The fall semester does not end until January 31st. Our students have one week off before the spring semester starts. It is during this week that Youth to Jesus takes its annual ski trip to the Carpathian Mountains. We stay in a building that is made for skiers. It feels more like a home than a hotel, except that there is no running water. The students are served a homemade breakfast and dinner by the lady who owns the building and lives behind it in a small house. They eat lunch on the slopes (or skip it altogether, as the case may be). The entire trip is a lot of fun, and it provides a time to cozy up to each other physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The ski trip this year was another success and it also gave our new intern an introduction to a lot of our committed Pilgrims. Greg Smith, from Houston, TX, is a December 2010 graduate from the University of Texas. After hearing me speak at the University of Texas Wesley Foundation (while I was home having Jesse last spring) he felt that he could come and serve alongside David and I for the spring semester.
Greg is a trained leader of the Alpha Course and is helping to guide our leaders this semester. This is the first time Alpha has been offered since David and I arrived and we are very excited about this. Alpha is a ten-week study that helps answer some basic questions about Christianity. Our predecessors had already obtained the material in Russian and had led the course a couple of times. We recently found out that Alpha is having a training in a nearby city, and that the materials are now being offered in Ukrainian. This is both exciting and a blessing.
Greg will also be helping Michael lead English Club on Tuesday evenings. They are putting their heads together to come up with some super creative classes. And thank goodness Greg is a computer person (much more than David and I) and we are able to pass off some computer tasks to a much quicker and efficient worker. He has no idea how much I appreciate this.
We also are encouraging Greg to just hang out with our students and create and build relationships. We have enough people attending Youth to Jesus event who speak English that Greg is able to communicate on a basic level with most people. This is probably his most overwhelming task, but he is proving he is up for the challenge. We are so thankful for Greg and that he is giving up four months of his American life to come and serve.
If you know any young folks, especially recent college grads or people interested in taking a year off of school, we are always looking for people to come serve with us.