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St. Stefan Serbian Orthodox youth fellowship on their first service to the community

On Sunday the 8th of January 2023 the recently established youth fellowship of St. Stefan Serbian Orthodox Church had their first service to the community, to St. Simeon aged care village. Even with a small starting number of members, a large impact was made. After just a few weeks of meetings and planning, the teens have taken initiative, as a team, to create Christmas cards and sing traditional songs. The people in the aged care home had lifted faces and immediately smiled at the sight of youthful visitors that came for them. To make the aged feel more comfortable, the Christmas cards were given out individually and Govori, Gospode and Božić, Božić, blagi dan were sung. This also acted as a reminder for the elderly that they are not forgotten and that God is present in their lives.

Once introductions were made, the youth spread out and got to have conversations with everyone that was in the room. This was done through activities such as engaging in card games and playing dominos with the retired, along with just listening to what they had to say. The very generous people gifted the youth with sweets and biscuits, as well as knowledge and advice for life. Laughter, happiness and tears filled the room, in place of the frequent silence that existed before the young people entered. For most or all of the residents, this was the only time they had to socialise and connect with people outside of where they live, and it

was revealed that visitors don’t come as often as desired. Once it was time to go, they waved

the young people goodbye with large smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes, with the

reassurance that someone will see them again.

These seemingly small gestures were immensely honoured and enjoyed by the people that they were shared with, and affected everyone emotionally. This service was an indicator to the youth to be grateful for everything that they have when they wake up and use each opportunity presented to them by God to make a difference. Most importantly, the elderly are remembered and have something to look forward to.

By Teodora Vidakovic

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