Friday, November 28, 2014

Reading really can be fun...

Last night at our last actual "Book Club" for the year, we had about 25 kids and 15 volunteers and of course I didn't get a picture of the whole club, but I did manage to get a couple of cute shots of the volunteers working with the kids...we made "Flags" for our books... writing the book's details around the edge and then drawing a picture from the book in the middle:

Jelena is actually working with two girls next to her, but one of the boys decided her lap was the place to be... at least for a little while :)
David showing his prowess with the boys - keeping the attention of the 3 of them at once...
 Ivona was mainly working with this young man, but also with a girl on her other side...
And lastly Sanja with two of the younger girls: helping them draw... she does the outlines and then they have to colour the inside!
I mostly don't have time to take photos, so I am glad that I got a few shots to give you an idea of what goes on. I must admit that I am kept quite busy in the middle of the group making sure that everyone has everything they need - pencils, pencil crayons, sharpeners, papers, etc... I also have to deal with the rowdy few who don't sit still after the first 15 minutes or so... 

It may be our last actual book club for this semester - but next week we will have our special last evening, with a play, some prizes and even a cake... I can't wait!!

Even though it is LOUD at times, and not as much reading takes place as I would like, it is still planting seeds that reading is fun, and enjoyable and hopefully will be something they take with them into their whole life!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Library day...

Yesterday our other English language teacher, Snjeza, was joking with me about all the work I do with kids, and saying that she would drop off her three so she could have a break... I was in between taking two groups of children from the Children's Home to the library: 13 in the first group, and 15 in the second... and I jokingly said to her "3 is not enough for me... I only do large groups" :)

Yesterday was library day, and as we have such a large group in the book club this year, we have a lot of kids going to the library every other week... And yesterday I ended up taking the most I have ever taken in one day: 28!!

In the afternoon the 6-9th graders go: we break them into three groups: one group is 15-20 minutes on the 5 computers and the 2nd group waits in the reading room (looked after by my librarian buddies) while I take the 3rd group to chose their books in the book lending part of the library... and then we rotate so everyone has a turn on the internet... and get their books... and hang out with the cool librarians :)

I of course forgot to take pictures of them when they were inside, but I did manage to convince them to have their picture taken all together... (it took a LOT of convincing: and most of them put their books in front of the faces in protest...but actually it worked in my favour as I am not allowed to put their faces online, so I blanked out the rest of the faces anyway!)
Then in the evening, it is the turn of the 1-5th graders (and this time 2 older kids as well). I managed to get someone else to take photos, so you can see a little bit of what we do in the library with them...

Returning books and taking new ones is the main aim: here I am making sure we have records of which child took which books-very important!
And as we aren't able to go to the reading room (where they have workshops in the evening), we just hang out in the book-lending part of the library... Older kids choosing books for school:
Younger kids finding fairy-tales and other children's stories...
And once we find our books, it is time to play and hang out with the volunteers in the "play area" upstairs:
Or be read to by one of the volunteers... especially as "Teta Belinda" (Teta=Aunty) won't let the BIG fairytale books go to the Home as they are expensive if they get lost (which unfortunately does happen!)... but reading them in the library is allowed and encouraged = everyone happy!
And then there was time for one more photo of everyone... just to show you that there were actually 15 kids that came along... yes, I am crazy!! Praise the Lord for great (and patient) librarians and wonderful volunteers who make all of this possible!
So, as I told Snjeza, I only do large groups of children, but Praise the Lord, I do tend to do them well! But I must admit that this morning my throat was a little sore for all the "loud talking" (*cough* shouting) I need to do to make sure everything goes smoothly!!! But despite that, the kids really do  enjoy themselves and that is the most important thing!!! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BEST Business Training Group 12

Since I started doing this training 5 years ago, I have run it now with 12 groups, and every group still has some surprises for me... One of the things we do is for them to run a cash book - just to keep track of everything in cash. And this time one of the teams said to me "but we need another cash book" and when I asked why, their reply was "because that is what everyone in business does here... runs two cash books: one they show to the tax man and one they do for themselves..." Luckily they were only joking, but this is still something that is too prevalent here. :(
Ljilja helped a lot with the actual training, and it was actually easier for me as we now have a translated version of the handbook: so I can ask the questions directly from the handbook instead of having to translate them in my head!!

This was also the first time we ran the training in our new classroom, and it works well, even if the layout is not ideal.
Here are the red team who despite their tendency to save too much, ended up doing quite well:
The blue team was well-balanced, and very,very good negotiators: two of them having finished a negotiating course:
Some of the greens needed help with their negotiating and communicating skills: they were the ones who ended up almost bankrupt because they didn't make a deal to sell their products on... a good lesson for everyone on the importance of good business relationships:
Some of their start-up businesses were also very unique: ranging from piano lessons to selling artwork... it was great fun to see what they came up with to try and make some money as part of the practical part of their training.

Already there is a lot of interest for group number 13 in the new year, and so I look forward to helping more people get a grasp on business concepts, and improve their negotiating skills amongst many other things that we teach while doing this training!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Church opening!!!

Things have been VERY busy around here, as we were doing all the things we normally do, and trying to finish up the building and getting ready for the official opening of our new Church sanctuary. We have been in the building since February, and using it for many other things, but the "church" part wasn't finished until now... We set the date already a month in advance as we knew people from outside of Bosnia wanted to come, and as they had booked tickets, there was no going back!! Sunday the 16th of November was the official opening of the church, whether we liked it or not!!

And I must admit, the sanctuary, which was once a garage, looks nothing like it did in the beginning... thanks to teams, and many volunteers and workers, we have a wonderful place in which to worship God in this city. We had over 70 people at the opening, from all over including Finland, England and Serbia, as well as guests from Banja Luka: 
And yes, that is me on the piano... I shocked even our congregation as it is the first time I played it (there was no one else, and it seemed silly not to use it...) and despite the extra work it is for me (as guitar is my instrument, but piano I can do if I practice hard) I may be playing more in the future... We practiced so hard, that I literally could play with my eyes closed, and as this is the only pic of me with my eyes open, I clearly was doing a lot of eyes-closed-playing :) It really was great to be able to worship with so many people at once!!
Sinisa did the main (short) sermon, and he did a great job as usual...
But we also had guests sharing and some even singing for us: - Sinisa is picture with them: from left to right: Andy Mayo (from OakHall, UK) and Neso and Dario from Novi Sad:
Rami, my former teammate, now back in Finland,  also shared and he reminded us that 4 years ago when we wrote out the vision we had for the church we had one big desire: to have a church building where we could have everything in one place... and now we see that the Lord has completely provided!!! It was so good to be reminded of that! He also gave the church a wonderful gift from Finland - a lovely new set to use for the Lord's Supper:
During the service, our little (and some not so little) guests were being entertained by a movie in the coffee bar:
Afterwards, it was time to relax and enjoy the wonderful food set out upstairs in the classroom... and celebrate the fact that we have this phenomenal building in Banja Luka!!
Come and visit and see it for yourself!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

It's the weekend...

It's the weekend, but we started it with two workshops... On Friday night, our good friends from the Izvor Centre in Sarajevo, came up to run a workshop for people who helped in the floods. It was a really useful seminar and we even had two guys from the Mountain Rescue Service who found it extremely helpful! We need to make sure that we take care of those who take care of others! Thanks guys, we really appreciated it!
On Saturday we had another workshop for our sponsorship kids. Today's topic was "love": Our friend Gordana did the first part, and helped us see how we are loved and how to love others better.
I really wanted us to do something with the verses about love in 1 Corinthians 13... and just looking at what we had at home (I found the straws last week when tidying...) I made up the following activity... hearts on straws...
It was a big hit!And a great way to learn about what love should actually look like!
Hopefully it will be lesson that they will easily forget...
The rest of the weekend we will be taking the advice from the Friday night workshop and resting up for the week coming up!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...