Minsk Essay 2018 by Tatiana Zakharov

This year I had the opportunity to visit Minsk with 9 other students my age. As we got off the plane I was very surprised by the amount of reception the relics of St. Elizabeth. It was very weird seeing how important it was to the public there because we live so close to those relics and don’t even think twice about the great opportunity we have.

My two favorite things about this trip were definitely the panel we did and visiting the orphanage. Initially I assumed that we would be sharing our essays in front of 15-20 people, so when I saw the hall filled with a lot of people I was surprised. Sharing the essay itself was very nerve wracking; I felt like I was saying everything completely wrong and with a thick accent. After I was done though I felt very good and glad that I did it. There were many questions from the crowd that made me think a lot about my future; such as “how are you gonna raise your kids” and “would you ever move to Russia”. It was very cool to find out how interested people where in our Orthodox Christian lives in a country that lost many of those traditional values. Visiting the orphanage was very hard for me, seeing kids who completely depend on someone else and are also in that sort of state of mind was like seeing a completely different world. I found great respect for people who work there and devote their own lives to those kids. It was very nice knowing that through the “school piggy bank” program established by the Prince Vladimir Youth Association we were able to bring help from America to those children.

During this trip also I made new friends and connected more with the people I already knew. Sharing all those experiences and visiting many beautiful churches and services with everyone made it really hard for me to leave and I wished we gotta stay there longer. I thank you (Father Andrei) for letting me come on this trip, I still think back on those days with great joy!