Low Vision School
Vladimir, Russia

We have replaced the English teachers "blackboard" with a real blackboard.

On our last trip we took the textbooks, remaining budget, wall maps of the US and Texas, with Beaumont prominently marked, a wall poster of the Ten Commandments (might as well take them to a Russian school, can't hang them up in the US classroom), and an American video with a voice over that explained what the viewer wasn't necessarily able to see. We had hoped to find a tri-mode VCR, as we wanted them to be able to play Russian and US tapes on the same machine. European, Russian, and US recorders play different format tapes. Some of these recorders are very expensive. The teacher hoped to have one by that time, but it hadn't happened. Valentino's Department Store, in Vladimir, had a JVC player that left the budget intact.

Then, we had an idea. They could make their own workbooks if they had a copy machine. We went copier shopping. When asked a guesstimated price, our interpreters ventured, "Maybe $1000." Certainly, that wasn't in the remaining balance of our little budget that could. You guessed it, we bought a Canon desktop copier, spare toner cartridge, and 3 reams of paper. Bam! The little budget that could, was shot, kaput, finished, over, out, dead. But it finished the race victoriously.

The school director and the English teacher cried when we presented the VCR and copier. Other teachers scurried into the office, as excited as a little kid (in America) on Christmas morning. A simple little gift, many of us have at home, was an unattainable gift to them. Not only the English teacher would benefit, the whole school would.

One of the team members asked the director how many classrooms were in the school, he had blackboards on his mind. "Twenty, but we would make do with only 10 blackboards." One thing that has remained constant among the people we serve, they do not try to "strike it rich". They will tell you their needs without shame or desire for gain, just the facts. In the midst of their need, they will always have little gifts for us. Much thought goes into these gifts, as they try to match the gift to the recipient. They are truly thankful, they just can't understand why we do what we do. That's when the door swings wide open, and our opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them. Indeed, they are ready to listen.