Goer blogs

Holidays I: Thanksgiving

By Isaac on January 4, 2014 Track: Teaching Region: Europe

Yeah, it’s safe to say the last month-plus has been a busy and interesting time, while this medium for sharing about busily interesting things I experience has been unfortunately neglected. Oops. But now I’m on break, and I can tell any of you who read this about it. So, late November to the beginning of January is what we call ‘the holiday season,’ because, well, there are holidays then. None of them went unappreciated by my teammates or me, no matter their relative weight to Russians. The first big one in line is Thanksgiving, which is simply not a thing to Russians, though they’ve heard... Read more

Opened Eyes, Opened Heart

By Rebecca on January 2, 2014 Track: Compassion - Justice Region: Europe

I walk up to the door a brisk Tuesday afternoon.  Locked.  No one inside yet.  I step down the doorstep, face the street, and wait.  A couple minutes later, I see a van that has slowed down to a stop in front approximately 8 meters diagonally from my left.  The van sits there.  It’s in an awkward place on the street, not a parking spot for sure.  The van continues to wait.  I see a shadow of what is the driver inside and then I look another direction.  After 10 more seconds have passed, I look back.  The van is still waiting.  This occurs one or two more times, with me looking another... Read more

Birthdays for Everyone!

By Brianna on December 31, 2013 Track: Teaching Region: Europe

The Pushkinistas (myself, Hope on the left, and Macey on the right) celebrated Rickie's birthday with Isaac (the tall kid in the GoCorps shirt) spear heading the project. Rickie was in St.Petersburg last year and had a really hard time, as he didn't have much emotional support from his team. So we were determined to come through for him on this special day!  We surprised him by hiding one floor above his flat while Isaac called Rickie to ask him to run to KFC. While he was out, we four slipped into his flat behind him. He was very surprised when he came back to shouts of "surprise," cake, a... Read more

Christmas At Last!

By Brianna on December 30, 2013 Track: Teaching Region: Europe

Honestly, what didn't happen this month? Earlier this week, we had our students preform their Christmas songs for their parents (and teachers!). Precious? Yes, off the charts precious. I would like to publicly state that all of my students performed PHENOMENALLY. We also got to share the First Christmas Story at this event. Some people in Russia know the story, but we really found out this holiday season how few people have ever heard it. It was cool to be able to share that with people. We also had a smashing party with some of the Russians and the Brits in the area. See posted picture. It... Read more

The Past Few Weeks

By Rebecca on December 24, 2013 Track: Compassion - Justice Region: Europe

I am thankful for time to breath.  The past month has been hectic, but I am thankful for the next 2 weeks I have off from class and Neustart (the prostitution ministry I am serving here in Berlin) to get caught up and most of all to seek God’s face.  Rest also comes from having a place to call HOME! here in Berlin.  Praise God! The past few weeks have been spiritually dry for me.  I was not finding rest in God’s presence.  I was neglecting quiet time with Him each day, filling that time with other “priorities”.  And in doing so, my heart was wandering further from His.  I was not living out... Read more

Safe and Sound

By Rebecca on November 26, 2013 Track: Compassion - Justice Region: Europe

I returned to Berlin, Germany (where I am serving the next 2 years) this Friday, and I am thankful to be back “home”.  I was in Cyprus attending the European Freedom Network's EUIP Conference in Cyprus.  This conference lasted 4 days and representative from around the EU, including me and 2 others representing Neustart in Germany, were there to network and seek ways in which to combat the issue of human-trafficking.  Above is a picture of those who attended (I took the picture so you can't see me, haha).  A part of me did not want to leave Cyprus.  The weather was amazing and the coast breath... Read more

Showing Up

By Isaac on November 26, 2013 Track: Teaching Region: Europe

Three months into living here, I no longer experience the excitement and novelty of my situation on a daily basis anymore. There are whole worlds still to learn and new experiences regularly, and I do still love what I’m doing, but it isn’t still in that first feeling of absolute novelty. Yet, I’m still only starting to have a clue about how life here is going to work and what possibilities it holds. It was so new, a month ago, walking away from the apartment at sunrise to go to school and figure out a lesson that was either going to be very good or very bad. Now, it’s just daily life,... Read more

Nefarious

By Rebecca on November 11, 2013 Track: Compassion - Justice Region: Europe

Defined by Merriam-Webster, nefarious is “flagrantly wicked or impious”.  ”Nefarious” is also the title of a documentary Evette and I watched on Tuesday—a very powerful, eye-opening, and heart-wrenching film.  ”Nefarious” is about the issue of human-trafficking in the world, focusing specifically on prostitution as the primary avenue for this slavery. The film talked about how these women got wrapped into the sex-slavery—either kidnapping, trickery (promised a job in a big city and desperate for a new life or a way to support their family in their home country), their families sold them (many... Read more

Joy: Singing while Cooking, Praising while Living

By Isaac on November 4, 2013 Track: Teaching Region: Europe

I’m learning a lot lately about joy. That’s a good thing, especially seeing that the only way to learn most things is to experience them. I’m experiencing a lot of joy lately. But not all the same kinds. I want to – in fact, I’m about to – use food as a fitting metaphor for joy. But I can’t do so without acknowledging that I’m not the first, since I’m stealing the idea straight out of the Bible, where bread is more than once used to stand for daily sustenance and provision. And because I can, I’m adding music as well. Music and food are my signs of joy. I eat every day. I play music (almost)... Read more

Teaching as Witness

By Isaac on November 3, 2013 Track: Teaching Region: Europe

            I keep trying to bear in mind why I’m here. To teach English, that’s the first-level answer, and not a bad one. That is why I came here, and what I’m doing. But then I can ask again: so why did I come here to teach English? This whole idea is supposed to be for God and for the Russian people – so how does teaching fulfill that?             Of course there is the hope that I may be able to witness to students or others with whom I build that significant a relationship. But those opportunities will not be frequent, and only God knows what will come of them. Whence, then, will come... Read more