Saturday, May 21, 2011

Translator Training 2011

Translators from across Ukraine joined us at the UBI facility to participate in this year's Translator Training Seminar. I told this exciting group of people they have made an incredible difference not only in the lives of children, but in the lives of their American counterparts.

I wish you could watch this entire group together. It is like a huge family so eager to get going! As Kat Shkarlat, team leader for Team Imagine's translators, told me in her effervescent way: "We are such a big happy family! This is a great team and I am looking forward to this year at camp!"

It is always a joy to visit with so many camp veterans who bring with them a wealth of experience and eagerness to serve. It was also a pleasure to meet the new, fresh faces who aren't certain what to expect, but are looking forward to working with children in the camps and with American teams.

We have a great team of translators working with us this year! If you are a team member, you are in for a real treat!

Huge "thank yous" go to my assistant, Inna Kuzmenko who made the arrangements for the training and assisted me in leading the sessions, to Dima Shemanyuk who helped with grocery shopping and physical set up/tear down, to Jay Don and the staff at Ukraine Bible Institute who so graciously allowed us to utilize both their facility and their equipment--and to all of the team leaders and translators who bring such joy to this entire experience!

Here is to what looks to be a great year for Summer Camp! Remember: "Love wins!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Teams Part 2

Well, you've read about Mayak, Imagine, and Freedom! Now it's time to hear from Agape,Inspire, and Volontyor.

Team Agape is an experienced team, as most team members have been to Camp Smerichka at least once, and several have been multiple times.  However, every year there are new challenges, and more importantly, new opportunities!  Although we see a few “repeat campers” each year, the vast majority are new to us, and present us with the opportunity to introduce God, and His holy word, to them.  As we strive to inspire the campers to seek out the one true and living God, we are reminded that this is His work, and we are merely His instruments.   We pray all that we do will glorify God, and that the beauty of Jesus may be seen in and through us.
(Note: the two pictures include different team members).
-Terry Montgomery
 Team Inspire.
This year will be the fourth year for Team Inspire.  We have been blessed to return to the same area every time although the camps we have gone into have always been different.  For whatever reason it seems like our team has had the opportunity to grow through unique challenges every year.  As many team leaders will agree some of the challenges a team can face are Ukraine specific but there are also plenty that begin state-side.  For our team our first challenge has come in numbers.  We are a small team this year with seven people including myself going.  However, I really do see this as yet another opportunity.  I feel like we have a strong group and I am eager to see how God uses us to partner in the work he is already doing. 
Gabe Fisher, Team Leader

Team Volontyor. This isn't particularly a clear picture of the team--a couple of team members were hiding somewhere--however, it expresses the energy, agility, and incredible talent (?) of Team Volontyor! Volontyor is lead by Corey Moss, Todd Tarbett, and Tammy Belcher of the (drum roll please) University of Tennessee Knoxville! Any guesses where the team name came from? However, as is often the case Tennessee and Texas do a lot of sharing (same initials, same school colors, even 37 Tennesseans were present in the Alamo!). Team Volontyor also has team members from the Glenwood Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas. Volontyor is a brand new team although some of the members have experienced Ukraine before. There is a lot of excitement and anticipation building in this team!

Six teams in 2011! We are so thrilled to have so many quality people working with us this year. Please pray for all of our teams and team members that they will make a lasting impact on the children of Ukraine--as Ukraine will make a lasting impact upon them!