Sacred Moments from Ukraine

Sorry I’ve been away for a bit. Things have been a little crazy in these parts, and I think that there will be time to breathe very soon.

We are just finishing up hosting an UMVIM team that helped us out with English Camp and two rounds of VBS.   It’s been a bit busy.

English Camp was actually pretty great. It went so so much better than I thought it would. Having never been to or hosted an English camp before, I kind of felt like a fish out of water. You never know what all is going to work or not, if everyone’s going to hate it, what if the food is bad, ect. With my booming voice I, full of uncertainty, led us from one activity to another, through water fights, english lessons, dinner, and punishments for Ukrainian speaking. The schedule was pretty jam-packed, and in the midst of it all, three of the staff members had to preach as well. I wrote mine at 2 AM, and I seriously do not know why they keep wanting me to do this preaching business.

Either way, on the last night of camp, we had a big bonfire. The American team brought us graham crackers and marshmallows, and we got to have smores. WOO HOO!

During this time of fellowship, it dawned on me… I’m in the middle of a sacred moment.

Normally, when in the midst of life we don’t see the sacred moments. We maybe don’t experience their sacredness in the moment, but when we look back we’re like, ‘man that was great, I wish I could back to that place at that time.’ While I was sitting around the fire, next to people I love and have journeyed with for the past almost 11 months and people who I hadn’t known longer than three days, I felt how amazingly blessed I was. I noticed that my time here is more than half gone, and that I will soon be removed from this place. That I will never again be at English Camp with this rag-tag bunch of awesome people. I sat there quietly taking it in. Breathing in the blessed moment, trying to memorize the smells and the looks on the faces of people I was with. Trying to hold on to that feeling at that moment before I finally gave into fatigue and went to bed. I wanted to hold onto it so badly.

That’s how I really feel about most of my time here in Ukraine. I want to hold onto it so badly. I want to take the time to see the sacred moments as they happen as well as when I reflect on them. There was something so lovely and perfect about that moment.  About a bunch of us that don’t all speak the same language, who don’t have the same experiences, family situation, or heritage, coming together playing songs and enjoying the shared pleasure of a bonfire.

Some things certainly do unite us in spite of the differences. I mean who doesn’t love a campfire and a good guitar player?

If you can name 5 then you’ll get a cookie.

As we approach the fall semester of school, and are planning the opening of preschool and what Pilgrims is going to look like for the year ahead, I see many future sacred moments. Many more times of peace and joy, and many more opportunities to share life with these folks. To counsel and encourage, and to be counseled and encouraged. I just hope I have the present-mindedness to live in them and not miss them as they pass by.

*This blog was previously posted on 7/11/13 here.

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Erica Oliveira100_3683
SE District FL Conference, Miami, FL
MI Class 2012
Advance # 3021491

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