Home for the First Time (Mike S)

Sometimes walking through Slobodskoy feels like you’ve stepped into a Hunger Games kind of dystopia. Mud, dirt, soot, smoke, snow, ice, repeat. There are few colors to draw your attention in the dreary landscape. But the ensouled flesh and blood of our friends here make the Northern Lights that they saw here a few weeks ago seem like a pale example of God’s generous creative activity. There is an electric quality to being among a people who are so fully present in their experience. In some ways, it’s blinding and deafening to be witness to such rich moments, and yet you find yourself hungry to be overwhelmed all over again.

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Warming our hearts (and sausages and s’mores) by the bonfire

Can you feel like you’re coming home to place you’ve never been? More than the place, it’s the friends we have here that make the trip feel like a family reunion. To find so much in common, but so much glorious difference that we get to celebrate in each other is a true gift. I could wax on rhapsodically forever, but it’s starting to feel a little indulgent and rambly, so I’ll wrap it up. I was afraid of not having the kind of experience that everyone else seems to have, and being a disappointment. But in every most unexpected and surprising way, I am learning that God’s grace does indeed abound, and holds the whole cosmos together, even when using a different color pallet.

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