Social Project at School #23

"First Bell", (the first day of classes) is a special day of celebration for Russian school children. Sure proof that we are in a different culture!

Robert ? September, 2005

God?s ways are definitely not our ways! (Isaiah 55:8)Teen Transition Center in Voronezh that was opened in fall of 2004. We furthermore, expect to become much more involved through the course of the year in other orphan projects in Krasnodar of which we are aware. But, we are moving with a degree of caution in that direction, knowing that it?s a door that, if swung too far open could completely inundate us with opportunities that would sabotage our language learning assignment as our ministry priority.

However, to meet the entry visa requirement of being involved in a social project in Krasnodar, we have taken the assignment of working at School # 23 ? a prestigious school for kids, that specializes in English. Our language school has developed an ongoing relationship with this public school (grades 1st ? 11th) to send volunteers to help with providing live language practice.

So, every other Friday, we become the ?teachers? in a public school. We have two, 1-hour classes with a group of 10th graders and 8th graders. Our main job is to give them opportunity to hear ?live English?. Of course they get a little ?extra flavoring? with our Texas accents!  This project at School #23 allows us to enrich our experience and exposure with Russian teenagers, which is the target ministry group God has burned into our hearts.

Our first class together we told them a little about ourselves and our family and then taught them the ?Hook Em Horns? sign and explanation, as well as how to say, ?ya?ll.? They seemed to enjoy it, and their teacher, trained in proper British English, at least acted amused.

We are working with a delightful teacher, Irina, who has pretty much given us blanket permission to do whatever we want in class. This past week Robert put together an awesome lesson on ?fairness? using some video from the Martin Luther King Jr?s famous ?I Have a Dream? speech and then ended with DC Talk?s video of ?Colored People?. We defined some of the harder words and tried to have them share what they heard and think on the subject. It?s hard to hear from them sometimes because the teacher gets so excited that she wants to answer!

It?s amazing to see how much truth can enter in when you start discussing song lyrics like, ?we have a history so full of mistakes, . . . we depend on a holy grace.? (lyrics from ?Colored People?) And, when you start defining terms like, ?repentance? (another lyric)... I don?t know a lot about Merriam-Webster, but they obviously come from a Judeo-Christian perspective. When we got to Webster?s definition of repentance as ?turning from sin?, the teacher jumped up to help us explain the concept to the class in Russian!  Great stuff!

Working with these high school classes has definitely been a new twist for us after working with orphans for the last 10 years, and now finding ourselves working with teens that come from very privileged and wealthy families. Most of them have 2 parents in the home. But kids are kids and the needs are the same. And we are sensing that this assignment will be one of great benefit as we continue to develop curriculum for our teen orphans.

We also hope that we are planting some seeds in these kids? lives of the needs of others, less fortunate than them. Ultimately it is the Russians? responsibility to take care of their needy and we hope that God will use us to equip maybe some future leaders to go that direction.

Will you pray for us and the influence we can have on the lives of these students and Irina, the teacher? Pray that their hearts will be softened and that we will take the opportunities to share the hope that is within us.