Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Halfway there

Today is the halfway mark for our time at camp. You can see it in peoples eyes, they are tired. Today is also the halfway mark for our trip, at least the Latvia portion. The kids are still doing amazing, but they are very tired. They have been giving 100% of themselves for the past three and a half days and they are weary. I have enjoyed the role of coming alongside these 7 girls and giving them hugs when they need hugs and an ear to listen when they need that. Before this trip I had spent pretty limited time with them. We had one sleep over where I got to know them better, but besides that I did not know them very well. This trip has been an incredible blessing to me. 

This afternoon in our team meeting, Joel led us in a time of encouragement towards each other. He wanted the kids to say one thing to someone else in the room about an action they had seen on this trip that was encouraging to them. We kinda thought that we would have to pull it out of them a little. For a lot of people giving words of encouragement to others can be awkward. I was almost brought to tears when the kids just started one after the other sharing things that they had seen their peers do that they thought was worthy of encouragement. My heart was so proud, they shared  very meaningful things and not just about their best friend on the trip but about people I never would have thought they would share about. They were almost fighting over the chance to share. No one was left out, the kids made sure that everyone was encouraged. I hope that this lifted their spirits, because it definitely lifted mine. 

On the funny side, I definitely woke up this morning to Joel saying "Katie, there is a mouse in our room". I had thought about this yesterday when I realized we had food in our room. I had brought it to our room from the main building because the girls and I had a little shower/eating snacks time yesterday in Joel and my room. It was a fun little break of a few minutes where we got to let down our guard and eat some dry cereal and bread. But because of this, there were crumbs on the ground and a bag of food in our room. I guess I have to say we brought the mouse upon ourselves. After Joel saw the mouse which was at about 6 am, he decided to make a trap and see if he could catch the mouse, that we have lovingly named GusGus (yes, this is partly in memory of our favorite intern, we love ya Gus). Joel put some Corn Flakes into a plastic bag that we had in our room and set it out in the middle. He sat there for about 45 minutes just waiting to see if GusGus would come back. I have to say, that I was back asleep, Joel was very excited about the prospect of catching a mouse, but I was desiring sleep too much to care if GusGus came back for his second course. After about 45 minutes Joel gave up and climbed back into his sleeping bag. It was no more than 10 minutes later when GusGus returned to scavenge for more food. As Joel was trying to get out of his sleeping back, GusGus ran and scooted under our door. We have not seen GusGus again, but now we have a pet! 

On another note, good news, I found a better shower. When I say better, I just mean that the shower actually drains and does not have a dead moth in it and that there is more than a trickle that comes out of the shower head. There are a number of other things wrong with the shower for example it has no shower doors, but at this point, decent pressure and a shower that drains feels like heaven. 

Also, I have been absolutely shocked with how many bugs they have here. I have dealt with bugs before, I am not saying I have it figured out, but I don't mind a bug or two. But seriously, I think that all the bugs in the world are living in Latvia.... ok slight exaggeration. Just standing outside normally brings some sort of swarm of bees, flies (that bite) or a variety of other strange looking bugs. We saw a huge one today, it was a black beetle that had the longest antenna that I have ever seen. Joel got it on video, maybe it will be in one of the videos he makes. Maybe I will get used to them as time goes on, but probably not. But a praise, I have yet to get bitten, unlike most of the other people here. I guess I just don't have sweet blood, or it is because they can't catch me because at any sight of a bee or fly I am running as fast as I can. I figure it is good training for that next race I plan to run. 

Thanks everyone for your prayers and comments. We are having a blast here, but we definitely miss home. It is crazy to think that Joel and I still have a little over two weeks here in Europe. We will continue to try as best as we can to update you along our journey. 


  1. "GusGus (yes, this is partly in memory of our favorite intern, we love ya Gus)"

    Is it also named GusGus partly because of the mouse in Cinderella? Is it extremely humiliating that I know that? Yes, to the latter.

  2. Katie. Tell Joel not to give up catching the mouse. I just got back from our high school back packing trip and caught 3 chitmonks in much the same way. It took me about 3 and 1/2 hours to do it, but im pretty stubborn. In the end I let them go because they were way cute, and I cant kill a cute little animal! Love ya!

  3. hey katie...great to hear how things are going.....i know you're in the midst of life there and yet, i'm tagging you guys anyway.