Without a reliable source of water, the Turkana people in the village of Loupwala, located in the desert region of northern Kenya, struggled to survive. Women of this remote village would sometimes have to walk as much as seven miles each way to fetch water from the nearest well for their families, while the men struggled to find tiny patches of grass upon which their cattle could graze.
Hopefully these people, many of them newly illumined Orthodox Christians, will never know this hardship again. Thanks to the prayerful donations of Orthodox faithful across North America, OCMC is pleased to announce the completion of a borehole water well that will provide the people of Loupwala with water for years to come.
OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi committed to providing this village with access to water following a visit to the area as part of an OCMC Mission Team that he led in February 2010. Upon his return, he began the work of raising support for the project by asking people across the country to sponsor him on a 200+ mile walk across the High Sierra Mountains in California as a show of solidarity with the people he met who had to journey for so many miles simply to survive. Several Orthodox communities held their own missions walks to raise support as well.
The money raised not only made the well possible but also enabled OCMC to finish the construction of a church and support the operations of a primary school on that church property, in nearby Lodwar. The community of Turkana Orthodox Christians in Lodwar is beginning to thrive and grow and to develop plans for future OCMC mission teams, projects, missionary outreach and evangelism strategies to reach the people region.
One of these teams, consisting of Orthodox seminary students, visited in March to minister to offer catechetical seminars to people in communities like Loupwala and Lodwar. The team also witnessed the baptism of 120 people into the faith while another entire village requested catechism and baptism for the future. Please continue to pray for our Turkana Orthodox brothers and sisters. Pray that the light of Christ will reach the Turkana who have yet to hear the Gospel proclaimed.