As I reflect on the first day I arrived in Pskov,Russia to do ministry in the courtyard, I was wondering how I would fit everything in to place.
Before me lay a vast expanse of dirt and grass flanked by apartment buildings that look like they rose from the ashes of the cold war. The amphitheater had been beaten down by the harsh winters. The benches, or what was left of them, need some tender loving care, and the volleyball court was riddled with broken bottle glass and no net.
As I stood at one end of the courtyard area, children were just starting to poke around the area as the sun was heading to its highest point of the day. Its rays illuminated our scene and the Jolly Jump was just getting ready to awaken from its slumber.
It arrived in the back of a white panel van that was reminiscent of a FedEx delivery truck. There were no windows and three guys could be seen pouring out of the back of this van. They rigorously pulled the rolled up Jolly Jump from its place in the van along with its sidekick – the pump.
Neighbors in the surrounding apartments came to the windows to see who was invading their summer time space. As we went from window to window asking for some place to plug in the electrical cord, the children began to pour out into the courtyard. Our fearless chilren's leader – Mary – whipped out her trusty jumprope and began to invite the kids to jump.
I remember thinking…
“when was the last time I had jumproped?”
It seems like a fleeting memory, but I can only think that it must have been in grade school. How sad, no jump roping in my life since grade school – it was always a fun thing to do. It was the great equalizer!
As the Jolly Jump was spread out over the grass, the pump revived its life. The Jolly Jump loomed over the landscape, and invited the children to come and play! The smiles on their faces conveyed the joy of being a child.
The Jolly Jump was home to small kids and big kids. Some watching and some participating.
As I took the pictures, kids began to pose for the camera and the sounds of delight were heard all through the courtyard.
For five days, the routine was the same – the Jolly Jump roared to life in the morning, and kids could be heard squealing all the way down the slide.
Oh, Jolly Jump where have you gone? We miss you.
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