The first weekend of the second project was an LST event called "Friends Camp," which was held at a retreat center called Pushe Voditsa, about 20 minutes outside of Kyiv. Pushe Voditsa is known in Kyiv as one of the best places to get fresh air, and, honestly, I did hear several people remark, "Just smell that air! It's not like the air in the city." After a while, I even adopted the phrase as a good way to start conversations.
Another team of five Americans came to Kyiv just to host Friends Camp, and they coordinated the activities and games of the weekend and led the discussion groups on the parables of Jesus. On the left are Emily and Tim Spivey; Max and Opal Johnson are on the right. Greg Kremer isn't in the photo.
The biggest event of the weekend was the evening in the
forest, where we built a bonfire and made shishkabobs, or shashlik. All of the
readers really enjoyed this evening, because spending time in the forest, or
"doing shashlik," is one of the favorite ways to relax in Ukraine.
I guess its counterpart in America is the backyard barbecue.
The first thing to do in the forest, I learned, is to gather wood for the fire. Everybody is expected to help. Here Mr. Milam and a couple of the readers are working on getting a log down to the right size.
Though they are a little out of focus, here are two members of Nivky church, Bogdan Andriychenko and Anya Voikova. Bogdan is very important to the UEC, because he has been the renovation project coordinator. Anya is an art student who designed the new UEC logo and stationery.
Dima and Tanya, a mother and son who were both LST readers. Tanya read with me for all nine weeks, and Dima was in the beginner's class.
Three more of my readers; all of them work for a Ukrainian telecom company in various roles. From the left are Nadya, Nelly, and Vera.
Yaroslav and Irina, a really delightful couple who were both readers.
Miroslav (left) and Vyacheslav. The first LST team met Vyacheslav in the supermarket when we were all wearing our LST T-shirts and were gathered around the shopping cart practicing saying "I don't understand" in Russian. He came up to us and asked us what we were doing, so we invited him to the program.
(clockwise from bottom right) Tanya, Tanya, Sasha, Lena, and Oksana enjoying some of the fresh air. Tanya (black and white shirt) was one of my readers whom I've met with a couple of times just as a friend.