Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
by Angie Simon
Wow! What an amazing day! We started off the day learning about the history of Hope 4 Kids International where we got started smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union in 1973. After learning about the history and the rich culture of Russia, our team had the opportunity to visit a special needs orphanage in St.Petersburg. We all agreed that this was a very special place. There were around forty kids outside to greet us in all different ages. The team had just as much fun as the kids playing with bubbles, punching balls and passing out Beanie Babies. We played on the playground with equipment that was donated by Hope 4 Kids years ago. All the kids were so loving and happy to see us. They never wanted us to set them down! No matter what the age of the child, they were all excited to receive a Beanie Baby!
After the orphanage we were off to the Summer Palace where Peter the Great lived. The grounds were truly magnificent with all of the gold-leafed statues, exotic fountains and beautiful landscaping. The Summer Palace faces the Gulf of Finland that runs into the Baltic Sea. Sharon, Pat and Angie all took off their shoes and got into the Baltic!
Urban legend has it that Peter the Great had magic (secret) rocks planted inside walkways that when a guest stepped on the magic rock, it would spray them with water. Some of us who will remain nameless decided to take one for the team and go thru the fountians to give everyone a good laugh.
Before we left, we did a little shopping then headed to an amazing Russian restaurant that looked like a Russian version of Rain Forest Cafe! What an amazing day!