paying it forward. {july 2016)

Two and a half weeks.  That’s how much longer these girls are with us here in Jacksonville.

Tomorrow will be nine weeks since they’ve arrived.  We so wish that you all could be there for every single step and witness the journey that these girls go on.  The fear and nervousness when they step off the plane, the gratitude when the first person drops off a meal at their orientation, the first time they see the beach….all the way to the moments alone where we are able to talk about how this summer has changed each of.  We could write a book on the journey that each girl has been on.  I’d love to go to coffee and share stories with each of you, but for now, this update will have to suffice.

The FUN that these girls have had- goodness knows we’ve been quite busy!  The last few weeks we’ve done game nights and Sea World trips…and cooked dinner with our families and played in the ocean.  But in my opinion, one of the best nights of the summer happened just last week.

Each Monday, all of the women and girls involved in The Greatest Exchange get together.  We drink Kazakh tea and play games, and someone shares their story.  Last week, someone asked for prayers for two sweet Ukranian orphans that are in Jax for an exchange program this summer.  The girls, coordinators and I were gifted tickets to go and see the Alhambra’s show of Beauty and The Beast a few days later.  The KZ girls, moved to tears by the story,  put their money together to buy tickets and bring these two precious girls to the show with them.   It was the greatest gift to see so many people’s generosity paid forward by six very grateful Kazakhs.

We do hope that ya’ll can join us for the Night of Celebration.  It will take place on Friday, August 12th at 6pm at Twenty Mile Park at Nocatee.  The girls will be serving Kazakh food, and will be sharing stories from the summer.  To RSVP, click here.

Kelly Ray

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