Victor’s Dream

29 01 2012

by JIM SLAUTER,
Orlando, Florida, USA

It was an early Sunday morning, and the Odessa, Ukraine, public beach on the Black Sea was coming to life as our recently planted congregation gathered for a baptismal service.

People around us quieted as we sang, prayed, and prepared for the baptisms of four new disciples of Jesus. Each person being baptized wore and shared a white robe coat. During the baptisms, I noticed that Victor, a 7-year-old, stood as close as possible. He listened to the prayers, and watched intently as each person was immersed.

Following the four baptisms, Victor asked Pastor Volodya Glushkovetskyi if he could try on the white coat to see if it would fit next year. I remember his smile as Pastor Volodya helped him slip into the wet white coat.

We returned to the church, where that afternoon we joined with the congregation in the service of confirmation. Most young children chose to play quietly in another room. But Victor again watched intently as each recently baptized person sat in a chair in the center of the room for confirmation.

After the final confirmation, I saw Victor again whisper in Pastor Volodya’s ear. Then Victor walked directly to the confirmation chair and sat down, smiling broadly.

His countenance spoke loudly of his hopes and dreams for the not-distant future when he could be confirmed as a Community of Christ member.

I have thought about that day many times over the last several months. Each time I am reminded of Victor’s wish to become a disciple of Jesus and a member of Community of Christ.

I have wondered what would happen in the church if each of us would share the same expectation and hope for becoming disciples. What would change in our congregations if every disciple shared Victor’s hope-filled dreams for becoming more connected to God?

Would we become bolder in sharing our testimony and inviting people to join us in sharing the peace of Jesus Christ?

Each time I am reminded of Victor, I think about the scripture of Jesus speaking to his disciples about the importance of children and our understanding of God’s kingdom.

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 18:3–4

Victor may not fully understand all that becoming a disciple means or will require. However, his enthusiastic wish to begin that journey is a testimony of God’s nurturing love that his family and congregation are sharing with him.


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