Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekend in the capital city

We are in the capital city this weekend with the team from avp. They are doing workshops in the Chance drug addiction center here in town. They have been amazed by two things, one is the willingness of the people here to open up and share their life experiences, and the other is the severity of the problems that the people have faced... I am not sure if it is the fact that they are foreigners or the Project it self, but there seems to be a freedom that the people are experiencing.
Either way, they are making a great impact on the community. I was walking down the street yesterday in the capital city, and ran into people I know, and even sitting in Church today, I looked around and saw new people... It is kind of a strange feeling. I remember our first day in town, we walked into the Internet cafe' and the fellow at the door was so glad to see us, then it was old home week inside.Julie said to me ... "what ... do you know everyone in town"... well now several times in the market or on the street, I have turned to her and asked the same question.
Tomorrow we are off to Uxxx for a little more then a week.
I will try to post more from there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Up Date ... Oh so much to do !

The last thing I should be doing now is a blog entry, but just had to update.... We are packing tonight for 2 weeks in Uxxxxxxxx. Remember Nicholi.... Well let me show you what a couple hundred dollars can do ! Thank you to his sponsors.. He is a new man, washed, clean clothes , his first meal ever in a resteraunt , and into the hospital to get his feet fixed up, and all his paperwork almost ready and on the list to go to the seniors home in a few weeks..... check him out now!. We have also seen Mesha up and around after his skin grafts on his legs... we dropped off some food for him, but did not have a translator with us so all we could do is smile at each other.. ...
We brought the AVP team out to Teen Challenge Farm and did a work shop there, and bought them socks underwear and shoes. We had Orpanage kids to the Mountains and to the tower today ... it was the first time for them to the tower.... they were so excited...
Angela in the village is doing well.... her mother has been diagnosed with a brain tumor... our friend has found a doctor that will operate for free... we just need to find about $300 to cover the drugs and the hospital stay... They cannot operate until she builds her strength so that will buy us a bit of time... the problem is that she can not stay at the institution any more as her problem is not a mental one. We will have to rent an apartment for her to stay for a couple of months until we can build her strength.... we have provided vitamins and paid the first month rent ($40) this will give us time to figure out what more we can do when we get back from Uxxxxxxx.
Great news about the older kids in the village orphanage.... The University has agreed to offer any of them free tuition.... we just need to find a place for them to stay in the capital city...
I will post more in the next couple days....Promise

Saturday, March 22, 2008

On the lighter side

Yesterday the AVP team arrived from Canada, and we put them right to work.... It was a holiday and the park was full of kids so we bought each team member a case (75) ice cream cones and gave them a push..... 3 minutes later, 300 cones were gone....
We decided to go inside where it was not so hot ( ha ha ) and play some games... we had the bars across the doors and could only let in about 20 at a time so it would be managable, so we let the first group of about 60 in lol. and played some games.... After things settled down, Will had a little one-on-one time to share some photos with one of the kids...... keep your eyes on the bottom of his shoes.... Then tonight Sharon got out her camera after singing and playing guitar for the kids the town Orphanage for older kids. She had a blast.

Still Processing

A few days ago we were out to the Teen Challenge farm to deliver some seeds and to introduce ourselves to them... They have an incredible success rate with men with drug and alcohol addictions. As most of you know , this is Julie's area of training, and she has been a long time supporter in Canada, and in fact, the Teen Challenge Farm donated a car to us a couple of years ago as a prize for a fund raiser for Central Asia missions. Well, it was the most peaceful spot you could imagine. We were talking with one of the directors there, and he shared that he also had a street ministry working with the homeless.. We asked him what are the contributing factors... His response took us off guard... We have seen and heard a lot, but still could not get our minds around the answer.... A large percentage of the homeless on the streets of the capital city are men that had gone to Kazakhstan seeking employment and then were kept as slaves. They have had their documents taken, then have been forced into labor, and kept in cages. When and if they do escape and make there way back to the capital city, they have no money and no paperwork, so they are not able to get a job.. they have also suffered so much abuse that they are emotionally scared for life. He must have seen the look of disbelief in my face... he took a quick look around at the six men sitting with us and then pointed to one of these men and said "Oh there... he was a slave and we found him on the street."
I have since asked others if they knew anything about this ... and they all have confirmed what we had heard... so Julie tried Goggling "Kazakhstan slavery" ...... Why have we not heard about this before?...... and what do we do now!... I have a new empathy for those I see lying in the gutters...... you are probably looking at the photo wondering which man was it...... thats just the thing.... how do you know the story until you help ... and as I have said before... does it really matter?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Touch down.... team AVP

All arrived ... tired but excited...
They are having a short nap now and will be up in a few hours to have a quick bite to eat , then start their first session at the playground.
Blessings John

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mesha Update

I got a call last night from Lena... She brings food to Mesha every day, and spoke with the Dr Yesterday... He says that his hands are fine now and his leg is safe and will not be lost... He said that the ideal situation would be to do a skin graft on the leg and it would do much better, but if not he can work with what he has .... I stopped and thought of what Danny might say.... "OUR GOD IS AN IDEAL GOD"..... so Lena will be here in a few minutes to pick up more money to cover this....$50..... can you imagine.... only $50 for a large skin graft. Maybe I can get a little time to go see him again tomorrow . I have some photo's coming on Friday, maybe I will bring him in a photo of the people that are praying and helping him.. I have heard that the miricals are found in the unexpected things.... do you think he ever would have expected a group of men on the other side of the globe to care about him.....

They are worth the fight

There really are a lot of people in this world that are doing all they can to make a difference. The financial support, the letters of encouragement have been unbelievable. For those of you who are not aware , there is a group of people out there that are making difference one life at a time.... Despite all the stress and the confusion of trying to coordinate international adoptions, they are working as an incredible "Life Line " of support for us... Almost weekly , there are families coming into Central Asia, bringing in needed supplies.... Anything to help the kids seems to be the motto . We have had opportunity to meet with them , and in some cases meet with their children prior to their arrival.
I am not going to share any photo's or names of these kids... that honour we will leave to their new parents., but I do want to tell you some of what we have been up to..in all our spare time...lol.
For the older children, They know for some time that someone is trying to adopt them ...some times they must go before the judge themselves and plead their cases.
The stress for these kids must be unbelievable... We can see the concern in their faces ... where are they going , what will their new life be like. They show us photos of their new families... and cherish things that their new families have left for them.
I think that it is really good that Emma and Bekah are here with us.. They can see, what for them would be a typical North American family .....(lol if they only knew...) But it helps them to relate. One of the girls that we visit, just told us last week that her family is coming for her this week...We are so excited for her. We have not met her parents nor do we know anything about them, but we know that they have a special little girl waiting for them... Emma and Bekah have been busy today framing a photo for her to take home with her of her friends at the orphanage.
If you are reading this and you have been considering adoption, or are into the process........ don't give up.... they really are worth the fight.

Go Vera Go

Another champion for the cause that I have never written about is a Lady named Pastor Vera.
Vera works with the seniors and the youth in the village... When she has the funds... she runs a feeding program where she visits the sick and the shut ins and brings them food and supplies... She has about 20 that she cares for on a regular basis... she does this from a tiny little apartment on the edge of town. We spoke with her and one of her dreams was to have a small church in the center of town where she could help those in need, and people would now where to come... to come .... She has talked about the need to increase her ministry to the helpless hurting and the lost......This is what church is about.... It's not about self serving programs .. it's not about the colour of the carpet ( this is evident if you have ever seen the carpet in our home church...lol.) its about helping, caring and Loving.... Vera operates on a budget of $500 every three months....... How many programs does your church have that are the Life bread to so many for so little.... If you want to support this one....Vera could sure use the help..... Well we are in the right place at the right time. Our Friend Ed from Loads of love called me a couple of weeks ago and said... "John we need to find a place for Vera... see what you can do" ..... Last week we put a down payment on this house... and this week the deal should be finalized.... This house has one large room that can be used as a meeting room, as well as two smaller rooms that can be used as an apartment to help those in need. It even has an indoor flush toilet and a full bath..for getting those in need cleaned up. It has a small kitchen and is on the city heating system and the city water. The best part is that it is on the main street right across from the market and the store..... Thank you that we could be a part of this.
Blessings John

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Village little ones ... to the Park

We have set Saturdays aside for a "FUN" day . We have the bus rented for that day, and we plan to do things with the kids on a smaller scale.. meaning that rather then 45 kids we would have a more manageable group and be able to gear events to their age. Seeing as we had taken all the older kids to the capital city the night before, we decided that this week we would take all the little ones to the park. The same park where we hold a class on Fridays..... So much for the smaller group..LOL.
Along with supper we brought a box of 50 ice cream cones... 20 kids and a few helpers... 50 should be good.... Well the Friday kids all saw us as we arrived, and recognized the box... I had not anticipated that.... Sergey and I quickly ran out and picked up another 75 . We gave out 125 cones . after the kids were played out... and HOT ( it was about 80 in the sun) we went inside and played a few more games and had supper for them . They all had a great time.
As they all piled back into the bus, we realized that somewhere during the day, despite Esar staying with sight of the locked van , we managed to have 2 purses stolen. One of them containing important documents and passport of one of the workers from the orphanage... someone that could least afford such a loss. It will probably be about $200 to replace all the documents .... that is about 4 months wages for her ..... Its hard not to let something like this get to you... we will trust God to restore what has stolen.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday March 14th.

Friday afternoon at the playground. Emma and Davina. Each week we think that we will be more prepared as the numbers grow. Well, this week there were 57 happy, eager, children. We moved out to the halls, on to window sills and some used the chairs as tables. Next Friday is the Muslim New Year, so the place will be packed and the AVP team will have fun.

Our Shining Stars

Friday night we went to a concert at a capital city university. We didn't really know what was going on but we knew that the village children were going and that they needed a bus to take them, and that we were going to meet them there. We were so surprised when we found out that this was a benefit concert for the children.
video
There were famous Central Asia singers, rappers, dancers and drummers. But the best thing was the children! video
We were so amazed and felt such joy when we saw the children dancing and singing with beautiful costumes and such talent. video
They were shining like stars and the entire place, about 500 people, loved them.
video

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wink

Today, like any Thursday we went to the town orphanage to make supper. When we got there, there was only a couple people in the building. So Mom, Emma, and I went out on an adventure to find the kids. We tried a couple rooms, but they were locked. The next place we went was outside. We went around the building and there they were. When they saw us they came running as fast as they could over to welcome us. They insisted on us playing their game..... even Mom got into it. After a good supper of Lasagna we went and played some of our games. It was a blast.
We played "Musical chairs-pile up"
........and Winkum

-Bekah-

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Generosity all round.

There are wonderful generous people all around the world, and we have had the opportunity to bring some of them together.
Many of you know Vlady ... he is one our drivers, translator and friend here in town. Well he has a wife that we have been blessed to know. She is a Dr. in town, specializing in heart conditions, but her caring heart has her helping with just about everything. We have watched as she tries politely to turn down a gift of a loaf of bread as payment, and tells the poor mother that she should keep it to look after her own family. Well Tatyana shared with us that she had only 8 blood sugar test strips left, and could not find ( or I would imagine afford ) more. She had been using them very sparingly. I came home and emailed to a wonderful group of people on an adoption yahoo group, and shared this need... in less then a week, we had supper in the capital city with not one but two families that brought the needed test strips... when we got home to the apartment, there was an email from our friend saying that a box of test strips had also been mailed to our Canada home and would be heading over with the next team in a week.... Well we got to bring the strips to Tatyana yesterday......Thank you so much to everyone that had a part in this blessing

Oh Angela.....

There is a "hand full" that we face ever day at the village orphanage.... her name is Angela. She is so busy that she can drive you to distraction, but then ...as usual... every one has a story, and once you know Angela's story.... you can't help but love her.
Angela's mother has serious mental illness and has epilepsy. By the time they were found, Angela was 4 years old, her mother was completely deaf and blind. At four... they figured that Angela had never been out of the house, and had no real up bringing. She could not speak and did not know how to interact with others.
Today after only a few months in the loving environment in the village orphanage, she is becoming a regular little child again... She even sings to herself now, and has started to talk. She has a short attention span and is busy looking for the next bit of trouble she can get into, but is always ready with a smile to give you a hug.
What is especially nice to see is how well the other kids treat her. The older kids have such patience and are so kind and caring ...... You know with a kind loving environment.... she may be ok.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Nickolai Update

One of the women we had at the Womans Day party with us yesterday was Laurisa ,she is the lady that brought us to meet Nickolai. She shared with us that after our visit with him last week, he was just so overwelmed.... He had thought that God had forgotten him, but God brought people from the other side of the world to stop in and tell him that he was not forgotten and that he was loved... This gave him a fresh revelation of God's love, and he went to the church in Iscra last week and shared.... The church there reached out to him.. The men took him to get washed up and buy him new clothes, and a hair cut. While they were doing this, the ladies in the church went out to his house and cleaned. It is such a blessing to us to see our brothers and sisters here pitch in to help him out.... We give many times out of our abundance, But for them... they are giving out of FAITH.
We have gone ahead and told them to get him into the hospital for his feet, and to get his paperwork in order so he can move into a seniors home. The cost for this as I mentioned before will be $300, but once he is registered, he will not have to pay to stay. He is now on the waiting list for the hospital... maybe Meesha will be out soon and Nickolai can have his bed.....

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Womens day Party

There are so many incredible women here in Central Asia. They are like the women from Proverbs. Along with looking after there own households , they reach out to look after and defend the Orphans and widows ... and all those around them..... They are teens and teachers ,they are doctors and factory workers , they are wives and mothers....and today we had the opportunity to rise up and call them BLESSED .
And they were so blessed to be even invited to an evening dedicated to them. In a Male dominated society, this is something that is foreign to them. They were greeted with a small buffet , and so excited when they found out that they were going to get massages and their nails done. Before they left they were all given a Pashmina scarf and a set of candles. Then of course the ladies started to get a little carried away and me being the only man there made me a target! video

Happy Birthday Edik

There is a pretty special guy out there. His Name is Ed. Thousands of orphans from around the former Soviet Union know him as Edik. Ed is a man who is a voice for those who would otherwise be forgotten . Today is his birthday. So even though he is in the air right now, somewhere between The Ukraine and Canada, some of his kids wanted to wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

video

Friday, March 07, 2008

"Chillipaha idyot"

This morning Julie and I were up early to go to the bazaar to do a little shopping for our Womens Day party tomorrow.....I won't tell you what we bought yet because I know our friends here are following the blog too... Hay it was only ten sum each for the taxi ....what do you know!
We picked up a new lap today... what an amazing deal. God sure is good. At 3:00 we went over to the playground where we help with English class on Fridays. Last week we had 13 kids. so we planed for 20 just in case. When we got there there were about 8 or 10 kids ...this was ok, but then they started to pile in..and in ..and in.... 45 showed up for the first story telling and craft...and more continued to follow....I don't know what is going to happen next week.
Tonight we had Esar and his family here for supper. We had a nice visit. His Dad is a Dungan
farmer. and has a large field that he grows corn.... We are going to see about having him grow some sweet corn for us. ...Julie drove with Dr Tatyana and Vlady to the chiropractor for an hour... at a turtles pace..or in Russian "chillypaha idyot", only to find that he was in Germany...funny enough though, her back was feeling better by the time she got home..
Off to bed now ..big day tomorrow. A party at the orphanage in the morning and a Womens Day party at the apartment in the evening. Here are the flowers I bought for my three girls .

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Cheese Burger day

Today was a dinner night at the town orphanage. In the morning Julie and the girls went to Asels house to make more slippers. I went to the market to buy hamburger... I learned a couple of things.... One is that I should only have been paying 10 sum not 50 sum to go to the Bazar... the other is that you need the faith of Peter to make your way around the streets here......All the puddles are cloudy, and you often have no choice but to step in them... they could be 2 inches deep or they could be 2 feet deep..... you just walk by faith........Oh Ya we also learned that our unlimited high speed is unlimited but you pay for it......OUCH...No more movies no more web cam....
I was able to find the hamburger ... meat is by the Kg and there is no difference in price for the cuts.... so we had prime rib hamburgers for supper tonight. I found a bakery two days ago and ordered hamburger buns for tonight as well..... so it was a bit of a crap shoot as to whether I would actually find the bakery again and then whether they actually made hamburger buns... All worked out .... amazing. The kids loved the hamburgers and fries, and Sergey is looking forward to one for lunch tomorrow. Julie is going to a chiropractor tomorrow.... another crap shoot. Dr Tatyana says that Julie is not going alone and that she is going to make sure that it is on the up and up.
Tomorrow I am getting a new laptop... $450 brand new...... maybe another crap shoot.
This Saturday is Womans day here. After a morning party at the orphanage we are hosting a womens day party for all the new friends and workers (women) here. We have arranged for manicures and massages here at the apartment.... the women are going to be blown away..as Sammy would say it's going to be a freak show baby.....
I will be banished to the new kitchen..... someone has to cook!

Rickets

If anyone out there is travelling this way and has a bit of space left.... here is a suggestion.

Many of the children here have rickets. This is from a Vit. D deficiency that caused the body not to properly absorb calcium... this causes the bones and skull to deform. It is very painful for the kids as well. We have Vit. D added to our milk at home. The doctor here figures that about two months of Vit. D and Calcium suppliments can cure AND correct most of the cases.

So if you have room, bring lots of Milk.... Just kidding... Vitimin D and Calcium suppliments would be great. If you can bring some please email me at sunmasterjohn@aol.com and we will make arrangements to get it into the right hands.
Blessings John

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bekah...with an H.... Reporting In.

Today We went to the village orphanage. We delivered food, cleaning supplies, and medicine that was donated from a wonderful old couple from Millbrook Ontario. Hi Jenny!! videoWhen we got there all the children came over and helped us carry everything in. Along with bringing these supplies we also wanted to finish the stroying Scarves. We we got into the class room and about 15 kids came piling in, we realized they were all the wrong kids and that they had already heard that story. They were all so eager to do something, so we gave them paper and crayons and let them colour whatever they wanted and then we went outside and played some games. When we got out and playing it seemed like everyone had gravitated to the circle where we were. videoThank you for the Game suggestions. If anybody has some games that would be good to play please tell us! The children have so much fun playing our games.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

CRASH

Crash.... toast....fried....shot....or in Russian Kapootsky.... all terms used to describe our lap top. We will try to keep the posts coming ...... but until we work something out....no msn....no skype...how will we ever cope.?

Not quite a A trip to Foodland.....

So, a normal trip to the bazaar is very exciting. The town market is much smaller and more manageable than the capital city one.The Dungen Chinese seem to have the best, cleanest vegetables and even dispaly them well and squirt water on them to keep them fresh. This is pretty much the choice we have, just repeated all over the market.

This beautiful Dungen woman is looking down and it kind of looks like she is sad. But no, she is on her cell phone. It is quite a contrasting culture. Look out for these guys running down the isles.

Noodle sales guys are happy to pose for a picture. Barley, Oats, flour, lentals and grains.

From the meat department to the baked goods , it's colourful, has lots of smells and is noisy with market day sounds.
This man is a splash from the past for John, selling a slice and dice veggie cutter, maybe John will get a job in Central Asia.

















And Now You Know the Rest of the Story

Last week I told you about a man... a man that we knew nothing about , only that he needed help. Well, instantly there was response, and the money was provided to get him help. Today we went to see him in the hospital. His name is Mesha. Mesha is the curator at the Tower Museum . There was an electrical fire there and he was badly burned trying to put the fire out. Today he is doing much better, the bandages are off his hands... they still look rather sore . He is receiving antibiotics for his leg, and expects to be out of the hospital in a few weeks.
video

I am sure we will visit him a few more times before he goes home..Lena will be bringing food in to him regularly.

I think that we will get to see him a lot when he is out of the hospital as well. The tower is one of the favorite locations to bring teams when they come.





Sunday, March 02, 2008

Our Lovely Kitchen

These are before pictures of the kitchen. The floor is new, and so is the sink/cupboard unit. It is a very nice kithchen, it grew on me and in no time, I just love it. Going in to other peoples homes, seeing what their living area is like has made me love this place more and more each day.

So we went and had these cupbaords ordered and John and Emma put them up today. This one has food and dishes in it and beside it we put the picture up that Mary gave us to take. Putting it up was sort of was the finishing touch.
The other cupboard, above the sink is the cool way they do dishes. There are racks to put the dishes to dry.
We also bought a washing machine and a new fridge. I wanted to send the laundry out but we thought that it would be more practical for when other people stay here at Ed's apartment. That is also what we had in mind when getting a small fridge.
John picked out the metal rack for pots and our coffee bodum and mugs. So, How do you like our lovely kitchen?
The other work to extend the kitchen area to the sunroom balcony will begin with new windows and brick work and insulation. And that is for another day.
Do you like your kitchen so far Ed?