Monday, August 6, 2018

Saturday, August 4

We set out on our Back to School shopping trip Saturday morning. The town of Lom, Bulgaria has a downtown square surrounded by several shops. Since Walmart has not come here, these little shops offer a fairly good variety of many different items. There are several shoe stores and clothing stores along with a shop for school supplies and a couple of toy stores. Last year was our first experience taking 15 Bulgarian kids shopping with only two translators. I think the group home directors must have heard about our chaotic expedition because this year they divided the kids into smaller groups. This made shopping a little easier for us. We divided up and took the boys to the stores they preferred and the girls to the stores they liked. We encouraged the kids to select jeans and tops that they can wear to school. Each child also bought shoes. Most of the kids are teenagers so they have very definite opinions about clothing! The girls enjoyed the opportunity to try on outfits and get opinions from their friends. One group home recently got a cute 6 year old boy named "Go Go". His director personally brought him and we all accompanied them to the children's shop. Go Go was excited to choose his new clothing and action hero underwear. This year's shopping trip was much smoother and enjoyable than last year's trip! We are so grateful for our congregation and friends who have supported the Bulgaria mission fund each year! Your contributions made 15 to 20 kids very happy! 

Katie's daughter, Bo, was home from Denmark this year. We had not seen her since she translated for us five years ago. It was so good to see Bo and catch up! Bo was a tremendous help again this year translating for us!

Saturday was a good day filled with shopping and sharing time together. We met new kids and reconnected with kids we know. We spent time talking and sharing news. The kids remember everyone who has come to visit. They really missed not being able to see the other members of our team, too! 

After lunch we spent a few hours at the original group home in Lom. This home opened 10 years ago and we have supported them in many ways. Their director, Katia, is so friendly and appreciative of everything we have done! She is in charge of 8 or 9 kids including little Go Go. Katia was eager to brag on each child! She gave us very detailed reports of their progress in school and other activities. She told us about their recent "Master Chef" contest within the group home. The kids organized the contest with three teams. Each team cooked and served a different dish. Everyone tasted and voted on the winning team. Katia also told us about Gloria who won a scholarship prize by writing an essay. Her prize included money to purchase books and a cell phone. Gloria is entering the 11th grade and she hopes to go to college and become a photographer one day.

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