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Dear Family,

I had such an eventful day today! My teacher gave me this handout to help me share all that I did today
with you!

We attended five lesson stations today:

(1) The Ten Commandments: We can now recite all Ten Commandments, or rules that God gave
to Moses to share with us. Ask me about the hand motions that help
me to remember each commandment! We created an ancient
looking scroll of the Ten Commandments to take home.

We also learned that some people once asked Jesus what the most
important commandment was and Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind." And then he said the second most important
command is to "Love your neighbor as yourself." If we remember these two commandments,
we will follow all the rest (Matthew 22:37, 39). So, to show that we love our neighbors, we
created Easter Cards for our Church members who are in nursing homes or cannot leave their
own homes.

(2) The Good Shepherd: Today we were visited by a “shepherd” and we helped her find her lost
lamb, Woolie. She read the book, The Lost and Found Lamb, by Tracy
Harrast to us. Jesus told the people this story because he wanted them to
know how much God loved them and cared for them. He was telling
them that God is a lot like the shepherd. When you do bad things you
become lost from God and it makes him very sad. God cannot be around
sin. So the sins separates you from God. But God keeps calling you back until you find your
way. When you ask God to forgive you for the bad things you do, he is so happy because he can
be near you. God and all the angels in heaven celebrate when you ask God to forgive you.
We learned that in our church we have a special sacrament to help us tell God we are sorry for
any bad things we did and to ask for forgiveness. It is called Holy Confession. It is a special
time when you can go talk to the priest in front of the icon of Jesus. You are not all by yourself
talking to God about the things you have done wrong that has separated you from Him; our
priest is there with you to help you and answer any questions you have. He can even give you
suggestions on how you can keep from doing those bad things in the future. The priest then
says a very special prayer to God for you. Confession can make you feel like the little lamb that
was found! You will feel so happy and relieved!

(3) Jesus is the Light: During this lesson we went on a little adventure. Our teacher had us go into
the classroom one at a time. It was very dark. The only light in the room
was shining on an icon of Jesus Christ. Suddenly, the light went out. We
were told to find our way across the room to Jesus. It wasn't easy because
there were many obstacles in our way. If we ever lost our way, we would
ask for help and our teacher would again shine a light on Jesus. Eventually, we found our way
through the darkness to the icon of Jesus.

This exercise taught us that in our lives as Christians, we are constantly walking toward the
Light (of God). While on this journey, we may very easily lose our direction; ending up on
another path that leads us away from Christ. A decision must be made at this point - do we
admit that we are lost, or not? If so, we must then find a way back onto the path. In our
journey as Christians, the Bible states that a way back to the path leading to Christ is found
through repentance. We learned that this big word means to admit that we have separated
ourselves from Christ and to desire to reunite with Him. We can do this during the sacrament of
Holy Confession.

Another activity we had was called “Don't Miss The Mark!” There was a
poster of a target on the floor. At the center of the target was a picture of heaven.
We had to drop a marker while standing over the target; trying to get to heaven.
We took turns trying to hit the target of heaven while standing up. Then, with a
different color marker, we took turns dropping the marker while on our knees
over the target. We found it is a lot easier to get to heaven on your knees! Our
teacher told us that whenever we need God's help, just pray.

The final activity we did in this lesson was called, “Disappearing Sins.” The teacher gave
each of us a colored foam pellet. We each whispered something we had done wrong to separate
us from God into the foam pellet. Then we all put our “sins” into a bottle of water. The teacher
shook up the bottle of water explaining that the bottle symbolized taking our sins to Confession
at the church. She then poured the water into a bowl, and the “sins” had disappeared! Our
teacher explained that once we confess our sins in Confession, they disappear from God's sight.

(4) Baking Prosforo with Presbytera Garnette: We each made our very own prosforo which
means, “an offering to God.” Presbytera Garnette explained that prosforo represents both Jesus,
the Bread of Life, as well as the offering of our life to God. Bread represents life because it is a
staff of life. Once consumed it becomes part of us. Thus, in bringing the loaf of bread to God,
we are offering our life to Him as a gift of our love.

We prayed and sang hymns while we made the bread. After we formed the dough, we stamped
it with a religious seal called “sfrangitha.” We learned what the parts of the seal mean.

● The square piece is the piece that will be changed into the Body of Christ during Holy
Communion; it is called the Lamb of God. It has the letter ICXC NIKA which means
“Jesus Christ Conquers.”
● The large triangular piece represents the Theotokos.
● The nine smaller triangles commemorate the angels, prophets, apostles and saints of the
church.

During a service before liturgy starts, the priest breaks the bread and the seal and prays for the
different people represented by the seal; the Theotokos, the prophets, angels, etc. The priest also
prays for all those living whose names have been submitted to him. Then he prays for all those
who have passed away whose names have been submitted to him.
(5) Rainbow Cross Soaps: We made our own soap with a rainbow cross inside. God uses
rainbows to seal a promise just as He showed a rainbow to Noah after the
forty day flood to promise that He would never again flood the world like that.
We learned today that when we participate in the Holy Sacrament of
Confession, our sins are washed away so that we may have a closer
relationship with Jesus Christ. Every time I will wash my hands with this soap, I will remember
that I will get closer and closer to God each time I wash away my sins through Holy
Confession.

Thank you for bringing me to the Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church 2010 Lenten
Retreat! I can't wait until next year!

Love,