After almost a year of praying and planning, we are in the final stages of preparing for our trip to visit our sponsored orphanage in Slobodskoi, Russia in the Kirov Region of the country. Sponsored by Children’s Hope Chest and Christ United Methodist Church, the group visiting over Easter Week includes twenty-one travelers (11 adults and 1o kids ranging from 11-17) from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The picture above is of the actual orphanage we sponsor and will be visiting, taken during a visioning trip a few years ago.
The final countdown has begun as we leave in just 10 days. The feelings of “What a great way to spend Spring Break” have been replaced by “Are we really ready to do this?” I think the reality of our trip hit home recently as we discovered the temperature in Kirov was -30° F. The good news is that the temperature right now is 15° F and it could get in the low 30’s by the time we are there. But my guess is that the coldness of the air will be quickly warmed by the hospitality and love of the orphans and staff in Slobodskoi.
The group has been meeting on a regular basis to prepare for all aspects of the trip – logistically, culturally and spiritually. These meetings have helped the group grow closer together as we prepare ourselves for this journey. Lots of love, laughter and breaking bread together!
This last Sunday, we met for our packing party. We are bringing a great deal of extra supplies for our week with the kids at Slobodskoi. Everything from craft supplies to sports equipment to blankets we made for them to gifts for the kids and our translators. We are especially grateful for all of the donations of supplies and resources to help us provide for the kids and staff in Slobodskoi.
Of course, extra items means extra baggage. Everyone will be packing one suitcase with their clothes and necessities. In order to get everything over to Russia, each adult will carry one extra bag of supplies, packed carefully in duffel bags. That’s about 11 more bags of “stuff” coming with us (special thanks to Delta Airlines for waiving the $50 extra bag fee for our group!!).
So we gathered this last Sunday to have a packing party – bring your supplies, bring your duffels and pack bags that weigh less than 50 pounds.
It actually was not as tough of a process as expected. Kim kept us very organized, everyone had their supplies and thanks to the magic of vacuum packing, everything fit neatly in the duffel bags.
This was the final step in our planning process together. The next stop – RDU Airport on March 27.