Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Today, September 22, Bulgaria celebrates its 102nd year since the country's formal declaration of independence from the Ottoman Turkish Empire, so I tagged along with Katya and her daughter Petya, and Petya's boyfriend Asen to the Rila Monastery.
The monastery was built in the 10th century, and is considered the most famous orthodox church in the country. Its absolutely beautiful! This was my second visit (I went the first time during PST with a group of volunteers), and I was glad to have the chance to go again.
Many of the artists who painted the works inside the actual church and along the outside were actually trained at an Icon Shkola/School in Samokov. My town is, for obvious reason, very proud of this.
It's still a working monastery, so the second and third floors are mostly residential for the live-in monks. I love all the wood work!
Zhenite! Me with Katya and Petya.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,  being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
How cool is that?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately... how far am I willing to go for the Father? Christ made himself NOTHING, and died for everything, and I'm often too selfish and stubborn to commit even just the day to Him - let alone my future plans, desires, and concerns.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Today was the last day of camp, so we the day was a bit more unstructured as we focused on celebrating the LAST DAY OF SUMMER!! Yesterday we had introduced 4 Square and the kids absolutely loved it, so we brought that out again. The kids were really picking up on some strategy, and it was getting pretty intense!
Monday morning the size of our group was cut in about half (Market Day in Samokov - and the last one before school starts... kids were out getting their new clothes for the first day!), but we had a solid group of boys and our token girl (go Tonya - our rockstar goalie!). We took the kids up to the Samokov ridge field to play some soccer and American football, then we did a community trash clean-up around the field and on the way back to the school. The kids did great!
Before ending the day with sports and games outside, we had a guest PC volunteer from the HIV/AIDS committee come and do a "Myth vs. Fact" game with the kids about HIV/AIDS.
Since Friday, we've worked together to plan and implement a three day End of Summer camp for the kids at my organization.
We started the day with "Train Wreck" - which as always, as proven to be a group favorite! Think they would have played all day if we didn't have anything else planned...
We did a "Who Am I" activity with the kids. They traced each other onto large pieces of poster board, then filled in the outlines with clothing and interests. They also cut through magazines and colored the free space to represent themselves.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Your Love, Oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Stretches to the skies
Is like the MIGHTY MOUNTAIN
Your justice flows like the ocean's tide
I will lift my voice
To worship You my King
And I will find my strength
In the shadow of Your wings
I made it to the little hiker's/climber's town of Kandersteg on Friday afternoon by way of Milan, Italy. On Saturday morning, we got up. (had a stern talking to with my still present jetlag), had breakfast, then headed into town. About half of the group of hikers were starting the hike from town level, and the rest of us decided to by-pass the first hour by taking the Gondola up to the Oeschinensee Glacial Lake. In addition to not being sure how my leg would do on a strenuous hike, and being ridiculously out of shape, Jana and I had a plan to hike high enough up towards the actual Glacier that we could have a better vantage point of the lake, and see a few waterfalls that feed it.
Well. Some pride issues (we joined forces with a new friend, and I don't think any of us wanted to be the "one" to throw in the towel!) and one too many "just a little bit furthers" later, we got to the point that we were SO CLOSE to summiting the glacier, that we couldn't turn around!!!
So many hours and heart palpitations and sore muscles later, we MADE IT to Frundenhutte!! By this point, yes, we were above the clouds and practically on top of the world. I have never seen anything more incredible. Crayola, if you're reading this, no Crayon box will ever be complete without the color of that water!!
We made it about as high as you can go without having special equipment... but seriously. How amazing is this? I've always had it in my head that Switzerland has GOT to be some of God's best work. And now that I've been to a glacier in the Alps, I can say with experience and confidence that I wasn't wrong!
Go Team Gimp!!!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010