We love traditions!

If you want to be accepted by Ukrainians you have to have endurance, love for big meals and socializing. Whatever holiday it is - Saint Paul's day, teachers day, a birthday party - Ukrainians
prepare a program, set up a big meal and enjoy the crowd. There is always a good reason or occasion to keep this good tradition going.

The month of May marks the end of the school year. Not until recently Ukrainian schools would schedule graduation parties only for 9th graders or 11th graders. Having Finished 9 or 11 years of school a teenager could go to a professional school or a college. It was reasonable to have a graduation party, a big meal, a boat ride, dancing till 5 am and eeting sunrise. It has been a great tradition. A couple of years ago somebody decided that too many people get to be left out and came up with a new idea. From that time on the 3d graders have a graduation party in May and say farewell to the elementary school.

Two days ago our 3d graders from school-internot #4 had a great opportunity to say farewell to the elementary school. It started with an hour program that included reciting poetry and singing songs about
great three years of school, "thank you" poems and flowers to the teachers and supervisors, longs speeches of teachers and a director of internot. The children did really well. Dima Illin (he has a hip
problem) got dressed as a sister who really wanted to go to school and performed a wonderful dance. The bow on his head kept falling off and it looked like a sister was constantly beating herself on the head every time she thought about the school.

After the program everybody was ready for a big meal. A nice dinner at the restaurant was arranged by Harvest international. It was hard to see the children behind the high chairs. Little Oleg (the smallest boy in the class) pretended he was a king surrounded by knights and servants. Some of the knights were alive for him from the paintings on the walls. Everybody enjoyed the meal including the director of the internot. God really used her to make this party happen. The director of City Education Department called the day before and told that she would not give her permission to take the children out. The director
of internot found enough patience, wisdom and right words to defend two Americans and the children and get the permission. This was the first time she did such a favor for us and I made sure she heard our words of appreciation. I am glad I have enough Russian vocabulary to say something nice to people. The Lord really was with us on that day.

Every child in the third grade got a nice watch. That was a very valueable present for them. We told the children that those watches are meant to remind them about a different starting point in their life when they have to be responsible for their personal things, words, actions and decisions they make in their lives.

Tomorrow is the last day of school. In a week all of the children will go the the summer camp. This is an important time to make plans about the work with the children during the summer, remodeling of the
classrooms, bedrooms and playrooms, making decisions about the next school year. We would like to stay with the same 47 children and 12 people on the staff. Please join us in prayers for the "Heritage
program". Right now Tania and I, need God's guidance, wisdom, right decisions and enough funding for the next school year. We do not have any of that yet.