I am Elena Murlina. I am from St. Petersburg, Russia. I have lived in the United States of America for three years. I am studying the English language at the class which is taught by my favorite teacher, Barbara. Barbara invited me to this class and I am very happy to go to her class. I am happy to be here. There are very nice people here – very friendly and very helpful.

When I was living in Russia, I never learned about religion. It was not allowed. But I heard about religion and I see religious people here and I want to understand more. When St. John’s church opened the Alpha class, I joined and since then I am happily going to this class. My English is not very good yet, but my favorite teacher Barbara and my friends are trying to help me as much as they can, so I can understand everything that is going on in this class.

If so many people believe in God, it means God exists. I believe that God exists, and I want to know more about God. I believe that if I get baptized that I will be closer to God. I have to be together with God.

Thank you, not only from me but from all my friends in the ESL class. I’m very grateful to this church. You are not just giving us knowledge about English. You’re not just teaching us how to live in the United States of America. You have given us the opportunity to learn more about God and be closer to him.

Elena was baptized in the Contemporary Service on April 28, 2019 with her 'favorite teacher, Barbara' Foxhall as her sponsor. She attends English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at St. John the Divine twice weekly along with over 100 other students. Her next step after the ALPHA class will be a Sunday morning series on 'Jesus and the Bible', taught by Dr. Ida Glaser that begins on Sunday, May 5.

We are a resurrection people! In the weeks following Easter, we are sharing stories that illustrate how we live our thanks to God. We are challenging everyone to think of one thing you are grateful for this week, and one thing you will do this week for others to be a part of God's Living Thanks.

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