Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Moldova 2011 Memory Part 4...

The Gazebo where we all start and end our programs for the day.
The largest portion of our time in Moldova is spent providing the programming for a camp where children ages 7 - 16 live during June, July and August.  These are children who live at a boarding school/orphanage from
September 1st - May 31st each year.
Children filling the Gazebo and listening, singing, participating, learning...
Girls share a Choral Reading of our scripture for the day.

This year the camp also included children from vulnerable families who qualified for a free camp experience.  Those sixty children arrived on August 1st and would spend the month there before returning home.
These girls await the moment they'll take the stage in the drama they'll be sharing with the group.
The youngest girls claim a spot on the steps to the pool.

Following the large group singing and sharing, children head off to a small group time with a team member or two plus a translator for the Bible lesson for the day.  Groups meet wherever there is a bit of space to create an outdoor classroom feel.

Following the small group lesson times, the children participate in small group activities...                                
More crafts....
Knot tying which even the girls enjoyed...
Archery was a greatly enjoyed activity...
Diane with Irina and Anna to translate
These will be the angels who sing "Gloria" for the Christmas story.
Another activity option was Gazebo Prep.  During these sessions, my daughter-in-law, Diane, and I worked with groups of children in preparing them with drama, puppets, speaking in choral voices that they could participate as leaders/presenters during our Gazebo Times with the whole body of campers. This is one of the ways which we use to develop self confidence and leadership skills with the children. Diane is a pro.  She is gifted, educated and experienced as a Mom, school teacher and church children's worker.  She exudes the joy of developing children in creative ways.  In spite of conditions at our camp in Moldova being a bit more spartan than other venues where she has worked, she had ideas for each day and would always wrangle some "costume" items from our stash of donations, the team house cupboards and the items we'd planned for ahead of time and taken with us.  I was always extremely grateful for her creative energy and ability to overcome obstacles to work with a translator and prepare children for an important participation role during our week of camp.    There were times the children weren't so sure they understood or were interested in the plan but results amazed us each day. 
Friday would be our last day at camp and our Bible story would be the birth of Jesus.  Diane and I had decided to have the children do a drama of the whole story.  Thursday we would have to prepare and rehearse all the children who would participate.  Diane decided the girls ages 10-12 could be the angels and sing the song the angels may have sung to announce Jesus' birth.  Certainly the children would know a Christmas song like that!  But alas, they didn't and the Christmas songs they knew were not the Christmas songs we knew.  So creative Diane, exclaimed, "we'll just make up a song they can sing."  With that she began to sing in her lovely soprano voice, "Glooooria, Gloooooria, Gloooooria..." and with each time she sang "Gloria", she sang higher and with a beautiful melody.  After a few times through as a solo, she engaged the girls who began to softly sing the song.  Over and over again Diane and the girls sang this angelic praise to God - each time with voices getting stronger and stronger.
"Let's compose and learn a song which the angels might have sung the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem!!!"
Joseph & Mary getting into costumes
We would have Mary and Joseph, Baby Jesus, shepherds, angels and wise men.
Angels robed in white as they sing "Gloria" to the shepherds.
Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, Wisemen worshiping and Little girl who wanted a "front row" view.

The whole cast would take a bow after their stellar performance.
Friday's performance was a huge hit.  The day was lovely and the children glowed with joy wearing their simple costumes but with knowledge that they'd had an opportunity to be on stage to share a very important and exciting story.  What fun to see them pleased with their part in the program.

But there's more to be told about something that happened during the rehearsal for the angels.  Diane was handling the girls who were learning to sing the "Gloria" song so I stepped away from her and the group of girls.  I was standing in the gazebo, observing Diane and her singers when a stranger walked into the gazebo, came up to me and said, "Hi, I'm Gloria."  And I immediately replied, "Hi, I'm Linda."  With that introduction, we began a conversation which I'll tell more about in my next blog post.

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