd switch around. Sacha was so good at flexing based on our input. Thanks, Sach!

On to our first area of ministry: prep work at Emmanuel Church. GAiN comes alongside local churches to deliver aid for physical needs and Bibles and Christian literature for spiritual needs. These are things that local churches can barely afford, but Americans have the financial means to help them. In so doing, long after the American missioniaries have left, the Russians are more receptive to spiritual help once they've received things like pencils, hankies, and toothbrushes.

Okay, so we'd each been prepping for weeks, months, or years for this mission, but still there's more to do.

In this case, we had to assemble 350 (400?) care packs for the week of ministry. Why weren't they assembled already, you ask? Why hadn't GAiN sent them ready-to-go from the PA Warehouse? Well, as we learned, some countries won't allow prepackaged things like this into the country based on customs restrictions. They have to determine what might be merchandise (and therefore taxable) what is aid (they'll take that free) and what would be called gifts (free, but one must pray that corruption in the customs dept doesn't mean your gifts get confiscated and never delivered as planned). Thank the Lord, all our goods, including the Christian literature got thru customs a short time before our trip, and was ready and waiting to be packaged in Ziploc bags when we got to Emmanuel Church.

Pictured on the left: Timor ("tea more"), assistant pastor of Emmanuel Church. His looks, mannerisms, and personality reminded me of someone from TV Land. I said to Sacha, "Is he a Russian Ricky Ricardo or what? I'm just waiting for him to say, "LUCEEEE! You got some 'splainin to do!!!!!"

On the right is Sergei, founder of Mercy Ministries and faithful member of Emmanuel Church. He and his wife have two darling boys, Phillipe and Sasha, with a little girl named Katya due in August. I am most fond of the name Katya because my Grandma Dauber's name was Kathryn and her family called her Katch. (The second baby I miscarried was named Hope Kathryn.) Sergei reminds me of a 32 year old Opie Taylor. Always a goofball, he liked to give us surprises. We soon learned to question his definition of "surprise." (He has shifty eyes and a mischievous grin at all times. Something funny always ready to come out of his mouth.)

Okay, so is today's surprise ice cream or hard labor?

Hard labor.

Not real hard, just time-consuming. Megan was a likeable take-charge sort who set up an assembly line and told who what to pack where. Journal, pen, toothbrush, paint set, hankie, teddy bear w/ gospel bead bracelet, pencil, and the like. Those of us who couldn't be on on our feet long got to sit and squeeze all the air out of the bags, count the bags per site request, and recount them because numbers were always flying around. For example, V- 3 was the third orphanage in Vladimir we'd visit, which needed 45 care packs. V-5 would need 80, and V-8 only 33. You know you're punchy when your whole group blurts out simultaneously , "Wish I coulda had a V-8!" Poor Linda was on the box that needed 80, and I can't tell you how many times she had to pack and repack that thing. She was getting flustered, which only made me want to laugh more, but seeing's as we were just getting to know each other, I tried to stifle myself. Really, I did. See, we weren't all working on one box quota at a time. Some of us were on V-5, some on V-3, and some got their V-8. Linda on V-5 would reach 44 and then hear a giddy girl call out, "We're done! Got 45 !" and of course that makes a packer of 80 wonder if she's off by one at midcount! So unpack, recount, tell the group to shush, repack, tell the group to shush-I'm not mad-I'm just concentrating---!"

Our assembly line.....

Forefront in white shirt: Faith H. Darling sweet girl. Second of seven kids, only she and her older brother are biological sibs. The rest were adopted and have special needs from autism to cerebral palsy.

Linda (in red) going crazy counting to 80 about 30 times. Lena (seated to Linda's right) squeezing the daylights out of the 300th bag. A former competitive figure skater, Lena has a killer figure. Not skinny, but not an inch of fat on her. Her secret? She never eats dinner. She never eats butter. She never eats...well, you get the picture. She was the one who kept us informed about what not to say. (Unfortunately, she didnt' always tell the whole group. I was walking along with her one day and she informed that "Who's" is a vulgarism in Russia. Our contraction for "who is" (hoos) is a bad, bad word over there. The other interpreter, Natasha, recalled the day her translation instructor punished the whole class one for the mistake of one who said "Who's.' She made them write out "Who is on duty?" 50 times. These are grown adults being made to write sentences like 3rd graders. (Who's on 3rd? :):):)) So ever after I tried really hard not to ask, "Who's Bible is this?" Hardly the combo of words a Christian missionary wants to fling about Russia.

God blessed our work with super speed. What the leaders expected to take 2 nights only took us one. I think it was because of the delicious chocolate and hot tea that the young boys delivered to us midway through. Chocolate in Russia is v'kuska! (Good tasting; yummy! Make that V'kuska balshoy! (VERY yummy!) Tea...oh, the tea. How I miss it. We bought only one box for home. What a mistake. There's nothing like their tea at 4:00. I really want to incorporate tea time into my daily routine. Invite a friend over to put her feet up with me and be refreshed before the Arsenic Hour of 5:00. Who wants to be my first tea time guest?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Foreign Facilities

Moscow hotel towels. Clean, but you were fortunate to get two that matched and less than, oh, seven years old. Notice the toilet paper on the wall--sort of--. Not bad if you like to wipe with NEWSPRINT!

The toilet. Lovely, lively green, eh? Take a look at the top of the tank. See that knob? Lift it up to flush the toilet. Nothing happened? Try again. Harder. Woops. What happened? I broke it off? Now what? After trying my hand at plumbing (yes, literally, very gross) I gave up, washed my hands like a surgeon with OCD, and then used the water from the sink/tub. (Yes, one pipe does it all, folks.) Flush the toilet with a heavy stream of sink water, then stand in the tub and to shower off, holding the very same wand. You will pride yourself in your ability to flex. You are a true missionary when Flex is your nickname--a proper noun--not a verb.

Now that I've shown you the facilities to which I grew rather close last week, I hereby formally invite you to attend my pity party. Come as you are, no dress code required. Food is more than welcome, gifts always accepted, but in my state of mind, you'd probably receive a low dose of thanks in proportion to your thoughtfulness.

Why the pity party? Because I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'm at the end of my physical and emotional reserves. I have no prayers left to pray except, "Help me, God!!!!Heal me!!! Help me!!! Heal me!!!! I can't take it anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The Purple Heart lady called. Marge is her name. We've been on a first name basis since the first time she called years ago to ask if I had any useable household items to donate. She calls about every six weeks. This time she woke me up from a nap. Mind you, it was 6:30 in the evening and she said, "You sound tired," and I said, "I am" and when she asked "what's wrong, hon?" I just wanted to cry. But you don't do that to the Purple Heart lady. She's got her calls to make. Maybe being a Z, I'm her last call. Anyway, I told her I'd probably need female surgery and she asked, "Upper or lower?" I would have chuckled had I been in the mood, but her simple question snapped me like a rubber band in the cheek. I was so caught up in my own selfishness. Of course I'd not given a moment's thought to the fact that I could be dealing with something much worse, so why don't I just shut up, okay? I also told her I still am dealing with jet lag from returning from Russia, and have my days and nights mixed up, and all she said was, "Good heavens, hon!"

It was actually kinda nice being "honned" twice in two minutes. She's the only one that "hons" me now that we're out of Balmer. (For you foreigners, native Baltimore women call everyone "hon". The grocery store clerk says, "That's 64 dolwers and eighty seb'n sints, hon." The drive-thru lady at Wendy's says, "Did you order a large Coake or a medeeum, hon?" You're nothing special to be honned. But if you're feeling weak, tired, lonely, or sick, "hon" is pretty darn endearing. )

I told Marge I didn't have the energy to put together donations this time.

" I understand, hon. Listen, you have a good night and a good 4th and good luck with your surgery, okay, hon?"


So then I was awake and went down to the basement, even though I hate doing stairs. It makes Matters worse. I just wanted to be near Paul. All the older kids are gone. It's Paul's birthday and he has no card, no cake, no nothing. I told him we had planned to celebrate w/ my sister Rachel this coming Monday.Do a joint b'day party since hers in on the 3rd. Jill would make R's cake, and I'd make Paul's fave b'day treat--coconut cream pie. (Rachel is coming from Texas and is probably in DC right about now w/ her family) . Plan A was to meet up at Broad Creek at Watson's cabin, a favorite hangout of ours when we were in seventh and eighth grade. But now we're gonna have to do Plan B--unless I am the only one to bow out and stay home-- and I don't really want to miss the only full day we have planned together.

I snuggled up against Paul on the sofa as he was playing the video version of Lego Star Wars w/ Joel. Bless his heart. What a dad. I curled up to him and said, "Honey, I can't take this anymore. I can't! I am so tired. So worn out. How can I wait till the 12th? They won't do anything but tell me to come back to have something done. I know there's not a daggone thing you can do about it, but I need some lovin' . Some good ole fashioned lovin'." Then I started crying. He was in the middle of the game and told Joel let's wrap it up.

Joel, precious sunshine, came over and hugged me tight.
"What's wrong, Mom?"
"Oh, I'm tired, honey. And sick. You wouldn't understand."
"I bet I would."
I chuckled the way he said it,all grown up like.
"You know, Mom, laughing makes you feel better." So he started pulling out all the tricks. Wiggled his ears, told me his interrupting pirate knock knock joke for the 330th time, and danced like a jerky mummy. I felt a little better.

I don't know if it's all men, or just some, but mine does not handle his wife's medical woes with great understanding. He did an OUTSTANDING job when I was a virtual invalid after Joel's birth, but since I can walk, roll over, and dress myself, I must not be that bad off. He took Joel for a test drive in an old car we're considering for Sarah. He doesn't attend pity parties and certainly not on his birthday. It's hard enough to admit your own body's falling apart, let alone your best friend's.

So if you want to join my party, rsvp in the comment box. Or leave a note saying you've got other plans which include praying for me. I'll understand.

More about Russia later, hon.

Out of Order...

I wrote a partial draft of this next installment a couple days ago, put it aside while filling in introductory posts, and want to post it today where you'd see it upon opening the Window. However, Blogger wants to put these posts in chronological order, by date written, not date posted. And I'm too tired (lazy?) to rearrange them.

So, please scroll down a little bit to the title "On a Wing and a Prayer" for my most recent chronicle.

Also...tidbits for you to know:

Today is my dear Paul's birthday. He shares it with Silas K. Maybe we could dub June 29th "Paul and Silas Day"??

If you are a man reading this post, please stop here. Click out of this window. Do not pass GO. Do not collect 200 dollars. The following paragraph is for WOMEN ONLY. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

Speaking of DUB (dysfunctional uterine bleeding) and the Apostle Paul, I PLEAD with you, my Christian sisters, to pray for me. It's gone from bad to worse. I'm pretty sure what I have was NOT the thorn in the side of which our late, great, brother Paul wrote. While touring Red Square (which was an apt description for my condition as well my surroundings) I knew I had to get home to the States and get checked out by a doctor. In my only email home, I begged Paul to call my mom to make an appt for me. (He did and she did.) It's July 12th, but I can't tell you how far away that date sounds. I'm hemorrhaging. Been losing blood every day for over a month now. Have dry, tingly feet and a hoarse voice. I looked up my symptoms online and they point to menorrhagia. Bless Sarah's heart, she went out and bought me the foods highest in iron (Total cereal, Raisin Bran, 2 bags of spinach, Cream of Wheat) and an iron supplement. I continue to take progesterone, which helps a tad bit. I'm trying to stay off my feet, which isn't hard considering how tired and sleepy I am. The sleepiness comes on as if you'd just put a mask of nitrous oxide to my face. In Vladimir, I had the great support of all my women team members, including one nurse my mom's age. She was an answer to prayer. One gal needed "stuff" from the drug store, as did an interpreter, so I asked if they'd please pick up a box for me. Didn't matter how many rubles it cost, I was desperate. They came back with a box for each of us. One of the gals said, "They told me we bought the last 3 boxes in Vladimir, and there's none in Moscow." Yeh, sure. Moscow out of tampons? The city whose Kremlins have protected her people from bloodshed for millenia cannot protect her women on a monthly basis? Hmph! Well, I might not believe it, but I'm glad I'm prepared, just in case. We laughed and I paid her the nearly 73 rubles without blinking.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Please Visit Sarah's Blog--and Sacha's, Too!

She and I will be blogging sort of parallel, but from different vantage points, of course. Please zip on over to her blog to read her first two posts thus far.

Sacha, our dear sister in Christ from our church, was with us on our team and in our small group.In fact, she did a great job as our leader for the small group. Thanks, Sacha. She is still waiting for her luggage, lost somewhere between Moscow and London. Read her stories on her blog.

The Journey Begins: Day 1


100 of us met at JFK Airport. Some went to Ukraine, some to Siberia, some to Kursk, and the rest of us to W. Russia.

Is it a half-moon against a dark sky?
No, it's Sarah's profile in silhouette.

When you are your own paparazzi,
you've got a vanity problem.

I'd never been in a jet so big.

It struck me funny how
we mark off our own little plots
of land with fences and hedges.
The farther from these
self-made barriers I got,
the closer I felt to God.

Friday, June 15, 2007 at 3 a.m. I zipped up the last of five suitcases, after packing and repacking to make it all fit. We weren't expecting the box of aid that came for Sacha to carry. It was a mistake, in human terms; she was in Wales, and we had only asked for one ministry suitcase because of my physical limitations.

But God had sent that box. Baby towels, gospel bead bracelets, 100 travel size shampoos for an orphanage, Beanie Bears with the gospel bead bracelets around their necks, and a note of explanation in Russian. Gospel aprons for the cooks. It was all for His kingdom, so "where there's {His} will, there's a way." We used every cubic inch of space available. I fell into bed exhausted but joyful.

Later that day, I pull out my blank journal and write:

This journal is a travel log bought especially for our mission trip to Russia with GAiN (Global Aid Network). June 15-25, 2007

As I begin, I'm filled with thankfulness and joy to the Lord. This trip is for You, Jesus. I want to share in Your sufferings. How special to share this memorable experience with my only daughter, Sarah Grace. Surely she will bear the fruit of her name as "mother of nations" or "princess"--daughter of the King. Not only are we ambassadors, we are related to the King! May we represent You in every way. Sarah is sitting across from me reading her Bible. I just finished Psalm 97 (98?) One verse says, "Light is shed on the righteous." (You are shedding Your light, it's not being shed by me.) A few verses after, "Let the righteous rejoice." I am totally rejoicing. I am a missionary. I've waited all my life to be a foreign missionary!! Thank You for preparing me as a home missionary. It is good to be the mother of children who know You and walk in your truth.

We are in the Dulles (Washington DC) airport, gate B24, waiting for flight 1306 on Jet Blue. It's 12:00 noon; we leave at 12:45. Got here so smoothly, no traffic snarls--Paul was calm and happy. Gave us hugs, kisses, said a prayer, and then left so he'd only have to pay the $4 for one hour parking! :)

8:40 pm -We took off an hour late [on our internatinal flight] and have been in the air since 7:30. At the airport we met up with our group and took pictures randomly. Everyone seems so joyful. I love that love is evident already!

Take-off is a blast. I love anticipating it. Then the sound of the engines revving up and the feel of speed beneath us and the lifting off the ground. Tiny dots of houses crowded together, with a dot of a pool behind some of them. New York from the air is beautiful. So many islands, small green amoeba-shaped bits of green with sandy borders. When we got up in the air pretty far, I saw a wispy cloud go by. It was like a silent white whisper, and I leaned my face closer to the window.

"God, what did You say?"
"I love you," He whispered.
Then quickly another wispy whisper. "I love you!"

I read just this morning, "The Lord is surrounded by clouds and darkness. " I remembered Feb 28, 2002, when He spoke to me in the darkness by sending glorious moonlight to shine on the earth and through the windows into my fear of the dark. Now He has spoken through clouds!

On a Wing and a Prayer : Evening of Day 1

My favorite seats on an airplane are right on the wing or just barely behind it. I love the perspective. The power in the wings, the albatross stretching across the sky, high above the clouds, where only sun or moon light the sky. Seeing the new colors God has chosen to put on His invisible paintbrush. Gold. Pewter. Violet. Rose. Close your eyes for a little sleep, and wake up to find He has experimented for His own good pleasure, only to share it with you. Peaches and plums glowing beneath a periwinkle canopy.

Such a palette I admired in the sunset as Aeroflot Flight 316 soared like an eagle above the New York Harbor, over the mountains of New England and the icy islands of Nova Scotia that flirt with the Canadian coast.

The only interruption to my skygazing? Dinner being served in the aisle. Seated in 34G &H, we had to be patient, which isn't difficult if you're familiar with airplane food. It's kind of like being so hungry after giving birth that you'll eat almost anything, even if you don't recognize it.

From my journal:

Dinner was good, actually....Tender beef with gravy and scalloped potatoes, broccoli, tuna salad, block cheese, bread and butter, tiramisu, and hot tea. When I was finished I asked Sarah, "Won't this plane smell fun in a half hour?" She laughed and asked if she had broccoli in her teeth. Funny that I wrote THAT question on my blog (as a joke) about phrases I need to learn in Russian.

I'm trying to sleep but children's faces and names (I've not met them yet) are heavy on my heart.

Sarah, my precious and only daughter, adjusted her little orange pillow on my left shoulder and lay her head down. I recalled the days when she was a little girl falling asleep on my shoulder in church, failing in her desired attempts to stay awake and hear God's Word being preached. What a comfort to know that His Word sinks into our spirits even when our frail bodies and weak eyes can't resist rest. I lay my head on top of hers and wished for sleep.

But sleep evaded me. Evasion with a holy purpose, though: God alerted me to pray. I didn't mind, because the joy of hearing from God can't be compared to sleep. I began to pray, to ask God what He wanted me to hear. Immediately He began to give me a name and then a characteristic. One after another. So I paused, grabbed my little green journal, and jotted down what He had said to that point.

Oddly, most of the names were not Russian, but the characteristics were so specific. I'll give the descriptions in a moment, but I will tell you my hand was trying to keep up with fast pace of the Spirit pressing me to pray and to keep my spiritual eyes open for certain needy people on the trip.

Again, from my journal, fast scrawling notes:

{I hear the} words "Endeavor to meet all with joy. Move about the crust/crusty.
Give ______ dollars to pastor's pregnant wife due in July with 3rd child.
Vision of woman making pie crust. She is crusty herself, hardened by the heat of poverty and exhaustion. bitter but starting to notice beauty and wanting it; like a flower in dry hard clay she blooms anyway. Look for this woman. "

It feels so peaceful in this plane. The Spirit of God is active as all these GAiN folk are here... I guess we're taking turns sleeping and praying but I feel utterly carried as if I just caught an updraft on eagle's wings. Out the window--pure clouds like a complete fog. I can't see a thing but the pilot can. If I didn't believe that, I'd be a mess.

Words of knowledge from the Lord on the plane:

Daniel-about 6, ear problem

Emily--afraid, very!

Alexander-trying to be bold-bless him to be like Alexander the Great-but not for earthly kingdom--conquering sin, fear--a vessel to be filled for future missions to nations

Dirk-troubled youth--lots of questions, clammed up, needs safety and love--motherly love

Erika--wants a pet; shy

Latiana--joyful spark

Shel--an adult? older teen? don't know--inquisitive about Jesus.

Breakfast on Aeroflot to Moscow: Jimmy Dean Bacon Egg Cheese Biscuit, fruit cocktail, KitKat bar and hot tea. Praise: No problem with cheese!
Getting thru customs: Didn't have to! We got to go as a group thru the Green Channel--no questions asked!
Passport Control--no questions asked.

One little Russian boy (about 3 or 4 years old) got lost in the airport while we waited in our passport control lines. (In queue, as they said so cutely over there.) A Russian tourist lady knelt down to talk to this young child (his big tear and fears on his face). Then she called out something in Russian. (No answer.) Then, cupping her mouth with her hands as if holding a megaphone, she calls out in English to this 1/4 acre of people, "Deed anybotty loose a keed?" (Laughter all around.) Within seconds a distraught, white-haired grandmother claims him, hugs him, scolds him, takes his little hand and all is well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We're Back Home!

It's so good to be back home, and so good to know that some of God's family here want to read of our adventures in God's hands overseas.

We left DC at 12:45 pm, flew to New York to meet the entire GAIN team (some of whom were headed to Siberia, some to Kursk,Russia and some to Vladimir , Russia. (Again, you pronounce it VlaDEEMer, as in rhyming with ReDEEMer.)

Aerial view of Washington, DC around noon
Sarah and me at JFK airport (just before a nap)
Our team in silhouette at JFK while awaiting departure
Sunset over New York Harbor as seen from our window seat

Spaceeba balshoy (thank you very much) to those of you who are genuinely eager to hear our reports. We were warned in our last debriefing that many folks just won't care enough to ask more than the perfunctory "How was your trip?"- so we were advised how to answer and how to proceed if all we got back in response was, "Good! Glad you're home" and that's it. To prepare our hearts for people's polite nonchalance when our hearts are full to the popping level. So to come home and read the 4 comments of people enthusiastically waiting, my heart is warmed. I know more of you are eager, too, by the comments left on previous posts.

Where do I start? From right now? From when we left? I can't decide, so I'll do both. I'll use that confusing "flashback and forward" method that authors and filmmakers love to use. My heart and mind are too full to be able to adequately and succinctly express what the Lord has done, let alone put stuff in chronological order. But since this is my blog, and I can't see your eyes roll or your checking your watch, I'm just gonna write to my own heart's content. You have the option of clicking off whenever you're bored. So we're both satisfied!

Let me start with how I felt coming home. I could have spent a lot longer in Vladimir. I wasn't the least bit homesick, but wished the rest of the family could've joined us there. However, that wasn't in God's plans or anyone else's, for that matter. So we left Moscow at 2:20 PM Monday ( 6:20 AM EST) had a LONG layover at JFK in New York, then arrived at Washington-Dulles at 12:25 a.m EST.
Of course, by the time we got to America, I was doing all I could not to jump off the plane and run to Paul's wating arms. He actually got to the curb at the same time we'd collected our baggage. He had sent Stephen inside to help us--but he had gone in one door while we went another, totally missing each other. When Paul got out of the van --OH!!-- did he look GOOD! Mmm, mmmm, mmm! We hugged fast and tight (you know how it is when the curb cops are shooing peeople away). I went back inside to find Stephen, and when we reunited, he gave me a tight hug and welcomed me home sincerely. How sweet of him to come along at midnight to help with heavy bags. (Ben was at the ocean with the Panzers and other friends, I soon found out, which was why he wasn't there. Joel looked so big to me, and ultra sweet and soft. )

Getting into the van, I inhaled the smell of leather seats . What a smooth and quiet vehicle! "Sarah, isn't this the most luxurious ride we've had in 10 days?" I asked. She answered with something like, "Luxury doesn't matter. I'd rather be back on a rickety Russian bus."
I understood.

So finally, after about 18 hours of being jostled from there to here in a full-upright and locked position by bus, plane, shuttle, and van, we pulled into the driveway at 2 a.m.

When I opened my eyes and saw our house, my first reaction was, "This is a MANSION! Does only one family live here?' I felt materially super rich for the first time in my life.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hallelujah and Fasten Your Seatbelt! We're Headin' for Russia!

I can hardly believe the trip is tomorrow! It's been a long and glorious wait, with one blessing after another to fill a book! Thank you all so much for all your prayers, your financial support, the yard sale, and food (you know who you are!).

Our itinerary:
Friday June 15th Lv Dulles at 12:45p, Ar JFK 1:57p by Jet Blue Airways
Lv JFK at 6:40p AEROFLOT flight 316 to Moscow (for 9hr, 40 min)
Spend Saturday checking in hotel, resting up, shopping, spend night I PLAN TO TAKE SARAH"S SENIOR PICTURE IN MOSCOW. She is an architecture NUT! And what a unique place to have one's sr picture done, huh?

Sunday -church , check out, ride 2 hr by bus to Vladimir
check in hotel, get our separate assignments for the week,
we put all our gifts for the children togerher, inventory what we have and what each site needs, then make up gift bags.
Pray a lot, ask the veteran missionaries all kinds of questions, pray some more, put up mosquito netting at room window if nec.
Monday-Saturday: each day a different location
Baby and Toddler House; youth camp; orphanage; youth prison
Wed and Thurs night 3 of us will have dinner at a diff host's home (loooking forward to this: Pray I find out the special reason God t told me to take a HARMONICA to the man of the household that is not getting the quilt. (Ask Mitzy if you're confused.)
Sarah, Sacha, and I will have 2 more ladies in our small group.
We are on the ORANGE BUS. Ministry teams are split up by bus color.
You can read stories as they get posted on the GAIN website blog.
Sunday: Bus Back to Moscow

MOnday Fly home, leaving Moscow at 2:20 P, Flight 315..................arrive JFK around 5pm (Remember these are local times; the time differnce is 8 hours. If it's 8 am in Balto, it's 4 pm in Moscow. So pray before you go to bed cuz we'll be starting a new day!!!) We have a long layover till fly to Dulles , arriving 12:16 AM (wee early morning) PRAY FOR PAUL"S SAFETY and SANITY as he drives the Balto and DC beltways!!!

Pray we get to our destinations with peace. I won't say w/ o complications (they're in God's hands).
Pray we remember our mission. It's not about us. Pray we remember we're sharing in the sufferings of Christ. We're not on vacation.
Pray we remember we're not the Savior. Jesus is.
Pray our English words are properly interpreted to make sense to the hearers and are gracious to their ears.
Pray we don't offend anyone with our ignorance of their culture.
Pray we don't pick up or give any diseases.
Pray nothing gets lost or stolen, but if it does, that we will remember it's just stuff anyway.
Pray for good weather so we can play outside with the kids.
Pray I can adopt a baby without any paperwork and that Paul will be okay with that. :) What's one more child?
Pray our presentations are smooth and that they bear fruit.
Pray that people who had extra room in their suitcase as of this afternoon were able to pack in some last-minute requests for baby clothes (email came at 3pm).
Pray for perseverance, endurance, joy, and that we'd be moment by moment aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Pray for anything else God puts on your heart, even if it doesn't make sense to you.
Pray the gifts we bring will bring smiles and be just right for each recipient.
Pray JOel doesn't cry too much. Pray for special male bonding instead.
Pray my older boys actually miss me a little!
Pray for Paul as he mans the fort. He plans to take off and do some fun stuff like go to the beach.
Pray no one in my immediate or extended family gets sick enough that I have to be called.

Must go! Still not fully packed!!!! Love you all.
Please know I love to fly. There is nothing as thrilling as knowing you are totally at God's mercy. It's a rush to me to take off, stay up in the air, land. If we crash, I would hope to die and wake up seeing Jesus. But I really want to come back and tell you guys all about the wonders God has wrought and how much more in love we are with the Lord by having shared in his sufferings and been led all the way.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We Need Shipment

I ordered 144 little plastic gemstone rings for girls and that many rubber bouncy balls for the boys from Oriental Trading Co. They were supposed to come the 11th (two days ago). The shipment also contained patriotic stuff for the party, but I ended up going to the Factory Card Outlet to make up for that part of the shipment.

The rings and balls are all I'm lacking for gifties but it's a HUGE portion of the mission. I am so looking forward to it. At Oriental Trading you can get a lot of identical items in bulk for a very reasonable price. But if they don't come in, I'll be scrounging for truly last-minute gifts and paying a hefty price. It'd be worse than showing up empty-handed on Christmas at the nieces' and nephews' homes, cuz at least they would've gotten stuff from parents.

Please pray our package comes tomorrow. We leave Friday way before the mail arrives and I want to be packed completely by sundown. tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

One more thing...

My neighbor Sue is coming tonight. As yet unsaved, a native New Yorker so 9/11 hit personally. She's VERY supportive of troops. Please pray for us both.

ER Visit Last Night; Party Today

Jsut a quick update. I don't have time for this but need the prayer.

I couldn't get any GYN to see me as a new patient before August 1st, I was falling apart emoitionally. Called my prayer warrior friend Therese who I can always count on to warmly receive my calls and, because of being a PT, has certain medical connections that make her a walking gift in times like these. Besides, she is the one person who always asks, "Are you okay?" and I fall apart. It's like the Spirit of God connects with my rawest (most raw?) feelings when SHE asks the questions. Then she had words of scripture and a verbal prayer on the spot. Then she told me the best bet was the ER where tests could be run and treatment advised, questions answered right away.

Sarah dropped me off, Paul showed up a little later.

The first thrill/scare I had was when I asked the nurse, "Did you run a test to see if I'm pregnant." When she said, "Yes" I said, "I am?" and whirled around to Paul who was stunned, but quickly the nurse yes, 'Yes I ran the test, but no you're not pregnant." Whew. A brief thrill, but considering my condition resembled a miscarriage, I was VERY relieved. Not to mention Paul's relief because let's just said it would have defied the odds. Nuff said 'bout that.

They did a sonogram. The diagnosis is Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB for the ZUB, Bonnie teased.) Basically it's unexplained, common, and treatable thing that women of any age can get. They put me on progesterone to stop it, and want me to follow up when I get back. May need a D&C. But we'll cross that bridge after I've crossed the Atlantic the second time.

I am hosting the OGW Welcome Home Party tonight. I got home at 1 this morning , got a good ngiht's sleep, woke at 6:45 and went out for Rx. I feel weak, tired, snappy at the kids. The party decorations did not arrive in the mail from Oriental Trading. Supposed to have arrived y'day, so I need to make a trip out for patriotic tablecloths and stuff. I am excited, but drained. The scripture God has led me to thru my own quiet time, plus words from Bonnie, Therese, and Vicki, have had a theme: being carried on eagles' wings. Psalm 91 and Isaiah 40:31. I found out thru study that eagles have 350,000 cartilage like thingies in each wing that makes them so strong. I needed that image last night when I was in the ER, adn thanked God I had it.

The ER team of St. Joe's was wonderful. All very nice and attentive and professional. All got along well with each other. A nun spoke at 9 over the loud speaker,"Let us pray. Good night , Lord, and thank you for keeping us safe another day. Bless us and refresh us as we sleep and wake us refreshed tomorrow." That is soemthing you don't hear at most hospitals in this country. It was so peaceful.

More prayers coming. Pray my BIL is blessed with a memorable, honoring party tonight.

PS I'm not gonna edit this. It is waht it is.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Crunch Time Prayer Requests

I am feeling the pressure and excitement now. This trip ranks number 5 in my most eagerly anticipated events of my life, behind getting married and birthing four children. Nine months in the actual anticipation, and now we're down to the last week. WE LEAVE FRIDAY!

Here's what's on my heart, tempting me to be anxious, but which I am running to the Lord with instead. I would appreciate your linking arms with me and thank you so much who have been faithfully supporting us in prayer thus far.

1) Shouldn't be number 1 but it is. I have a Luke 5:25 problem. Hasn't lasted 12 years, but closer to 3 weeks now. No pain, but fast weight loss (yay!) and occasional bouts of lightheadedness. Not much fatigue, but I am craving iron big time. Please pray for wisdom. I haven't seen a GYN since Joel was 9 weeks old. Fear from what happened during his birth has driven me far from health care providers, namely of that specialty. So I don't have a regular GYN, and even if I did, he or she would probably want to run tests or give me hormone meds . Mess with hormones right before an international flight and 10 day trip? AAACHK!Nor do I have time to squeeze a doctor's appointment in this week. I want to be healed without meds. Last night I could almost picture touching the hem of Jesus' garment. Desperate, begging, hopeful.Laurie prayed for me at church and used the same passage from scripture to speak in faith. Thanks, friend.

2) Logistics of the week. It looks like this in a nutshell: shop, clean, hope my visa and int'l tickets come, find a way to take a piece of luggage I didn't find out about until today. GAIN sent stuff for Sacha (a suitcase worth for orphans) but she's in the UK; let Sarah and STephen sleep in and not beg them for help. They'll be home after midnight from Boston, after a day in church and a block party up there, then a 10 hour drive. Mabye 3 a.m will be more like it. I pick them up when they get back to the church. Hope party goods from Oriental Trading shows up. Also goodies ordered from them to take to the orphans. PLEASE PRAY GRACE ON SARAH. She will have just 4 days between trips, and I know she's been anxious at times about preparing well. She is not a procrastinator but an efficient plodder. But her presentation was not finished when she left.
Tuesday: Trip's Welcome Home Party. Girls arrive 4:30 to decorate. Trip arrives at 6. Some of the littlest girls would rather play w/ each other than help; pray I have patience with them. And joy no matter what happens. I bought 9 little flags for the Operation Gummi Worms kids to wave as Trip comes down the street. I am going to ask their sibs who want to bang on pots, pans, and portable drums. WE'll have a cookout (pray grlll works; it always has), a Photo with the Hero session., Q &A, prayer over him, give him welcome home cards they've made, and then hopefully when the kids leave, some time with just Andrea and Trip,. I haven't seen Andrea in a couple of years. Haven't seen Trip since 1999. They've been in town since June 6 but spending time with his side of the family and /or my parents.
WEds; laundry and pack, pack, pack. Clean up rest of party. Get all new cash bills. Only newest 20s and 100s are accepted over there. Also need to get the van in for AC repair. I may postpone that. Prayer request would be for peace and energy.
Thurs: finalize packing and practice our presentations to the family, if they want. So far not a whole lot of interest in what we're actually going to share with the kids. Ben, in fact, keeps asking, "When ya leaving? I can't wait!' Thanks, son . I'll miss you, too. A decent night's sleep. Yeah, yeah, I know I can sleep on the plane, but I need sleep in order to process from sun-up to sundown, when we get the air.
Friday: smooth send=off. NO MAJOR TEARS FROM JOEL. We leave Dulles (Washington DC) at 12:45 pm. Between here and there are 2 horrendous beltways to navigate, and my hubby is not excited at all about that, even though he's a great chauffeur. Aggressive and savvy on the road, but not without sweat. (My sweat.)
We arrive at JFK Int'l in NY at 1:57. Jet Blue Airways. Paul and Stephen will help w/ luggage to security gates; after that Sarah and I need strength for 5 suitcases and 2 backpacks. Such pressure is rough on my interiors, let me put it that way. I am so glad bags are wheeled!
Pray we meet our GAIN coordinators easily at our destination. All 100 of us are meeting at JFK. (Pray all goes well w/ customs. )
Some of the missionaries go to Ukraine, some to Siberia. Only 15 of us are going to W. Russia, but we all fly into Moscow together and spend the first night before heading separate ministry locales. Pray for everyone, please. Many have been before; many, like us, are rookies. Pray for bonding.

That's all for now. I look around and see so much to do. I need wisdom as to what doesn't need to be done as well. I'm so eager to hear from Sarah and STephen, too. I doubt I'll sleep much tonight, but the Lord is good. I got a long nap today (my usual Sunday) and can function on 4 or 5 hours when I know I can crash the next afternoon. I just don't foresee being free to crash tomorrow afternoon!

If you have any words of wisdom, advice for smooth travel, prophetic words, scripture or anything you think would help me, please say so! I consider every one of you an instrument of mercy from God!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

EEsoos Khristos LYUbeet Vas

Jesus loves you. That's the Russian phrase I mastered this morning. I've been working on the list of about a dozen helpful phrases.

Try these. They're the ones I've tackled thus far. (These are the English phonetic spellings, of course; Russian has a different alphabet which I'm not attempting. Yet, anyway.)

Yes .................................................Da

No ...............................................Nyet

Hello ..................................................ZDRAST vootya

Goodbye .............................................DAS viDAHN'ya

Thank you..........................................SpaSEEba

Please or You're Welcome...............Pa ZHALsta

Good day............................................Dobray dean

I don't understand........................... YA ne panee MYoo (think "yawny pawny my-oo")

How much? .......................................SKOLKA? (as in "how much does this cost?")

Eesoos Khristos LYUbeet Vas...... Jesus loves you.

Boh LYUbeet Vas........................... God loves you.

There are a few more I'm working on:

1) Where's the bathroom? I know it ends in "toilette" so I think I'll just ask "Toilette?" and hope they point!

2) What is your name?

3) My name is Zoanna.

4) Nice to meet you.

5) Good morning.

6) It's free.

7) This is a free gift.

Those are the ones that came in our notebook. I'd also like to learn these:

1) This means so much to me.
2) Your children are precious.

3) You have a beautiful family.

4) Do I have broccoli in my teeth?

5) I'm very much enjoying your country.

6) This is my daughter, Sarah.

7) These are pictures of my family. I miss them.

8) I hope to return someday.

9) Please read this Bible every day. It contains the words of eternal life.

10) I know I'm fat. Tell me I'm beautful.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Blessings Requested

Jaye Walstead is our Project Manager who's been working tirelessly to arrange the details of our agenda in Russia. (I don't know why I used the word "tirelessly" -- always thought the is probably a misleading, because you know there's no such thing.)

One of the latest emails is a request she forwarded from three staff members who work full-time overseas. They have asked for special items they either cannot get or cannot afford there.
My finances are maxed out for the trip, but I would love to take one thing for each staffer that'll pack easily.

I picked up Sun Ripened Raspberry lotion for Leana. The other two staffers are McNick (what a name) and Igor Kostuk. I'm posting this request in case any of you would like to send something along. Please leave a comment or call me ASAP so I can let her (Jaye) know they're spoken for. We don't want to double up on gifts at least until the list has been fulfilled once!

Thanks. And feel no obligation other than to obey if the Holy Spirit prompts a last-minute practical way to take care of His laborers in the field.

The requests are:

French Vanilla Coffee
2 pullover summer shirts for a boy , size 8/9
Jeans 32x32, black, Wrangler, regular fit. Sold at Target.
Teenager's jeans size 30x32, black OR blue

Simply let me know in the comment box or my phone. Thank you!!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

When's the last time You Shared the Whole Gospel?

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Once again, when I sat down to practice explaining the gospel by means of the color coded bead bracelet that every child we meet in Russia will get, I was staring in the face of forgetfulness. Oh, I can go through the meaning of each color, but to hook the exact scripture reference with it? Well, I am rusty to say the least. Thank God salvation doesn't depend on being able to quote chapter and verse. I remember a fun thing we did in Harford Christian School, where I went from fifth thru tenth grades. It was called Bible Quiz Team. You had to memorize something like 100 verses verbatim and audition to be on the team, and in the spring was the intramural competitions. Not just Bible , but all kinds of academic and music and speech stuff. I didn't make the team; I think I bombed out after about 5 rounds which included 60 verses. Of course KJV was the only version accepted at the school, but I must admit, I love the sound of the KJV. Anyway, I didn't win the blue ribbon, but how good it was to have those words of eternal life planted in my heart when I was young.

But I digress. Man! I can't even talk about talking about the gospel without digressing. Devilish scheme!!! But I serve the Victor. The Word Himself. He asks us to hide His Word in our hearts so that we might not sin against him. (Some of us on the team lost sight of that verse, I think, or at least its meaning. We functioned under the purpsoe of hiding verses in our heart so that we could beat Arlington Baptist.)

Tonight went and bought what I think is the last of our friendship gifts. I can get so carried away shopping for people who can't afford the little luxuries like lip gloss, hand cream, and a manicure set. I bought a harmonica, too. Seriously, Not at Bath & Body Works, tho.

Which doesn't belong in this list? Hand cream, manicure set, lip gloss, harmonica. Well, Class?

Why is "harmonica" not a wrong answer? ? Because, as I asked the Lord what to take one of the dinner host families , I sensed He said, ""Get a harmonica. They need music in the house." So , odd at it was, I went into Music Land and bought a harmonica for $6.95. I wanted 100 kazoos, too, but they were a buck apiece!

Tuesday was glorious. Pics coming soon. The FedEx man trudged under the weight of a fifty pound suitcase he delivered to our door. It was from the Global Aid Warehouse in Mount Joy, PA. How apt the name, Mount Joy, I thought. There were 100 Beanie bears with gospel bead necklaces tied around around their necks which I heaped high for pictures; it gave them some fresh air, and you know what? I thought I heard one of them squeal, "Oh, joy!" There were also 35 mini shampoos, about 20 baseball caps, 15 gospel aprons for the kitchen workers, and letters for customs about the contents being for humanitarian aid. The only problem? The suitcase is not on wheels. It's one of those old, old kinds with a short, vinyl handle. I may have mercy on Sarah and find a wheeled one dirt cheap to save her back. Ordinarily I would also be toting a mission suitcase, but I declared medical reasons for needing a light one, and they opted to not send one. Yay for me, I get to pick out my own lightweight gifts for my 2nd checked bag!

Okay, Okay. I'm going to bed. Will post pics later.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Humor Not in Uniform

I just submitted this one to Reader's Digest. Who knows? It might just earn me some book money for the fall.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Enemy is Active

At this point I am supposed to be gathering 3-4 color pictures (8x10) of people and/or things to help me make a brief presentation that includes a short testimony at each of the sites we'll be visiting in Vladimir. (FYI, they pronounce it VlaDEEMer to rhyme with reDEEMer, not like I've always heard it, VLADiMEER).

It's taken me this long to realize the Enemy is stepping up his activity. I have been round the old red barn trying to think of pictures to illustrate my coming to Christ. My mom was most instrumental. So I have a photo of her, but what about the rest of the shots? I am overthinking this.

Please pray that the weapons being formed against me (and Sarah and everyone else on the team) will not prosper. The admin part is time-consuming, but does not rattle my interior. Trying to relay my testimony through pictures is proving much harder than I thought. I need support for this today. I need peace, and more. My tech savvy kids are out of town, but I know the problems are not just technical.

I also need my visa today, and my new glasses ( dare I admit they are bifocals!) to arrive so I can adjust to them.

Monday, June 04, 2007

"I am Strong When I am on Your Shoulders"

I caught this shot Sunday afternoon. Can you see the fear and excitement on this little brother's face? Joel kept saying, "Don't drop me, Ben! Don't drop me!"
Ben reassured him over and over, "I've got you. Don't be scared."
It reminded me of the line from a song I like. The line says, "and I am strong when I am on Your shoulders..."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Prayers Needed

1) My dad went to the ER last night. A part of his hearing aid had fallen off and got imbedded in the ear canal.
2) My Sarah and Stephen as they're on a weeklong missions trip with their junior/senior class to serve King of Grace Church in Boston. Sarah wrote about
her excitement, heart issues, and other stuff last night.
3) Administrative grace. See post below. I am feeling almost paralyzed by the myriad details that need attention over the next 13 days. Admin is not my strength. I can mobilize people and things during a natural disaster, but tell me to pull off two big events in one month and I'm mush.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

You Can Still Give If You Want To

Dear Blogging Friends,
The follownig is an email (edited for brevity) from Tim Burns, one of the coordinators of our trip. Sarah, Sacha, and I are on the Orange Bus with a bunch of people. (Hence the greeting.) I am writing for 2 reasons:
1) to give you a rundown of our scheduled time over there and
2) to ask if you'd want to contribute to the needs requested by orphanages over there.

Sarah and I are really excited about the BABY HOUSE!

Greetings Orange Bus –

In addition to Jaye’s email about our Russian staff, I wanted to let you know of some of the special needs and requests given to us from the sites we will be visiting, along with some expected attendance numbers. As you look over the listing, please keep several things in mind:

(1) We are extremely grateful for all the time, finances, and energy you’ve put into this mission already – and we know that God is our ultimate Provider. What He wants the sites to have, He’ll provide for them.
(2) Some of these gifts we won’t be able to carry over with us. Things like books and developmental games need to be in Russian, and purchased overseas…and I don’t know how good of a packer you are, but I don’t know of anyone who can fit a water heater in 55 linear inches of baggage. J Some of these may be items that we’ll be purchasing in Russia with special offerings that we’ll receive as the Lord guides us to do so (which we’ll leave with the local church to purchase later). Of course, this provides a wonderful opportunity for people in your church who want to participate in the mission to have an impact through providing funds for you to take for them.
(3) Some of these items are being purchased in advance (though I don’t have information on which ones) – so we don’t have to feel the burden of bringing along every single item with us. The best thing to do is seek the Lord regarding these requests & follow His leading on what to bring.

With that, I think you have the idea. On a more practical level, if God gives you an opportunity to provide sports equipment like soccer balls or other inflatable items, you’re obviously going to need to deflate them for transport and inflate them when you get in-country again…so you’ll want to bring a small pump along with you that can be left with the facility the equipment is donated to.

Also – you’ll notice on Friday we’ll be ministering in a Baby House (orphanage strictly for babies & toddlers). Our Pennsylvania Distribution Center & Warehouse was able to send 100 bibs for the orphanage to use (praise the Lord!), but we’ll need an additional 20 bibs to cover the need. Perhaps one or several of us could bring this over as the Lord leads. (And as you can see from the request, they’re asking for baby toys too.)

Two more things before getting to the list: do you have people praying for you? I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. After our own personal prayer and devotional times, this is probably the most important thing we could set up in advance.

May God continue to bless you as you prepare to serve Him through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Because of Christ,
Tim Burns

Soudzal Orphanage #3 (Monday, June 18)
30 kids, 3-4 years old
42 staff

Vladimir City Sanatorium #2 (Tuesday, June 19)
105 kids, 3-8 years old
78 staff
Assembly is planned
Requested sports equipment: badminton, balls (large & small), volleyball net, basketball goal, table-tennis
Other requested items: outside toys for young children, legos, games, puzzles, recorder for speech therapist, shovels for landscaping, small tape recorders

Social Rehabilitation Center (Tuesday, June 19)
40 kids, 7-14 years old
62 staff
Assembly & small groups planned
Request: sports equipment, developmental games, small soccer & hockey games, legos

Loukhtanovo Special Boarding School for orphans (Wednesday, June 20)
65 kids
83 staff
Assembly & small groups planned
Request: sports equipment, developmental games, cleaning supplies

Center of Social Help to Families & Children (Wednesday, June 20)
60 children
35 families
6 staff
Request: Water buckets & brooms

Rehabilitation Center for children under 18 years old (Thursday, June 21)
(half the group to attend)
17 kids, 10-18 years old
28 staff
Americans need to have passports
Asking for creative games & balloon-sculptures (animals, etc)
Requests: sports equipment, t-shirts & shorts to be used as uniforms for events, books

Center of temporary isolation of minors-delinquents (Thursday, June 21)
(half the group to attend)
13 kids, under 18 years old
48 staff
Americans need to have passports
Asking for testimonies/lessons from people about dangers of smoking & alcohol
Requests: developmental board games, toilet paper, slippers (rubber made), hand/face towels, dark t-shirts, books

Baby House in Vladimir (Friday, June 22)
108 kids, most under 2 years old
205 staff (60 per shift)
Requests: water heaters, infant toys, bibs

Home visits of needy families from “Mercy” fund (Friday, June 22)
6 families
10 children
We’ll be splitting up into 6 groups for the visits