Margo Kelley, OCMC Assistant Missionary Coordinator, offered me an opportunity to shake hands digitally over Skype with the parish family of St. Christopher Hellenic Orthodox Church and their parish priest, Rev. Fr. George Tsahakis. My first contact with this parish was from my previous ministry at the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center (PTFC). We received beautifully hand-knitted shawls for the struggling mothers from the St. Christopher’s Philoptochos Society through the visiting 2009 OCMC Mission Team. Now two years later, God has brought us together so that we can support each other in our ministries.
I have been organizing a knitting group held once a week with the teenage girls at the halfway house in Orhei in the Republic of Moldova. For each meeting, I prepared a topic to discuss so that we use our time in a constructive way. One of my goals is to build faith in these girls. The Prayer Shawl Ministry has reached out to support others in prayer through clothing the naked. Here in Orhei, adoption of this ministry can set a foundation for these girls to pray while knitting, and to knit with a more targeted purpose.
The parish of St. Christopher was equipped with all the tools necessary to perform the Skype call. We were in the narthex of the church for the meeting because they are using a temporary office space until they build their church. We had a good internet connection and webcam capabilities that brought a whole other dimension to the call. In the time span of fifteen minutes, I shared my current ministry and enjoyed a general period of questions and answers. This was such a meaningful time together to express the impact of the far-reaching Prayer Shawl Ministry and the gratitude of those who are touched by it.
This first parish Skype call also made a significant impact on me as a missionary. As I am the only OCMC Missionary in Moldova, one of my weaknesses is in battling the thoughts of loneliness. To fight these thoughts of loneliness, time and time again God shows mercy and provides people and activities to witness to me that I am not alone. God has blessed me to meet many parishes so that we could continue the work of Holy Spirit together. For me, the support team has been a tremendous part of my ministry and I will encourage other parishes to use their technology to connect with me in the ministry in a real way.
I am calling out to parish priests, OCMC Ambassadors, and faithful to make this type of internet meeting a future possibility. My Skype name is christinasemonocmc. Please email me to arrange the scheduling of our Skype call so that we, too, may greet one another face-to-face and beyond any distance.