Next stop...Ukraine!

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel, headed back to Heathrow, got on a plane and headed to Kiev, Ukraine. I have to admit this airport was a little unsettling to me. Lots of military presence and they just looked scary! I think being totally surrounded by people speaking Russian or Ukrainian and nothing seemed familiar was a strange feeling for me. I guess this was my first experience with being unable to really understand ANYTHING anyone was saying, not being able to read a sign, etc. We had a lots of work to do when we landed. We had a lot of luggage. We had left DFW with a lot of extra suitcases beside our personal bags. We were bringing Andrew supplies for his summer camp, sheets, curtains, etc for the new safe house, etc. So we had a lot of bags to claim and 31 Americans just stir up a lot of attention, not something we really wanted to do. Here we are waiting for the bus to arrive.
 Ha-that was just one side of the bus that was crammed with luggage
AND there was more stacked in the back of the bus! 
We were met by a tour bus that Andrew had arranged to cart all of us and all the luggage to the camp, which is about 1 1/2 hours away. Andrew, Larry and I headed in his car to the hardware store to pick up some tools and supplies we would need to accomplish some of the jobs on Andrew's list. We grabbed some lunch at the Mall. That was another weird experience...you would think that would be fun for the students...but I think everything being new, strange and different kind of took everyone back. We ate and then drove to Jeremiah's Hope. Andrew and Jenny have done a wonderful job of building this camp. Please take time to check out his blog and learn more about the work they do...we are so impressed with the work they are doing! 

We were so blessed with our time at camp. Andrew had a very large list of things he needed done but hey, we were a very large group of hard workers! The students amazed us. They did such a great job, worked hard, didn't complain and were just fun to hang out with! Andrew has asked Larry to be in charge of building a new cabin. Larry recruited 3 of the guys and they really busted it to get it done but they did it! There was another church group coming in this week, that hung the sheet rock and are busy painting inside and putting down the flooring. Should be ready to use in another week! Andrew had tons of jobs and I am pretty sure we got everything done and a whole lot more! It is really amazing when you have 31 people working ALL day long...how much you can get done. We took turns working in the kitchen, preparing meals, cleaning the bathrooms, doing laundry...plus Andrew's list. We would end each day with a wonderful time of singing and praising God for all that He is doing in the Ukraine.

Along with building the cabin, we replaced all the outside walls on a bathhouse, painted a lot of tires around camp to plant flowers, others were buried in different areas for kids to crawl on, put a fresh coat of paint on all the benches, picnic tables, built a new swing set, cleaned out a lot of closets, mowed the whole property, poured lots of new sidewalks, replaced Andrews back porch and organized a lot of things for camp. The list was long...but the workers were many! Here are a few pictures of the camp after we spruced things up!

 Can I just stop here for a second and say how much I love this man! He is such a hard worker and is so talented. He and his crew built a cabin in 7 days. Nothing was easy. The tools were scarce, the lumber was so crooked and yet with all the obstacles he still built a amazing cabin! 
 This is as far as we got to see it. The windows hadn't come in so they couldn't finish putting up the siding but roof is on, the walls were insulated and ready for the next work crew to finish it. This may not seem amazing to you...but the amount of hours and hard labor this crew put into this cabin is staggering! 
 The bathhouse with its new siding
 The craft house, picnic table and awning...all fresh stained and painted
 The firepit (not built by us) but we helped get all the rock in it and then we painted and installed the benches around it. When I say "we" I want you to know that I didn't personally haul rock (I did paint a lot of benches!) but those guys who did...let me just say that worked hard. Have you ever tried pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with rock through sand...sand like is on a beach.
And there is a lot of rock in this pit!
My man...oh how proud I am of him!

Three days while we were there we also got to have kids in for a mini-camp. These kids were so sweet and the University students did an amazing job planning activities, Bible stories, crafts and games. It didn't take long for them to steal our hearts! Here are just a few pictures of those precious little faces!
 I got to work in the kitchen with the World Racers Girls (more on them later). Man, we worked hard! Seemed like as soon as one meal was done, served, cleaned up...it was time to start the next meal. It was fun to have such sweet young ladies to work along beside.

This camp allows kids who live in the villages nearby along with a lot of kids who come from local orphanages a chance to attend camp for a week of fun, Bible Study, crafts and games. It is the highlight of their summer! Along with this camp, Andrew and Jenny have been asked by the Ukraine "CPS" to open a "safe house", a place where kids can be placed when things at home are not suitable for a child to stay. The house was built, but we put up bunk beds, built desk and dressers, hung curtains, etc. This house has already been put to use this week when CPS called that they needed to remove 3 children from a home. We know that Andrew, Jenny and his staff will be such a blessing to these children, providing them with a safe place to stay. Please keep them in your prayers.

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