Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).
It was just this past October that I traveled into the Turkana region of northern Kenya. Here, under a shade tree with Fr. Zachariah and Fr. Vladimir (Orthodox priests of the Turkana tribe), we prayed with the local people and taught about the hope found in the waters of Baptism. The Turkana who listened attentively to the good news of the Gospel on that day, many of whom endured a fifteen-mile hike that morning just to obtain water for their families, traveled miles to be with us. Among this small group, new in their knowledge of Jesus Christ, it was not difficult to describe the beautiful reality expressed in John 4:13-14, since water is such a precious resource to these people.
There are people all over the world who still do not know the hope and joy found in the Gospel. The ministries of the OCMC serve to address both the spiritual and physical needs of others, so that they may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. As you read this, OCMC ministries are providing this loving witness to our brothers and sisters around the world, including the Turkana of northern Kenya. It is my prayer that we, the Orthodox faithful of North America, continue to come to a deeper understanding of how vital it is to share our faith.
To this end, I ask that you prayerfully consider two things. First, please pray for the strength found in the Turkana people, who, even though surrounded by an inescapable struggle for daily survival, now celebrate with us through the Eucharist in Christ’s glorious Resurrection. Second, remember that through the OCMC we partner with the Church in places like Kenya to build the body of Christ and make disciples of all nations.
I also invite you to renew your commitment to these ministries today through a financial gift in support of Orthodox missions and OCMC in its work in over 20 countries where a witness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is being offered.
May the knowledge of our growing Orthodox family and the universality of Christ’s message give you strength this Lenten season. Thank you in advance for your gift and for your commitment to international Orthodox missions!
Fr. Martin Ritsi