(Don't worry, I didn't forget the picture link, it's provided at the beginning of "An Exciting Evening" However, please read this post before that one as it provides a background to somethng in that story.)
Yes, no surprise there, day 2 of ministry was no less enjoyable. Actually, I shouldn't say that. I was pretty sick for some of the day. I didn't mention this before, but I think I started getting sick on Sunday night. Monday I wasn't feeling that well, and didn't really eat much. I hardly slept the night before, I was so feverish, achey, and my throat longed to be soothed by a cold drink. Unfortuntely, our water was usually room temperature, and almost made my throat worse. I needed something either really hot, or really cold, room temp just didn't cut it. Anyway I got up and ready, determined I would not miss a moment (except for breakfast, where I opted to try to get some more sleep rather than look miserable at breakfast, where I knew I wouldn't eat anything anyway). Nothing would stop me from enjoying the kids to the fullest. Or so I thought. We got to the first site, went through the expected process of taking a tour (this place was a medical treatment center. They housed children for 2 months (sometimes longer) and took care of their medical needs. These kids weren't neccessarely orphans.), learning about the facility, meeting the kids, having them perform, split into our groups, and just have fun! I got through the first part, but apparently my body wasn't as determined as my mind, for by the time we got outside in the overgrown grass, chitterbugs did their biting and the sun beat down. It drained me so much too fast. The bench under the shady tree was the only thing that looked appealing. I just could not muster the energy to play with these kids. It hurt worse than my headache, worse than my throat. To have to sit on the sidelines watching everyone else have fun while I suffered physically and emotionally was hard, but humbling. To realize I'm not invincible, I can be stopped, and that it's okay to admit you're weak. It hurt my pride to think that the staff members, and even others on my team may look at me and think I didn't want to be with the children because I'm sitting on the bench, looking bored, with the closest child not even at arm's length. Mrs. Bev came over and began talking to me. Soon after, Mr. Tim came over and asked if I was okay. I told him I really wasn't feeling well, and right there, he asked Mrs. Bev to lift me up in prayer while they both laid hands on me. Soon after, I was feeling so much better, ready to enjoy the rest of the day. Which I did! We gave them the dinosaurs we brought and they just LOVED them.
Sidenote: We were originally going to get bouncy balls, but I can see now that God ordained it for Oriental Trading not to get our order, and for us not to be able to find them at any store except where it was just too expensive. The day before we left we found these dinosaurs and went ahead and got them. What a Godsend, the kids enthusiasm was priceless, and all the time, effort, and inconvenience to get them was more than worth it. Thank you God!
After that we went to lunch as usual, then headed to our afternoon site- a rehab center for children from troubled families. I soon came to realize this site was so much different from any other site we visited. It hurt to look at these children, many who were older and aware of why they were there. These weren't necessarely orphans because their parents weren't living, these children may have been abused, unloved, and considered worthless. Their faces gave it all away. They could smile (though many did not), but there was so much pain in their eyes there was no convicing me everything was okay. I can only think of a few who seemed genuinely happy. Jaye did her magic, some of our group plus Andrew and Dima did a skit on the Good Samaritan, they surprised us with gifts for each one of us: A Rag Doll! It was so sweet of them. I cherish it and have it on display in my room. (These are the rag dolls my mom is hosting a contest for.)
We then broke into small groups. We did our usual ice breaker introduction game, then I shared my presentation (eeks!), followed by Mrs. Bev leading them through the gospel bead bracelet. We had heard that another group had invited their kids to accept Christ as their Savior and were overhwlemed by the response, and I was so siked when Mrs. Bev asked them if they'd like Christ to come into their heart. Here we go, let's hear it girls "Dah! Dah!" you are being offered the most amazing gift, there's no way anyone could say no, right? Unfortunately, my heart sank as the girls enthusiastically replied "Nyet! Nyet!" Perhaps they were giving into peer pressure. Perhaps if just ONE said yes, they all would. However, the Lord willed for us to only plant seeds that day. Maybe one day I'll see them in Heaven, but no lives were given to Christ that day from our group. We finished upstairs by playing some relay games, and some other famous Russian games.
After that, they took us downstairs where they have a little gift shop. Really, it's a room where there are handsewn items for purchase. I bought a purse that I love, but it has begun to tear and in order to preserve it, I have decided it's best to not use it anymore. I love it, it's the perfect size, it has a nice long strap so I can cary it more like a messenger bag, and well, you get the idea, I hate not being able to use it now. Mom bought a few really impressive items, and found out that a girl in the group we were with actually had sewn them herself! What a privilege. We ended at that site with some tea and sweets, before heading back to the hotel.