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Our English Language Conversation Group for newcomer Ukrainian women got off to a wonderful start last Saturday. We started off enjoying coffee and goodies and then gathered in the fireside room where Pastor Vida welcomed everyone and introduced Nataliya Zaliznyak, who will be the faciliatator for the eight weeks. Nataliya, is herself recently arrived from Ukraine. She taught English as a second language to students at the Ukrainian Catholic Univeristy in Lviv, which is in western Ukraine.  She lives on the North Shore with her two children, while her husband serves his country working as journalist. We were also delighted to introduce Jane, who comes from Krivoy Rog, a city of over 600,000 people in Ukraine. Jane will provide childcare for any mothers who come with young children. Jane is also busy working on the charitable art project, Ukrainian BEREHYNIA or "Ukrainian identity". The exhibition and interactive displays are designed to help us experience the diversity of Ukrainian culture through art. It takes place on November 12 from 2:30 to 4:00 PM at  False Creek Community Center. 


After we settled into our circle, participants Olena, Olga, Svitlana, Viktoriya, Tetyana and Nataliia--despite varying abilities-- launched right into practicing their English by introducing themselves to the group. They were also eager to hear from one another as well as from Candace, Marcia, and Pastor Vida.  and  There was so many stories to tell, our circle introductions took most of our time. When an unfamiliar English word was used, our instructor Nataliya wrote it on the board and provided context and explanation in Ukrainian. 

We are looking forward to our next circle which takes place this Saturday at 1:00PM.  Women from our congregation are warmly invited to join the circle on any Saturday so that we can provide English conversation partners. I guarantee you will go away enriched by the courage embodied in the lives and stories of our Ukrainian sisters in the face of adversity.