Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dropbox flashbacks...and fun with teams...

So, my phone backs up to Dropbox automatically, and now Dropbox sends me an email with "memories" from years gone by on this date... it is definitely going to be a lot of random photos, as I tend to use my phone for more practical photos than memorializing ones... Here is an example from 19.06.2014...

As it was generally my job to do the shopping for the teams helping us with the building last year, the guys at the hardware shop got used to me coming in with random photos of things we needed. I would always start off by saying "this is going to be fun: firstly I am a woman, and secondly this is not my mother tongue, but I think we can figure it out..." and usually we did! And now my hardware vocabulary is probably better in the local language, than it is in English, ha ha! 

Last month, I took two of the YWAM Davos team to the hardware shop to buy supplies to paint 5 doors upstairs (and they did a great job!) and we managed to get everything we needed. When we got to the check out, they spotted a kid's toy gun (with arrow bullets that stick on the wall). I saw it was only like 1,70KM (just under a euro) and I figured why not just buy them one... so I put it on the checkout with the rest of the stuff. Then one of the guys says "is that for us?" and I say "yeah" and he looks at me with his big brown eyes and says "it would be better if there were two of them, one each"... so of course I give in and get them two. Oh boy, they were sooooo happy!! I took them back to the house and they stalked and shot up the other members of the team and had fun with those guns... I was the coolest team hoster ever :)

Now, that is when I realise that these teams are filled with big kids... and I am getting old! Two of them played guitar with me in our church band, and I realised that I have been playing guitar longer than any of the team have been alive... but I love the fact that I can also be the fun auntie (and sometimes the strict mom!) to these great teams that come through Banja Luka! 

Blogging for books review: If God is good

"If God is good" by best-selling author, Randy Alcorn, takes a look at the age-old question of suffering. Just the other night we did an activity at our English class here in Banja Luka, where we mingle and ask each other questions on slips of paper and then switch questions and carry on. One of the questions was "If you had one question to ask God, what would it be?". I actually got that question to ask three times during the activity and twice the person's question to God was "Why is there suffering in the world?"

I wish the activity was also for me to answer the question, because I feel like I have a good handle on it after finishing Randy's book. It took a long time to read as it is really in-depth and looks at all sorts of angles. It is divided into 11 sections ranging from "Understanding evil: its origins, nature and consequences" to "Living meaningfully in suffering".

Each section is like a mini-sermon which can be taken on its own or in the greater context of the book. Filled with real-life stories and examples to make things easier to read, and also clearer, the book, though long is not tiring, and really goes in depth into this subject.

One quote that really spoke to me is and sums it up well is this:
"The world has gone terribly wrong.
God is going to fix it.
First, for his eternal glory.
Second, for our eternal good. "

I would highly recommend this book for anyone searching for the meaning in suffering, or working with people who are.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the blogging for books <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kids camp 2015

Once again we held the Kids camp for the kids from our sponsorship project in Bardańća, which is a bird reserve about an hour away from Banja Luka: It is such a lovely place!
This year, there were about 90 of us altogether and we had a lot of fun! We got to sing lots of fun songs: (some with actions!) Here are Rami and I leading... He and his family came back from Finland just to help with the camp!!
Every day we were treated to lovely talks by Sinisa: this time about Fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility and self-control.
Before each talk, the YWAM Davos team did a drama which was connected to the theme. Here they are doing "Jesus calming the storm" for "peace":
It was great having the team along for the ride... the kids loved having them get involved in "Bosnia vs North America" battles at our evening campfires: like shave your friend (using whipped cream)
Or who can make a pyramid the quickest... here the team is carrying their leader, Andrew :)
Besides the dramas, they were given the task of running one afternoon's games - and as it was hot, they were all including some sort of water:
Including a slip and slide...
So much fun, and so nice on a hot day!
They also just enjoyed hanging out with the kids, despite the language barrier... learning some fun sentences like "I am as sweet as candy" and some not so good ones from the naughty kids/volunteers :) Here is Nick with little Lejla:
Aleah and Courtney also redid the photobooth background (which we had used for the Children's Home) to make it ready for camp (we will use the photos for their sponsors, hence it being in English!):
We used it during one afternoon of group games (i.e. groups going around different stations) and the kids had a great time: here I am helping them picking their glasses and moustaches/lips:
The adults also got in on the fun: Here are Tanja and Emina:
Rami... (It was so great to have them come from Finland and work with them all, but sad to have to say goodbye AGAIN!)
Possibly my favourite picture is Sinisa: be afraid, very afraid ha ha!
But sadly, some people didn't figure out how to use it right... :(
Just kidding!! the team is soooooo cute, and we really had a great time with them being at camp with us!
Once again I was in a dorm with the kids, mainly because I like to go to bed early (they go to sleep at 10), but also because the kids love me and fear me in about equal measure :) - so, I kind of end up putting all the dorms to bed (especially when the "youth" volunteers that are supposed to be putting them to bed are outside having fun with the other volunteers... but that is another story). One night I had successfully got my girls to bed downstairs when I heard a lot of loud singing coming from the upstairs two dorms. I went upstairs first to the guys dorm and got them quieted down, and then realised that the girls dorm opposite them were also singing, so I went and got them quieted down...I do it in a nice way (and on the last night they were able to stay up later and have a bit more fun in their dorms...), but no sleep=a not fun camp, so I can be quite strict, as it is for their own good! Now the best part of the story is that while I was upstairs, Dragana was cleaning the showers downstairs and she saw some of the boys from downstairs start going upstairs to join in with the fun... she asked them where they were going, and they told her they were going up to see what was going on... she said to them "don't go up there, Belinda has gone up to sort it out". And the classic reply was "oh boy, I wouldn't want to be in their shoes..."!!! Mission accomplished :)

There were only two not so great parts to camp... the first being the mosquitoes. I now know what a swarm of mosquitoes looks like. Last year they were bad, but if it is possible, they were even worse this year... but it also becomes quite fun as you can hit anyone at will and just say "mosquito" and get away with it! The other sad part of camp was that we ended up sending two boys home on the last night. They were naughty from the get-go and then were warned and still did some stupid things and in the end we decided for their own good (and for the other campers) it was best they went home so hopefully they can learn their lesson... but still it was sad and hard for us as merciful Christians to do, but I really think it was the right choice for both of them...if you pray, remember them with us in prayer.

Then all of a sudden, it was time for us to wrap up camp. Showing off some of what was done during the workshop time: dance - led by the two eldest Kaakinens, Ruut and Rebekka:
And art: Led by Tanja... they made these pictures using crayons and hairdryers - so clever !
Then it was time to get on the bus and head on home...
Or if you are me, drive the kombi full of stuff :) Until next year...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Outings with the Children's Home kids...

As the school year comes to a close we usually take the children from the Book Club on some sort of outing... and this year we had teams to go along with us, what fun!

About a month ago, we took the older kids up the hill to Tresnjik (which is a lovely picnic area above Banja Luka). It is a good hour and a bit walk up the hill and then about that to get back down, so part of the outing was actually the walk, but we did spend about 2 hours at the top. The YWAM Biarritz team came along and helped us out with games and fun stuff and along with some local volunteers, it made for a great afternoon. I don't have any pictures to use of that outing as they all have the kids' faces in them, so you will just have to imagine it :)

This past Sunday the YWAM Davos team came along with us to the nearby Ethnic Village/Outdoor living museum in Ljubacevo. We took the younger kids and had to organise transport, but it all worked out wonderfully: our cars, some local volunteers driving and we all managed to get there and back in one piece :)

The museum was really well done and well worth a visit. And they gave all of us (16 kids and 18 volunteers) free entry which was fantastic! Here are some of the insides of the houses:

It was really hot, so we found a place in the shade and had our snack, while looking over the village and the beautiful view:
Both outings worked out really well and the kids (and the teams and volunteers!) had a wonderful time!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Booklook review: Lethal Beauty

"Lethal Beauty" is another Mia Quinn mystery by Lis Wiehl (with April Henry). Having reviewed the first in the series "A Matter of Trust", I grabbed the chance to read this one. It is a free standing book, so you don't have to have read any of the other books in the series to be able to enjoy it, but the characters are the same as in previous books, which helps you to enjoy it more if you have read any of the other books. Besides Mia Quinn, who is a Seattle prosecutor, this story once again includes the cute detective, Charlie Carlson... and her son, Gabe.

Trying to find justice for Dandan Yee, a Chinese prostitute killed in Seattle, while of course dealing with the murder and mystery, the book also explores the quite dark themes of prostitution and human trafficking and really makes one think about some horrible realities of this world.

As with her other books, the story draws you in from the beginning and the plot twists and turns keep you reading until you get to the end. I love books that you cannot put down, or read late into the night, and warning: this is one of those!!

I also love the fact that this is Christian fiction, but without being overpoweringly sweet and sickly. Down-to-earth and really living the Christian life in the real world. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a good holiday or travel read, especially Christian women who like to read wholesome fiction about uplifting women characters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, June 05, 2015

YWAM Davos Team...

I finally got a pic of the team together today... to be fair we had just unpacked and repacked the container so they aren't the freshest!
They have been super super helpful - see the great photo props they made for the Book Club if you haven't already - and they painted all 5 doors and doorposts on our top floor (while I was gone in Sarajevo for meetings...). They have been carrying on with English Classes we started with YWAM Biarritz team and having a blast skate-boarding with the kids at the Children's Home as well as with some local skate-boarders.

Also, this week I had my birthday, and so as treat (and to say thank-you for painting the doors so well) I took them out for the best ice-cream in Banja Luka "at Slavica's": mmmmm :)
It has been great having them here and they will be staying around for kids camp which starts in 10 days, which they are looking forward to and will be very helpful to have there!! 
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