Wednesday, August 16, 2017
By Bixyl Shuftan
Not long ago, I traveled to the Faravari sim on the mainland to meet up with Cleopatra Xigalia, who wanted to talk about the Ephesians Four Christian community that she was part of. Cleopatra was one of a group of people at the spot I arrived at, a resting place with some pillows and chairs and a hammock under some palm trees. I had been there earlier for a live music event, and Cleopatra welcomed me back. Cleopatra told me that conversations at the place could be in voice, chat, or both. We decided on chat so I could take down more information.
One of the women there offered to record the conversation. Another responded, "need to fix my hair and make up (giggle), just joking." "I haven't started the record. Now.run and make your make up (giggle)." A third girl grinned, "need to put on a longer skirt ... funny in real-life I spend all day filming people. Now ... there is cam crew filming here." A fourth lady commented, "I trust you *name), I am sure you'll make me look cute *giggles*. Okay I'll be quiet (laughter)." More would continue to drop in as we talked.
It was about then that one person, Jamiela1, dropped in and greetings were exchanged. Cleopatra told me she "was drawn back in to Second Life, and then found us right after logging back in. It seemed that in Second Life, there are Christian sims. But for us ... um, they didnt meet the full need. We saw a gap, sort of, if you know what I mean. There were classes, bible studies, but not really place for us to meet and spend time together building bonds in such a way as Christians."
Ckeopatra explained, "Here is a passage from one of our studies on fellowship.last week. 'Ephesians 4 is a sim founded on the idea of fellowship. But what does that word, "fellowship" really mean? Is it swapping life stories about ourselves? Is it sharing the Gospel at campfires with visiting nonbelievers? Is it keeping to our own Christian community, growing ourselves to the exclusion of other believers?' It is a critical part of the Christian life. It is essential for new believers. It is a direct call from God for us to have unity." Jamiela1 commented, "I think this is a Christian Hangout that welcomes fellowship along with Bible Studies and open discussions. We welcome the curious of faith....the new in faith and the experienced in hopes to help us all in our journey of the Written Word (Bible) and to what God plans for us all."
Cleopatra mentioned the people in the group were from around the world, the United States, Scotland, England,Germany, Holland, India, France, Philippines, Denmark, Mauritius Island, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Finland, Israel,Canada, Jamaica, and probably a few others. "We have many discussions with many all over the world," Jamiela1 told me. Cleopatra nodded, "We get some interesting visitors, we have lots of interesting discussions." "Yes, we learn about everyone's experiences all over the world."
Jamiela1 stated, "We study from the King James Version of the Bible so we have many who come curious, and many faithful." I asked if they used more recent translations of the Bible. Jamiela1 answered, "Many people use different translations, but we follow and are guided by King Jame Version." Cleopatra told me, "We use the NIV too, any translation that helps us understand, also going back to the Greek. One way we learn is in discussions of the Bible, so usually yeah, KJV is the go-to. Butour style of teaching is more discussion type, Bixyl, very participative. Some people here are very new to their Faith and understanding. Some people have been believers for decades." Jamiela1, "Some other versions give more modern terms and translate to modern usage, but can loose somewhat the true translation. so we always refer back to the KJV."
Cleopatra added, "We learn about God from reading and studying the Word, and from living and gaining experience applying His Word to our lives directly. 2 Timothy 3:16, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, we also learn from each other. Proverbs 27: 17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Jamiela stated, "The core of this group sticks to the teaching from the KJV."
Cleopatra then moved on, "Some things we do though are very very serious. People bring real problems to us and issues." One man commented, "We had a woman share her story about losing her children.It was moving to see and her. That's the key in our fellowship to build each other up and comfort each other in the word of God." "It is very real here," Cleopatra told me. "We truly are here for and with each other," Jamiela added. Another stated, "That is the point! We are real and our faith is real. It's not a roleplay."
Cleopatra told me, "We dont have a 'pastor' or have sermons in the church. We are here for each other in fellowship. We aren't a church. We are *the* Church." The man commented, "We are the Church as it was intended originally." One girl commented, "Sometimes we also just hangout without doing something, just sitting around in silence and enjoy not being alone alone ... brothers and sisters in front of God." "We are safe here and are secure in our silence," Jamiela added, "We are together for one another."
I asked about some of the challenges the group has had over time. Cleopatra told me, "We have only been here since May, so we didn't know what to expect. We had to get more chairs for one." She also mentioned griefers, "I think there were seven of them at one of our first events. ... Last night we had a couple trolls." I asked how often they show up.Cleopatra told me, "Less than I expected actually." One other challenge was the group was getting larger in size, "growing kinda fast. So we just take this one day at a time, and look to God's word for what we are to do and how to handle things. We have struggles daily. We look to the word for how to handle them. The Bible gives us instruction on how to handle these." Jamiela1 added, "We seem to be able at the end of the day handle through God what we deal with each day."
"If you know what I mean," Cleopatra told me, "in the end it is *all* for God. So we are here for each other, yes, to grow together, but of course in the end our mission is the spread the Word." She pointed to a nearby structure, "The lighthouse is on the sim in the corner. We are here to be light."
It was about then that Cleopatra and I parted ways, "I hope you had a good time visiting us."
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
By Wesley Regenbogen
DeafLegacy Resident, "Someone who I used to know in real life was the one who told me about Second Life. I got interested and asked him how I can join. He helped me out. When I got on Second Life, I met some peopl,e and that was how I got started here."
Wesley Regenbogen, "Question two: How did you get involved in Virtual Ability and how did that reflect your experience here in Second Life?"
DeafLegacy Resident, "The same person who introduced me to Second Life was a member of Virtual Ability. I met Gentle Heron, and I found out what Virtual Ability is all about. I asked to become a member and ever since then, I've been with the group. It reflects my experience in Second Life a great deal because I'm disabled and as far as I know, there had been no misunderstanding, which is fantastic."
Wesley Regenbogen, "Question three: You are also a reporter for SL Newser. How did you get involved in SL Newser? As I understand you are a writer in real life as well."
DeafLegacy Resident, "Well, there is one person I'd like to give credit to for introducing me to the Newser. It would be you, who introduced me to Bixyl Shuftan, and I asked him if I could be a reporter. Bixyl said yes, and on that day, I've became a reporter. It is true that I am a writer in real life as well. So far, I've written two stories, and hope to write a third story soon."
Wesley Regenbogen, "Question four: Was it difficult for you to get started in Second Life, because of your disability in real life? I understand Virtual Ability helps people with disabilities in Second Life and does a great job at doing so."
DeafLegacy Resident, "I met Gentle Heron on the first day I was on Second Life. I became a member on that day. It wasn't hard because someone who introduced me to Second Life was a member of Virtual Ability. That helped me a lot, even though I have no idea if that person is still around in Virtual Ability."
Wesley Regenbogen, "Question five: How long have you been member of Virtual Ability ?"
DeafLegacy Resident, "I have been on Second Life for two years now. So I've also been a member of Virtual Ability for two years."
Wesley Regenbogen, "Question six: What role do you have in Virtual Ability or are you just a member of it ?"
DeafLegacy Resident, "I'm just a member."
Wesley Regenbogen< "Question 7, If you would meet another person in Second Life that has a disability, would you introduce them to Virtual Ability and guide them around SL?"
DeafLegacy Resident, "Yes, I would."
Wesley Regenbogen, "Question eight: What plans do you have in your Second Life in the near future?"
DeafLegacy Resident, "I hope to continue renting the land parcels I have now until it's no longer possible. And I also hope to continue being a reporter and a photographer for SL Newser."
Wesley Regenbogen, "I wish you all of the luck and hope you will do what you like here in Second Life. Thank you for taking the time for doing this interview."
DeafLegacy Resident, "Thank you, Wesley."