Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s Blog

November 15, 2011

2011 Romania Youth Work Team

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November 14, 2011

2012 OCMC Orthodox Mission Team Opportunities Now Available!

In 2011, over 135 Orthodox Christians shared their faith through loving service as part of an OCMC Orthodox Mission Team. They witnessed baptisms, healed the sick, strengthened the church, and brought smiles to the faces of children. They answered the call to make disciples of all nations. Is 2012 your time to share in this journey of faith?

OCMC is pleased to announce 2012 Orthodox Mission Team opportunities. Next year, team members will have the opportunity to share the Orthodox Christian faith by offering evangelism, catechism, healthcare, construction, and youth ministry in 9 countries around the world (including a first-time team to Mongolia). 2012 Mission Team dates and opportunities include:

Kenya – Teaching (3/2/2012)
Share the Gospel and teach the Orthodox Faith in Lodwar.

Uganda – Healthcare (6/2/2012)
Offer health services to the people in the Jinja region of eastern Uganda.

Mongolia – Teaching (6/5/2012)
Proclaim the Gospel and share the Orthodox Faith with Mongolian catechumens as part of a historic first Team to Ulaanbaatar.

Guatemala – Youth Work (7/5/2012)
Offer a youth camp program, “Tren de Chocolate,” for the children at the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala City.

Moldova – Youth Work (7/10/2012)
Participate in a youth camp outside the city of Orhei.

Romania – Youth Work (7/19/2012)
Participate in a youth camp outside the city of Cluj. Families with children are welcome.

Tanzania – Teaching (7/22/2012)
Teach the Orthodox Faith and experience the culture and zeal of Orthodoxy in Tanzania, by being a part of a teaching team in Mwanza.

Korea, South – Youth Work (7/25/2012)
Teach English at Orthodox youth camps in Chuncheon and Pusan.

Alaska – Youth Work (8/11/2012)
Travel to Kodiak Island and participate in a youth camp program in Old Harbor, Alaska. Families with children are welcome.

Alaska – Youth Work (8/11/2012)
Travel to Kodiak Island and participate in a youth camp program in historic Ouzinkie, Alaska. Families with children are welcome.

Moldova – Teaching (9/11/2012)
Teach and inspire Orthodox Church leaders in Orhei, Moldova and strategize on ways to bring the youth back to the Church.

Tanzania – Healthcare (10/1/2012)
Be part of a holistic outreach of the Orthodox Church of Tanzania, by offering health care to those who have limited access to medical care.

Tanzania – Teaching (12/5/2012)
Teach the Orthodox Faith and experience the culture and zeal of Orthodoxy in Tanzania, by being a part of a teaching team in Bukoba.

Please prayerfully consider your participation on an Orthodox mission team in 2012. Visit http://www.ocmc.org, or contact OCMC Teams Director Andew Lekos by phone at 1-866-463-6784 ext. 140 or by e-mail at teams@ocmc.org for more information or to apply.

November 11, 2011

OCMC Mission Teams- Welcome to Tanzania

November 2, 2011

Real Africa: By Team Member Logan Johnson

“That’s the smell of real Africa!” These were the words of a fellow passenger as we stepped off of the small plane. What struck me initially was not the smell, somewhat reminiscent of my grandparent’s farm in rural Minnesota, but the completely exotic landscape. Lodwar is located in northeastern Kenya in what is basically a large desert with several small mountains, black and grave, in the distance.

But I was not here to survey the geography or admire the scenery. The purpose of our team was to teach. Surely God had been working among the hearts and minds of the Turkana since the beginning, but in 2007 Orthodoxy began to be part of their religious makeup and take root and grow. Today there are three native Turkana priests serving thirteen communities. In Lodwar the Liturgy is celebrated in a roofed building built with the help of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, and in other places it is celebrated in the open air on whatever is available for the priest to set down an antiminsion.

On the evening that we arrived in Lodwar, we were immediately greeted with what felt like hundreds of children grasping for our hands and giving us hugs. Three members of our team, who had been to Lodwar previously, were greeted by old friends with joyous shouts and the rhythmic jumping that is characteristic of Turkana people. I had been on a Mission Team before, and had experienced the warmth and hospitality towards strangers that is somehow lacking in much of our modern Western society, but I was unprepared for just how authentically joyful the congregation was to see us.

The joy and excitement continued throughout the week. We began our day with Orthros, and the rest of the day was filled with lectures about the Orthodox faith and spiritual life and crafts. It was during this time that we realized that their joy and excitement to see us and share their lives with us was only matched by their enthusiasm to learn. At times when we would share stories from the Bible about God’s immense love for us, they would clap and—literally–shout out for joy.

I felt that we were not only a teaching team but a learning team as well. During one of my lectures entitled “How God Works in the Church Today,” I asked the congregation to share how they have seen God work in their lives. As a Westerner, I was expecting that their experience would be much the same as my own—in times of doubt or trouble I turn to Scripture or the writings of the Saints and take comfort and advice from their words. What I heard was completely different—many stood up and shared how they had seen visions that told them to reform their lives or even come to the Orthodox Church. None had read their way into the faith, but instead had found solutions to their real problems through visions. Afterwards, when I spoke to one of the Turkana priests he told me that, due to illiteracy, there was not the same emphasis on the texts as in the West. This is just one small example of the complexity of the task of mission work among non-Western people.

After nearly two weeks of teaching, learning, worshipping, and sharing, it was time to leave. We departed—with singing, dancing, jumping, and shouting. Amidst smiles and tears, we were brought to the airport where I was able to catch the last smell of real Africa before the airplane would take me back to the routine life of my last year at seminary. The examples of love and service that I witnessed will follow me for the rest of my life and what I learned will guide and inspire my future ministry in the Church.

Missions Conference to be held at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA

Missions Conference to be held at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA
11/17/2011 – 11/18/2011

Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
50 Goddard Ave
Brookline, Massachusetts
United States
02445

A Missions Conference will be held at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts from 11/17/2011 to 11/18/2011. Speakers will include Rev. Dr. Michael Oleksa, Rev. Dr. Themi Adamopoulo, Metropolitan JOHN of Korca, and Fr. Martin Ritsi. Please contact Fr. Luke Veronis by phone at 617-731-3500 or by e-mail at veronis@verizon.net for more information.

November 1, 2011

2011 Guatemala Youth Work Team Photos

OCMC Missionary Floyd Frantz to Speak at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, CA.

OCMC Missionary Floyd Frantz to Speak at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, CA
11/13/2011

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
999 Brotherhood Way
San Francisco, California
United States
94132

OCMC Missionary Mr. Floyd Frantz will be at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California on 11/13/2011. Please contact Fr. Aris Metrakos by phone at 415-584-4747 or by e-mail at fr.aris@holytrinitysf.org for more information.

OCMC Missionary Floyd Frantz to Speak at St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church in San Jose, CA.

OCMC Missionary Floyd Frantz to Speak at St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church in San Jose, CA.

11/12/2011

St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church
6430 Bose Lane
San Jose, California
United States
95120

OCMC Missionary Mr. Floyd Frantz will be at St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church in San Jose, California on 11/12/2011. Please contact Fr. Gregory Koo by phone at 408-268-3214 or by e-mail at stbasilschurch@sbcglobal.net for more information.

November SAMP Spotlight: Fr. James Omare

November SAMP Spotlight: Fr. James Omare

Fr. James Omare serves in Kenya, serving the Church of the Ascension in Mutanga and the community of Igono.

There are nearly 400 priests serving in 20 countries around the world who depend on support from OCMC’s Support A Mission Priest Program. Please help us to provide this much needed assistance by making a gift to the SAMP Program at http://www.ocmc.org, and continue to pray for these faithful servants who minister to our brothers and sisters around the world.

Sharing in Ministry by Using Skype: An Update from Christina Semon

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.

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