Hey, everyone! I'm still alive and haven't frozen yet. I would apologize for not posting sooner, but I've had a great time hanging out with the rest of the team the last two weeks. By now I figure it's high time for some introductions!
I live on the base with Tamara and Sasha. Both of them are from Ukraine and have lived in Vinnytsa for awhile, so it's nice to have someone who knows the area. Tamara knows a fair amount of English, but Sasha is still learning. We've all learned a lot about the other's language, but we're still slowly getting over the language barrier. Mostly this involves me being a little silly and dramatic (if you can imagine that). It's been fun trying to communicate but we're getting better everyday! I have a feeling we'll be able to talk fairly fluently by the end.
Also on the team are Mitch (my fellow American) and Gert. So far I haven't gotten to spend much time with Gert since he has a family he's with when we don't classes. But he did go with us to Plyskiv, one of the orphanages he's been caring for for years. (More on that later.) Other than Gert, the rest of the team usually will eat dinner together on the base. We have an amazing cook that makes us two hot meals a day, and it's wonderful. We've had lots of fun, late nights together.
In addition to an amazing team, we also have a fantastic staff. You've probably also seen pictures of Daniel and Tetyana, and their daughter Camilla. They're in charge of the DTS, while Andrew Ford leads the base. Mostly we see Andrew and his family at our weekly community dinners, although he does keep an eye on us. Then we have Josh and Igor, the ones who picked me up at the train station in Kiev. Igor is from Ukraine and speaks a little English. Josh is from Canada and did his DTS in Vinnytsa last year, which is nice to have someone who just recently went through this.
We also see Marjolein (Mary-o-line if you don't know Dutch) and Justin fairly regularly. Both are on the base staff, which means they're more involved with ministry than the actual DTS. I see Marjolein once a week as part of our one-on-ones, which basically means she makes sure I'm doing ok throughout the school. Then we have Lena, our translator, who is phenomenal and has been helping me learn Russian!
Overall we've been working really well as a team and are already at home and comfortable with each other. And that's just after two weeks! I can't wait to see how God moves and changes us through these next five months. I can already tell it's going to be great. Today we're taking a road trip to some cabins (and I mean Little House on the Prairie old cabins) up in the mountains near Moldova. We'll be gone the whole week, so when I get back expect lots and lots of pictures!