Genesis Christian welcomes thankful Russian visitors
A visit to Tonganoxie this past week by four Russian students and their principal was their way of saying thanks for years of support of their Light of the World Christian School.
The four students, Elena Bushueva, 14, Vladislav Danilycher, 14, Alexandera Pyatunina, 15, Vladimir Kotochijov, 13, and their principal, Alexey Gribov, visited Genesis Christian Academy on Thursday and Friday as part of a six-week tour of the United States. Along the way, they're making stops at the many U.S. churches and schools that have donated money for their school in Kostroma, Russia.
"People have been helping our school for many years and have not seen the fruit of their work," Gribov said.
While many churches and schools including Genesis Christian Academy send representatives to Russia regularly, it is not often that the school gets to send people to the United States.
To remedy that Gribov and Ron Cook, director of operations of Mission to Russia, which helped establish a Christian church and the Light to the World Christian School in Kostroma, arranged the tour. The students will make stops at sponsor churches and schools in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas and New Mexico.
This is the first time the four teens have come to the United States; it is Gribov's second time.
"The kids enjoy every time being in the States," Gribov said.
Besides the warmer weather, Gribov said the students were enjoying the different kinds of food and "new friends and lots of familiar faces from people who have come from Russia to visit."
Danilycher, the oldest boy on the trip, said he really liked the people he had met.
"Kids are very friendly here," Danilycher said.
"People are more friendly; more open." She said. "They make friends easier."
Although the teens have been learning English in the classrooms back at home, a language barrier still exists between them an their American peers. But that didn't stop them from making friends at Genesis Christian Academy.
"Kids are kids everywhere," Gribov said. "They found common language quicker than we adults do sometimes."
The students stayed in Tonganoxie through Sunday afternoon, and Gribov said he noticed some differences between his school and Genesis Christian Academy.
"We have a more formal structure," Gribov said, "12 desks, one student at a desk. Here you are at a home atmosphere."
Gribov said both schools had a welcoming environment, but Genesis Christian Academy felt warmer.
There are currently 109 students enrolled in Light to the World Christian School in first though 10th grades.