Orthodox Christian Mission Center - Make Disciples of All Nations
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OCMC Missions in Albania

Active Missionaries
Mrs. Georgia G Bendo
Mrs. Georgia G Bendo
Active/In-field
The Hoppe Family
The Hoppe Family
Active/In-field
The Macdonald Family
The Macdonald Family
Active/In-field
The Ritsi Family
The Ritsi Family
Active/In-field
 
Current Team Opportunities
5/22/2017 to 6/2/2017
Outreach
Earn credit hours by studying missiology in Albania with the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity. Limited to Orthodox seminarians.
6/13/2017 to 6/27/2017
Youth Work
Conduct a summer camp program for children in Albania. The Children's Home of Hope in Shen Vlash provides a family-structured home for children in need to grow in an Orthodox environment. Team will be led by OCMC missionary Pamela Barksdale.
 
News from the Field
From Complete Ruins to Unexpected Development
From Complete Ruins to Unexpected Development

The following is an article titled "From Complete Ruins to Unexpected Development" written by Albanian Daily News which interviews His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios about how the Orthodox Church in Albania has endured and overcome harships throughout the past three decades:It was the beginning of 1991 when His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania was appointed to be Patriarchal Exarch in Albania. In an exclusive interview with...

by OCMC Communications (Posted 1/31/2017)
Transform the Lives of Children Around the World with a Gift to the OCMC!
Transform the Lives of Children Around the World with a Gift to the OCMC!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Greetings in Christ!For many people around the world, there is little hope in the coming year. You can change this. You can give people hope for the coming year and for all eternity. A simple gift to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) can do both! Have you ever heard of the Home of Hope in Albania? It is a remarkable place! Established by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, it is home to children...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 12/8/2016)
Please Support Orthodox Missions this Thanksgiving
Please Support Orthodox Missions this Thanksgiving

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Ermir, a Muslim, walked into an Orthodox church.I'll tell you what happened next in a minute. But first I have a request: Will you send a Thanksgiving donation now to support your Orthodox Church around the world? I ask because the need is great. And the opportunity to draw people into the Holy Orthodox Church is even greater.Please prayerfully consider making a gift to the OCMC this Thanksgiving. Your...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 11/22/2016)
Long-term Missionary Opportunities: Urgent Need
Long-term Missionary Opportunities: Urgent Need

Here at the Mission Center we have heard a growing call for people who can serve as long-term missionaries around the world. Orthodox Christians who are able to serve in this capacity for 2 or more years are needed now more than ever. Churches in mission lands are poised to reach new people with Faith. They are striving to be self-sufficient. They are trying to educate and engage the youth. They need help and are asking for long-term missionaries to provide this...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 11/15/2016)
Hydroelectric Power Plant Built by the Albanian Orthodox Church Recently Opens
Hydroelectric Power Plant Built by the Albanian Orthodox Church Recently Opens

On August 2, 2016, the Rapuni 3 & 4 Hydro Power Station was opened in Elbasan, Albania. The power station is an initiative led by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of All Albania and carried out through the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. The development of the hydroelectric power station is expected to move the Orthodox Church in Albania closer to its goal of becoming self-sufficient since it will generate funds that will help the Church's many initiatives and projects. As...

by Sara Staff (Posted 8/26/2016)
Memory Eternal to the Servant of God, Taki Kobuzi (1953 – 2016)
Memory Eternal to the Servant of God, Taki Kobuzi (1953 – 2016)

On June 20, 2016, the humble servant of God, Demetri (Taki) Kobuzi, reposed in the Lord. He was a man deeply integrated in the Orthodox faith in a quiet yet powerful way. Taki was Archbishop Anastasios' car driver. He was his chauffer from the early 90's until the time of his repose. Archbishop Anastasios has made incredible strides rebuilding the Orthodox Church in Albania over the past 25 years, and Taki was by his side through all of it.In the earliest chapters of...

by Sara Staff (Posted 6/30/2016)
Theological Education Can Never Be Just an Academic Endeavor
Theological Education Can Never Be Just an Academic Endeavor

Transfixed by the intensity of emotions expressed by the suffering Christians, the students from the Theological Academy seemed so young and frail in the midst of the Global Christian Forum on Persecution, Racism, and Martyrdom, as we sought solidarity in the theme, "Following Christ Together." The 4th year students had been working for weeks to prepare themselves, together with other Albanian youth, to serve as stewards at this dialogue which sought to give voice to the...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale, M.Div. OCMC Missionary (Posted 6/6/2016)
Tying the Past to the Present in Albania
Tying the Past to the Present in Albania

Albanians spent decades under Communist rule, suffering from some of the world's worst religious and ethnic persecution. Today, with the help of mission work and prayers, the Orthodox Church of Albania is beginning to flourish, and the results of the hard work can be seen in the seminary, new churches, youth outreach ,and community ministry.Heart by heart, hand by hand, prayer by prayer - Orthodoxy is being resurrected in Albania. One of the most visible examples of this...

by Anastasia Mason (Posted 12/9/2015)
Learning from Albania
Learning from Albania

Earlier this year, I took 10 students to Albania to study the life and missiology of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, the greatest contemporary Orthodox missionary in the world. We hear in St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfection of...

by Fr. Luke Veronis (Posted 11/30/2015)
This Thanksgiving, Thank God for the Gift of Your Orthodox Faith!
This Thanksgiving, Thank God for the Gift of Your Orthodox Faith!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Albania tears me apart. Most people would never understand why.But you're not "most people." You love our Orthodox faith. You'll completely understand why my heart breaks for Albania.That's why I'm writing to you today. I'm looking for heroes. People like you who are ready to help make Albania a different kind of place — alive with Orthodoxy that keeps on growing. Filled with...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 11/25/2015)
Revived in Christ through Missions
Revived in Christ through Missions

I never thought I would have the opportunity to go on a mission trip. So caught up in my own life, school, work, and Netflix consumed the majority of my time. As a student at Hellenic College, I am constantly surrounded by the beautiful community and Christian-centered lifestyles practiced by my fellow students. It is this community that allowed me to participate in the 2015 Spring Break mission trip to Tirana, Albania. I was taking a much-needed nap while studying for a mid-term exam when I...

by Sarah Hunt (Posted 10/27/2015)
Destruction of a Church in Albania
Destruction of a Church in Albania

Today on August 26, 2015, before dawn at around 4 o'clock in the morning, in order not to confront the residents of Dhermi in Himara, the Orthodox church of St. Athanasius was secretly and insidiously destroyed by construction inspection forces which were brought from other areas of the country.It was dejecting and offensive to see the Holy Gospel, the Icons and the sacred objects buried under the rubble. This act reminds us of the desecration at St. Mary's Church in Permet,...

by Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania (Posted 8/27/2015)
Celebrating the Orthodox Family
Celebrating the Orthodox Family

"Celebrating the Orthodox Family" was the theme of the family camp held in Elbasan, Albania, on July 27-31, 2015. The camp was organized and led by OCMC Missionaries Nathan and Gabriela Hoppe, assisted by Dn. Stephanos and Alexandria Ritsi, together with members of the Central Children's Office of the Orthodox Church of Albania. The program featured parallel activities for the parents and their children. There were also times of fun for the whole family to be together, including...

by Gabriela Hoppe (Posted 8/5/2015)
Grow Missions Awareness in Your Parish - Host an OCMC Missionary Family Home on Summer Furlough!
Grow Missions Awareness in Your Parish - Host an OCMC Missionary Family Home on Summer Furlough!

After very fruitful first terms in the mission field, several OCMC Missionary families are returning home for brief furloughs to share their experiences, visit supporters, and to invite more Orthodox Christians from across the country to join them in missionary service by offering their prayers and support. Prayerfully consider inviting them to share their missionary journey with your local parish family. Hosting a missionary family is a great way to grow missions awareness and involvement...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 6/18/2015)
An Angel in Albania
An Angel in Albania

It was the day after Christmas when the stroke hit. For hours she laid there, no one knows how long, paralyzed by the assault to her nervous system. It wasn't until a neighbor, unable to reach her by phone, went to check on her that she was found alone, collapsed in the winter's cold.We often think of angels coming to our rescue in times of need, but on this day after the Feast of the Nativity, the angel was the one in need of rescue - and this angel's name was...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 3/26/2015)
Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania Protests Removal of Cathedral Fences
Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania Protests Removal of Cathedral Fences

The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania protests the Government's decision to tear down the fences of the "Resurrection of Christ" Cathedral Church in the center of Tirana. This action jeopardizes the safety of this holy place, where people of diverse ages come, and in particular, many young people and children. The Cathedral complex has three entrances to the underground floor (the Cultural Centre, conference rooms for youth and children, as well as the Bookstore). The...

by Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania (Posted 3/12/2015)
Albania: A Case for Long-term Missions
Albania: A Case for Long-term Missions

My first visit to Albania was in 2012. The full impact of the global economic crisis was beginning to hit hard as scores of Albanians who made their livings in Italy and Greece saw work become increasingly scarce. I was also able to get a glimpse of how the echoes of Albania's Communist history still affected the people. Interestingly, the fear and fatalism that can run rampant in such circumstances was mitigated by the hope and thirst for meaning among many of the people I met on my...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 2/10/2015)
OCMC Grants Help 10 Seminary Students Participate on Mission Teams
OCMC Grants Help 10 Seminary Students Participate on Mission Teams

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center provided ten (10) grants to seminary students in order to enhance their education with field experience by serving on OCMC short-term Orthodox Mission Teams in 2014. These students had the opportunity to preach the Gospel, offer catechism, and assist in youth programs in Kenya, Albania, Ghana, and Moldova.The OCMC Mission Team Grants were awarded to seminarians from Christ the Savior Orthodox Seminary in Johnstown, PA, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox...

by Andrew Lekos (Posted 11/7/2014)
Conference for Clergy Wives in the Orthodox Church in Albania
Conference for Clergy Wives in the Orthodox Church in Albania

Seven women from various Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in the United States of America have come to Albania to help lead two conferences for the Clergy Wives of the Orthodox Church in Albania. This effort is the vision of His Beatitude, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, Anastasios. OCMC Missionary, Diakonissa Alexandria Ritsi welcomed fellow clergy wives from America: Renee Ritsi, Stephanie Panagos, Joy Corona, Anna Lillios and Maggie Hock and lay leaders Stella Wacker and...

by Alexandria Ritsi (Posted 10/3/2014)
An Albanian Mission Team Experience (Part 1)
An Albanian Mission Team Experience (Part 1)

I recently had the pleasure of traveling on a mission trip sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. The purpose of this mission trip was to contribute and participate in a new first annual conference for youth group leaders from around Albania. Our team was to prepare a presentation and facilitate a group of college-aged Albanian Christians. It was an absolutely wonderful experience.The four highlights for me were: 1) Achieving a greater understanding of the impact that...

by David Dinsmore (Posted 9/19/2014)
An Albanian Mission Team Experience (Part 2)
An Albanian Mission Team Experience (Part 2)

The title of the Youth Conference we held was "On Fire for God!" Youth group leaders from around Albania came to learn a tool to use with youth at their local parish. Using the theme of the first Hunger Games movie, along with the theme of fasting, we all shared a 24-hour juice fast. Each of the three team members presented on the topics of water, wheat, and fire. Then each of us led a discussion with the Albanian youth group leaders on each topic. I was so moved by the openness and...

by David Dinsmore (Posted 9/19/2014)
An Albanian Mission Team Experience (Part 3)
An Albanian Mission Team Experience (Part 3)

The summary of the mission team to Albania is love and change. I mentioned before that I left for a mission to serve, but I wholly and fully feel as though I was the one changed. The entire OCMC experience was spectacular. You haven't lived until you have spoken through a translator! It is a wonderful feeling of interdependency and mutuality. I was a bit nervous upon planning and the eventual departing for the trip, but God's strength moved me forward. The OCMC preparations were...

by David Dinsmore (Posted 9/19/2014)
Participate in Women
Participate in Women's Ministry as Part of an OCMC Team to Albania this September

Here in the United States, clergy wives and women lay leaders lead some of the most vital ministries in the Church. In Albania, women are also serving as theologians, reaching out to children, ministering to families, and caring for those in need. They are integral to the Church's continued growth in a country that saw the attempted abolishment of all religion just a few short decades ago. This September, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is sending a team of women...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 8/5/2014)
Invest in the Future of Farmers in Albania Today!
Invest in the Future of Farmers in Albania Today!

At the end of June, OCMC launched a social media fundraising campaign on Facebook and Twitter to support a project called "Farmers' Empowerment through Beekeeping" run by Diakonia Agapes, an agency of the Orthodox Church of Albania. The initiative serves farmers who are beginning to learn about beekeeping as a way to add to their farming income. Through the initiative, farmers have learned the skills necessary to keep bees and about honey production, sales, and...

by Emily Robertson (Posted 7/7/2014)
Help the Church Empower People to Become More Self-Reliant
Help the Church Empower People to Become More Self-Reliant

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!The recent global economic crisis left people in some of the world's poorest countries feeling extremely vulnerable. Regions that relied heavily on aid from places like the United States and Europe saw that support vanish almost overnight. Many, including those in the Church, have come through these challenging times committed to being more self-reliant. In places like Albania you can...

by The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 7/3/2014)
Help OCMC Raise $7,000 for the Farmers
Help OCMC Raise $7,000 for the Farmers' Empowerment through Beekeeping Project in Albania

OCMC has launched a social media fundraising campaign on Facebook and Twitter to support the Farmers' Empowerment through Beekeeping project taking place in the Gjinar Commune in the Elbasan District of Albania. In Gjinar, there are 11 villages made up of just over 1,000 families; many of these families rely on farming as their livelihood. The project will target farmers who are beginning to learn about beekeeping as a way to add to their farming income. Through the initiative, run by...

by Emily Robertson (Posted 6/11/2014)
Resurrection of Christ Cathedral in Tirana Consecrated by His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
Resurrection of Christ Cathedral in Tirana Consecrated by His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

On Sunday, June 1st, 2014 the new Resurrection of Christ Cathedral in Tirana was consecrated by His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, together with Their Beatitudes, the Patriarchs Theophilos of Jerusalem, Irenej of Serbia, Daniel of Romania, the Archbishops Chrysostom of Cyprus, Ieronymos of Athens, Savas of Warsaw, as well as the Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana. They celebrated together with the representative Metropolitans of the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch,...

by The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania/Ortho (Posted 6/3/2014)
Support Orthodox Seminaries Around the World with a Gift to OCMC
Support Orthodox Seminaries Around the World with a Gift to OCMC's Theological Training Program

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!In a packed classroom at a seminary in Durres, Missionary Anastasia Barksdale teaches the young men and women that will someday lead the Church in Albania. They scribble notes. They pray. And, outside of class, they serve. They take their growing understanding of a life in Christ and share it with children in the surrounding communities. This school, and others like it, is underwritten by Orthodox Christians like you. Please take this...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 5/13/2014)
Helping Out
Helping Out

I can remember how embarrassing it was to stand in front of a group of Albanian students and to tell them that I came to "help." They didn't laugh, they didn't snarl or hurl tomatoes at myself and my team, but I can remember it slipping out of my mouth half-heartedly and with a bitter taste. It was bitter and half-hearted because I realized that if they asked me what I came to "help" with, I wasn't prepared to give a full-hearted answer, and it...

by William Bennett (Posted 4/2/2014)
Join an OCMC Mission Team This Spring!
Join an OCMC Mission Team This Spring!

Do something amazing this spring! You are invited to serve the Church in Albania or Kenya through an incredible opportunity to share your faith. This traditionally is a time is for young people to experience a new and exciting place and accomplish things that take them out of their normal routine. This year, however, everyone is encouraged to apply for an OCMC spring Team and do something incredible for Christ.A unique camp in Albania will creatively model...

by Andrew Lekos (Posted 12/5/2013)
Anastas Bendo Ordained to Priesthood in Albania
Anastas Bendo Ordained to Priesthood in Albania

Anastas Bendo was ordained Thursday, June 13, 2013, in Tirana, Albania, during the Liturgy for the feast of the Ascension by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios. Fr. Anastas was ordained to the diaconate in April 2009 and spent a little over 4 years as a deacon. During this time he helped serve and travel with His Beatitude. In November 2012 he was raised to the position of Archdeacon. He says that this was an important time of learning for him. His wife and long-term Missionary with OCMC in...

by Emily Walker (Posted 7/3/2013)
Two New Missionary Families Begin Long-Term Service in Albania
Two New Missionary Families Begin Long-Term Service in Albania

The Gospel of Luke tells us that "the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few" (Luke 10:2). This is particularly true in Albania during this strategic period in the resurrection of the Church. Long-Term Missionary Field Leader Nathan Hoppe "has been praying to the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers." He continues, "It is with great joy that we have welcomed two new missionary families to Albania in the last two months." Stephanos and Alexandria Ritsi,...

by Emily Walker (Posted 6/4/2013)
URGENT: Orthodox Christians Needed to Serve on OCMC Mission Teams in 2013
URGENT: Orthodox Christians Needed to Serve on OCMC Mission Teams in 2013

The older we get, the more grateful we become for the gifts our parents have passed on to us. That which we may barely comprehend when we are children can become the very rock that sees us through life's greatest trials or the source of life's greatest joys when we get older. So it is with the Orthodox faith - the greatest gift that parents can impart on their children.From July 19 to August 1, 2013, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is sending a team comprised...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 3/28/2013)
Master’s Degree Completed
Master’s Degree Completed

Today we celebrate a major milestone in our ministry: Gabriela has completed her Master degree in children's and family ministry. This has been a major investment, both in time and finances over the past 3 1/2 years. Gabriela has been studying through a program at Bethel Seminary. In addition to ongoing online coursework, she has returned to Bethel twice a year for a two-week intensive...

by Nathan Hoppe (Posted 3/24/2013)
Newly Added for 2013: Albania Family Mission Team
Newly Added for 2013: Albania Family Mission Team

Families with children, couples, and individuals who have experience with children are invited to help lead a family retreat program in Albania. The focus is to offer a "family witness" while sharing the Orthodox faith and growing in Christ together. Workshops, activities, and ministry outreach will be offered to Albanian church leaders and their families. Sports, arts & crafts, singing, and music will also be part of the fun. There will be opportunities to experience several...

by Panayiotis Sakellariou & Andrew Lekos (Posted 11/21/2012)
2013 OCMC Orthodox Mission Team Opportunities Now Available!
2013 OCMC Orthodox Mission Team Opportunities Now Available!

In 2012, 135 Orthodox Christians shared their faith through loving service as part of an OCMC Mission Team. They witnessed baptisms, healed the sick, strengthened the foundations of the Church, and brought the love of Christ to people around the world. They answered the call to make disciples of all nations. Is 2013 your time to share in this journey of faith?OCMC is excited to announce 2013 Orthodox Mission Team opportunities. Next year, team members will have the opportunity to...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 11/15/2012)
Serving as a Missionary Teacher in Albania (Fall 2012 Magazine Article)

Do you often wonder what missionaries do in a country like Albania where the Church has existed since the first century? People often ask: Why does Albania need assistance from the Orthodox Church abroad? It is true, 20 years after the restoration of religious freedom in Albania the Orthodox Church and the entire country have been raised up, renewed and restored, not to their previous state before communism, but to a new life with hope in the future. And yet, they are faced with the same...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale, M.Div. (Posted 8/30/2012)
The Long and Winding Road: Empowering Disciples in Albania (Fall 2012 Magazine Article)

Peering out of the rain-streaked window of an overcrowded minivan from Tirana to Elbasan, rocks jut up from a lush sea of green that covers the mountains running through the heart of Albania. Low clouds hide the surrounding peaks, hanging patiently still and quietly stern, like old memories that won't fade.As quaint and simple a metaphor as this landscape would be for a place like Albania, the full picture of this land - known as Illyria in Greco-Roman historiography - is much...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 8/23/2012)
A Class, a Missions Trip, and a Pilgrimage: Impacting Seminarian Education with The Spirit Of Missions (Fall 2012 Magazine Article)

"My experience in Albania has profoundly impacted my sense of priority, of mission, of church," stated 2010 St. Vladimir's seminarian Jason Ketz. "What I learned cannot be taught in a classroom, and perhaps it cannot be taught except when a person is removed from all of their familiar surroundings… I am forever thankful for this experience, as an essential, formative complement to my academic and pastoral studies. And I now have a better understanding of a...

by Fr. Luke Veronis (Posted 8/23/2012)
God is With Us! The Opening of the Resurrection Cathedral, 20 years in Albania and Beyond (Fall 2012 Magazine Article)

It was a cold and damp morning in Tirana as Shpresa walked with her sons through the city streets to attend liturgy on Sunday morning. But this day was different. Instead of stopping at the church in the central square at the heart of the city, she continued on another mile and then turned down a narrow alley. There, the new church of the Annunciation had been built by the Albanian government for the Orthodox community, and this would be the first liturgy in the new building. While the...

by Fr. Martin Ritsi (Posted 8/23/2012)
Albania: a 2,000 year old Church once again in its' first generation

Reflection on the 20th Anniversary
Albania: a 2,000 year old Church
Once again in its first generationMy first impression of Albania when I arrived four years ago was: "What is happening here is an absolute miracle!" The Orthodox Church had in one generation - 23 years of extreme persecution – officially ceased to exist. And now, in the next generation – 20 short years – had been restored to life and vitality. Twenty years...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale, M.Div. (Posted 7/6/2012)
Opening of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Albania
Opening of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Albania

After eight years of construction, the new Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the main temple of the Albanian Orthodox Church, was opened on June 24, 2012. It is the third largest Orthodox Church in Europe. The date also marked the 20 year anniversary of the enthronement of His Beatitude Anastasios as Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania. In addition to Archbishop Anastasios, others present for the occasion were Albania's President Bamir Topi, and representatives from various...

by Emily Walker (Posted 7/3/2012)
Building on Solid Foundations: The New Phase of Missions in Albania
Building on Solid Foundations: The New Phase of Missions in Albania

In Orthodox missions, the resurrection of the Church in Albania following the collapse of Communism has been a source of awe and wonder. When understood in context, it is easy to see why the story of the Church in Albania has been lauded by so many over the past 20+ years.In 1947 over 20% of the Albanian population was Orthodox Christian. After religion was outlawed in 1967, 95% of the 1,600 Orthodox churches, monasteries, and cultural centers were razed to the ground, with the...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 4/30/2012)
Children
Children's Pilgrimage to Ardenica, Albania

OCMC Missionary to Albania Anastasia Pamela Barksdale is back in the United States. She is spending time at the Mission Center and will also be sharing the apostolic vision for the Church in Albania with several communities across the country.While at the Mission Center, Anastasia shared with the staff a beautiful story of a pilgrimage last September 8th to the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Ardenica that she made with 31 children, nine parents, and four of the Albanian...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 1/26/2012)
Christmas Newsletter

Gëzuar Krishtlindjet!Christ is Born! Glorify Him!Glory to God for His great goodness and love! The year has been filled with so many blessings it is difficult to know how to begin to share even some of the love and joy with you. The summer was so full of activities for children that it seems like ages ago since classes ended last semester at the Theological Academy. Fr. Luke Veronis' mission team, summer camps, day camps, the OCMC Family camp, and a visit from...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale,M.Div. (Posted 12/30/2011)
Family Retreat and the Great Commission

Dear Friends,We recently returned from a beautiful family retreat at the Diakonia Center in Salem South Carolina where we strengthened our family bonds and our Orthodox Christian faith. Under the guidance of Father Gregory Georgiou and Mrs. Paula Marchman of the Family Unity Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, we joined approximately ten other families in fellowship, outdoor challenges, workshops and worship. Graciously, Father Gregory and Paula encouraged us to...

by Alexandra and Joseph Sima (Posted 11/2/2011)
Prayer and Introductory Letter

Dear Friends,Our family lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and worships at Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church. We ask that you prayerfully support us in our Orthodox Christian Mission journey which started with a story.This is a love story which began over 2000 years ago with the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who showed us how to love one another through His teachings and example on earth. Our God sacrificed His Son for our earthly joy...

by Alexandra and Joseph Sima (Posted 10/11/2011)
Reflections on Seven Years of Service in Albania
Reflections on Seven Years of Service in Albania

Protagonists School has just begun its 10th year in existence! From 12 students in 2002 to about 250 this year, we thank God for always blessing us with success and strengthening us to face new challenges. His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios maintains education as a top priority in his vision for the Church's social outreach in Albania.I am thankful to be a part of that vision. This past August marked the seventh anniversary of my arrival in Albania as a missionary....

by Georgia Gilman Bendo (Posted 10/6/2011)
New Beginnings

Dear Friends,All the Glory to God for another Ecclesiastic New Year!This New Year marks many firsts for our family. It is the first year of our marriage, the first year of our missionary candidacy, and the first year of building support for our upcoming long-term in-field mission. These are very exciting times.The ink on our New Candidacy Training Certificates was not yet dry when we, along with our daughter Lora (a senior in high school), journeyed for most of July to...

by Alexandra and Jospeh Sima (Posted 9/30/2011)
Orthodox Family Mission Team
Orthodox Family Mission Team

This past July, a unique groundbreaking international Orthodox Christian missionary effort took place-the first Family Mission Team traveled to Albania. The team was a collaboration between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care (CFC) and the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), and part of a new family ministry initiative of the Orthodox Church of Albania. Families from America and Albania participated in "One Family in Christ" Family Camp led by the...

by Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care< (Posted 9/29/2011)
My Most Important Lesson
My Most Important Lesson

I am back from my OCMC Family Team to Albania. It was by far the most uplifting and beautiful journey I have ever been on. There are many things I could share, but will keep it to the parts that have impacted me. The purpose of our Team was to facilitate a family camp for Orthodox parents and their children over 5 days, for 16 families. In Albania, Communism ended in 1990, after decades when religion was outlawed. Many of the adults attending the camp grew up either during this time, living...

by Elefteria Garos (Posted 9/26/2011)
Anastasia Pamela Barksdale Update for Fall 2011 Magazine

2011 has been an interesting and challenging year as Anastasia continues to serve His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios at the Archdiocese in a variety of ways. She has found teaching Christian Education and overseeing the fieldwork assignments at the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy very fulfilling, and has been able to apply her theological education from Holy Cross to this aspect of her work. She also offers campus ministry Bible studies in her home, and conducts seminars and...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale, MDiv (Posted 8/3/2011)
Gezuar Pashket!

Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,Pascha this year will mark my three year anniversary in Albania. As I reflected on this fact, I thought, how quickly time is passing as I am involved in the various ministries, ministries rich with the blessings of God's grace and friends. My Christian Education and Field Work program with the students at the Seminary has grown considerably. For the first two years, my students' work has included a teaching assignment at of one of the...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 4/16/2011)
Family Mission: Work, Worship and Witness

An opportunity for families who have a desire to work, witness, and worship in a profound ministry is available in a new initiative involving families in foreign mission work. Families with children are invited to join Church leaders and their families in Albania to be a part of a family ministry outreach. OCMC Missionary Nathan Hoppe explains, "Offering a witness of family unity and faith will assist in developing a new family ministry initiative for the Orthodox Church of...

by Andrew Lekos (Posted 3/21/2011)
The Vitality and Character of Orthodoxy in Albania Today

The first time I saw Shen Vlash Monastery and the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy was about one year before I came to Albania. I opened the website of the Church: www.orthodoxalbania.org and like one looking through a dark glass, I peered into a world as yet unknown, undiscovered. The Church, set on a hill above Durres, was beautiful. The faces of students were eager. An aura of hope seemed to permeate the pictures. The anthem of the...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 3/11/2011)
Book Review of Mission in Christ’s Way: An Orthodox Understanding of Mission

His Beatitutde Archbishop Anastasios (Yannoulatos) of Albania is the preeminent missionary and missiologist in the contemporary Orthodox world. For more than 50 years, he has acted as the standard bearer for our call to mission within the worldwide Orthodox Church. Five decades ago, not only was little done in missions, but many within the Church even questioned its validity and importance for Orthodox Christians. Certain circles even viewed any mention of "mission" as a sign of Protestant...

by Fr. Luke Veronis (Posted 3/9/2011)
My First Journey to Albania

In 2010, I visited Albania in order to meet with Archbishop Anastasios in the capital of Tirana, and to visit the Holy Resurrection Seminary in Durres. I had the privilege to travel in conjunction with a Missions class from Holy Cross and St. Vladimir's Seminaries taught by Fr. Luke Veronis, a former OCMC Missionary in Albania and author of the recent book, Go Forth: Stories of Mission and Resurrection in Albania.Albania is along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, north...

by Jeffrey Macdonald (Posted 3/8/2011)
Missionary Candidates Jeffrey & Caryn Macdonald and Family Seek Your Support

Dr. Jeffrey and Caryn Macdonald have been accepted as Missionary Candidates by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, to serve the Orthodox Church in Albania. Dr. Macdonald will be assisting the Holy Resurrection Seminary outside of Durres as a long-term missionary.Christianity, and indeed all religious life, was outlawed in Albania under communist rule. With the end of communism in 1992, the Church has begun to rebuild both Church buildings and the Christian community. To help to...

by Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald (Posted 2/9/2011)
november 2010 newsletter
november 2010 newsletter

He was made manifest in a human body for this reason only, out of the love and goodness of his father for the salvation of us men. (St. Athanasius On the Incarnation)As we enter again into the season of Advent, the preparation for the coming of our Lord, I have the privilege of teaching On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius to my students at the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy. It is wonderful to be reminded again of the incredible, multifaceted...

by Nathan Hoppe (Posted 11/8/2010)
A Look Inside Long-term Missionary Service

"If you want to live here you must eat our food, live in our houses, wear our clothes and speak our language." With these words, spoken to my father about 40 years ago, the chief of a remote valley in Colombia was sure that he had discouraged us from ever coming to live in the mountains with his people. A few months later our family made the treacherous 30-mile journey by foot and mule on winding trails through the mountains which led us to our new home. There was no electricity or running...

by Nathan Hoppe (Posted 10/7/2010)
Missionary Update Fall 2010

Protagonist School began its 9th year in September! Before us lies another year of joys and frustrations, challenges and successes. Our first through third graders continue at the location near St. Procopios Church in the park. St. Procopios is known to be the protector of Tirana because of the many miracles he has produced here, so we know our little ones are under his care! Meanwhile our fourth through ninth graders occupy three floors of the new building near the Annunciation Church. The...

by Georgia Bendo (Posted 9/25/2010)
168 Hours of Prayer

168 hours of prayerDuring the period of the communist dictatorship in Albania, faithful Christians developed the practice of unceasing prayer. They would each take responsibility to pray for certain hours each day, in order to maintain a constant prayer vigil for a designated number of days, usually 40. This practice has continued in Albania after the fall of communism, particularly at times of challenge and crisis in the life of the Church. After our year of home assignment in the...

by Nathan Hoppe (Posted 9/23/2010)
Go Forth: Stories of Mission and Resurrection in Albania

Of all the stories of the resurrection of the Orthodox Church in formerly communist lands, Albania's may be the most dramatic. Having been almost exterminated by the atheistic government, the Church of Albania has arisen, under the leadership of Archbishop Anastasios, to become a vibrant and growing member of the world Orthodox community.Fr. Luke A. Veronis and his family served as OCMC missionaries to Albania for more than 10 years, during some of the most crucial...

by Fr. Luke Veronis (Posted 9/8/2010)
Seminarians Have Life-Changing Experience as Part of an OCMC Mission Team

Eleven seminarians from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and St. Vladmir Seminary joined Fr. Luke Veronis, OCMC Missionary Nathan Hoppe, and Fr. Paisius Altschul on a short-term trip to Albania. This mission practicum was combined with a three credit academic course entitled "The Missiology of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania," where seminarians studied the missiological writings of the one of the greatest contemporary Orthodox missionaries, and then visited and...

by Fr. Luke Veronis (Posted 8/12/2010)
Camp Good Shepherd Girls Camp, St. Joan Vladimir, Elbason, Albania

Every year the Orthodox Church in Albania holds summer camps for girls at Shen Joan Vladimir Monastery in Elbason. This year Camp Good Shepherd hosted 300 girls during the month of July. The theme for the camp was "Taste and See How Good the Lord Is." Many young girls, teenagers and college students came to the camp for the first time. The second camp, which is usually attended by high school students, was filled to overflowing with 120 campers and 30 counselors. This is a 10 day overnight...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 8/8/2010)
I see a playground or a water park when I look at this garbage dump...
I see a playground or a water park when I look at this garbage dump...

In June, Fr. Luke Veronis brought a group of Mission Institute students to Tirana. We toured the ministries of the Orthodox Church in Albania and, of course, showed off all the fruits of renewal and miraculous growth: Church buildings and ministries the Church has been blessed with by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Luke felt his students were perhaps receiving an askewed perspective of Albania--seeing only the progress and not the problems--so we took them to a Roma (gypsy) encampment on...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 7/8/2010)
Historic Team Arrives in Albania
Historic Team Arrives in Albania

Following classes and orientation led by Fr. Luke Veronis, Missionary Nathan Hoppe, and Fr. David Rucker, a Team of 2 priests and 11 seminarians arrived in Albania for two very full weeks of ministry and learning on Tuesday, May 25th. This Team is historic in several ways: It is the first joint Team of the newly inaugurated Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity and OCMC. It is also the first Team jointly made up of students from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and...

by Andrew Lekos (Posted 5/26/2010)
2010 February Newsletter
2010 February Newsletter

February 2010Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!It's January 2010 and I can't believe that it will be eight years this June that I've been in Albania doing mission work for Archbishop Anastasios and the OCMC. It was supposed to be two years – three at most! But there is something about being here among so many people who are so eager to learn and to grow spiritually and honorably. I still marvel how...

by Melanie Linderman (Posted 4/15/2010)
New Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity to Send Seminary Students on an OCMC Mission Team

The newly established Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity and the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) present The Missiology of Archbishop Anastasios (Yannoulatos) of Albania and Practical Evangelism in Albania. This 3-credit graduate level summer course will combine in-class study with an exciting mission practicum and on-field team experience.The course will study in...

by Fr. Luke Veronis (Posted 3/10/2010)
February 2010 Newsletter from the Russell's

February 2010Greetings in Christ from Albania!Learning LessonsOne of the most difficult lessons I have had to learn serving as an OCMC missionary is accepting that the work is never done. Despite the fact that the Soup Kitchen fed the poor, or a needy person's rent was paid, or some of the kids' clothes and toys were donated, my "giving quota" has not been fulfilled. I wish it were that simple, because I could feel like I...

by Pauline Russell (Posted 2/2/2010)
OCMC Agape Grants to Assist the Ministries in Seven Countries in 2010
OCMC Agape Grants to Assist the Ministries in Seven Countries in 2010

The love that Christ's disciples show for others has served as a living witness to the faith, inspiring countless numbers of people to come into the Body of Christ. For over 20 years, the Agape Canister Program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), through its support of philanthropic ministries such as orphanages, feeding programs, and healthcare programs, has helped the Church to meet the needs of children, families, and communities in a loving witness to the Orthodox faith in...

by Kenneth Kidd (Posted 1/7/2010)
OCMC Invites Families to Experience an Orthodox Mission Team

For the first time, OCMC is offering families the opportunity to participate together on Orthodox Mission Teams. Four 2010 OCMC Mission Teams are open to parents and youth who are prayerfully seeking exposure to the important work of making disciples. Family Teams allow youth (13 and above) to travel with a parent to offer their time and talents as living witnesses to the Orthodox Christian Faith. If you want your teen to have an opportunity to serve others around the...

by Pres. Renee Ritsi (Posted 11/10/2009)
Fall 09 Agape Newsletter Stories

Janet Carter Comes to Town – St. Herman Seminary – Kodiak, Alaska (USA)
By: Mat. Beth Dunlop Eighteen students, faculty and others from the Kodiak community gathered for a three-day workshop at St. Herman's Orthodox Seminary at the end of January for training in alcohol and drug abuse counseling. The training, made possible by an OCMC Agape Grant, was given by Janet Carter, a former resident of Kodiak and founder of the Regional Alcohol...

by Ted Theodorou (Posted 10/26/2009)
Gilman Bendo Nativity Newsletter 2009

Five years in Albania!
August marked five years for me as a missionary in Albania. These 5 years here would not have been possible without your prayers and financial support. Thank you!
Since 2004 I have taught thousands of hours of classes to hundreds of children, led weekly catechism to our students, various Bible Studies and discussions at the church's conferences, summer camps, and at the Children's Home of Hope, and translated and...

by Georgia Gilman Bendo (Posted 10/21/2009)
Gezuar Krishtlindjet! Rejoice! Christ is Born

Dear Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

How quickly the time here is passing! The conclustion I arrived at when I reenlisted for another two year term is that two years is too short to do little more than meet the people, become aware of some of the problems, and begin to learn the language. This first term has been full, enriching, and challenging. My education, vocation, and commitment to serve, together with...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 10/16/2009)
The Discipline of the Secret, Disciplina Arcana

The Orthodox faith is sometimes called the "the best kept secret" in the Christian world because we seem reticent to speak about our faith. What is it about the Orthodox ethos and phronema that appears to deemphasize the need to proclaim the "Good News" in word and deed? The Lord commanded His disciples to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." (Matt. 28:19) In the face of this great commission, how is it possible that we have become so quiet, so seemingly hesitant to share the...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 10/16/2009)
Discipline of the Secret

Disciplina Arcana: The Secret DisciplineBy Anastasia Pamela Barksdale, M.Div.The Orthodox faith is sometimes called the "the best kept secret" in the Christian world because we seem reticent to speak about our faith. What is it about the Orthodox ethos and phronema that appears to de-emphasize the need to proclaim the "Good News" in word and deed? The Lord commanded His disciples to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt....

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 10/11/2009)
Anastasia Pamela BarksdaleSeptember 2009 Newsletter

The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania is a living, vibrant Church. After being in Albania for a year, I think the most important witness I can send back to my prayer partners in America is this message: The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania is a living, vibrant Church. It is alive today by the grace of the Holy Spirit after 50 years of persecutions intent on annihilating faith and belief in...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 9/2/2009)
Maggie Downham Farewell Newsletter

It is such a blessing to be back in the United States in order to share with you the riches of God's blessings during my short time in Albania. My mid-term teaching assignment at the Protagonist School in the capital city of Tirana was possible only because you also chose to be a part of this work with me. I thank you for that. Established under the guidance and direction of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, Protagonist is a private school through which...

by Maggie Downham (Posted 8/27/2009)
Missionary Russell – Linderman Newsletter, August 2009
Missionary Russell – Linderman Newsletter, August 2009

The New Protagonist School Facility is Open
The most significant recent event for our mission has been the opening of the beautiful new building for the Protagonist School. As Director of the school, Pauline has worked very hard with Archbishop Anastasios, her staff, as well as with the builders and architects, for two years to bring this wonderful facility to life. Now, instead of the old facility for the upper grades that was located 5 miles...

by George Russell (Posted 8/7/2009)
“Rabbi, Rabboni, Teacher, Master”
“Rabbi, Rabboni, Teacher, Master”

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach saying, 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Matt.10: 6-7). I returned last week from my second OCMC short-term mission trip. It was a blessed trip and a time of service for me that will forever be a profound piece of my personal history. I wish that each and every one of you could have been with me to share what my eyes saw and what my heart felt. I am still...

by Angelica Sotiriou-Rausch (Posted 8/4/2009)
Agape in the Balkans: Kosovo Day Camps
Agape in the Balkans: Kosovo Day Camps

Sitting in his Land Rover under the shade of a tree at the Hilmi Hoti School in Kosovo, Nathan Hoppe was surrounded by the bustle of some 200 children. It was the second of five camps that he and his wife Gabriela led during the summer months of June and July. He watched as the twenty-five youth counselors and volunteers from Albania engaged the children with music, song, and dance. Though they did not know it, Nathan was attuned to the social formation that was taking place in the...

by Ted Theodorou (Posted 7/14/2009)
Hoppe Newsletter July 2009
Hoppe Newsletter July 2009

See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 15-18)

I am sitting in my Land Rover under the shade of a tree in the yard of the Hilmi Hoti school in Kosovo. I am surrounded by the bustle of some 200 children from the second of five camps which we will be leading here this summer...

by Nathan and Gabriela Hoppe (Posted 7/9/2009)
Anastasia Pamela Barksdale 2009 Spring Update
Anastasia Pamela Barksdale 2009 Spring Update

Glory to God! It is hard to believe that, by the grace of God and through your prayers and support, I have been in Albania for over a year now. Time passes quickly, and the days are filled with work and people. When I look back over the year, I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had to witness and serve: assisting in His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios' office at the Metropolia; teaching Christian Education at the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy;...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 7/2/2009)
Georgia Gilman Bendo Spring 2009 Update
Georgia Gilman Bendo Spring 2009 Update

Our big news is that Todi became a deacon! His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios ordained him and gave him the new name Anastasios during the Divine Liturgy on St. George Day (April 23rd). This is a blessing and the fulfillment of a desire that Deacon Anastasios has had for a long time. Axios!
I spend my days caring for baby Vasili. We are thankful for his happy and healthy first eight months. He enjoys bath time, music, and stroller rides in the park. At church he...

by Georgia Gilman Bendo (Posted 7/2/2009)
Maggie Downham Spring 2009 Update
Maggie Downham Spring 2009 Update

The semester I have spent teaching English at The Protagonist School in Albania has quickly come to a close. Nathan Hoppe asked me recently to describe my time here with one word. Almost immediately and without hesitation I responded: full! Life has been full of teaching and preparing to teach, full of joy and struggle, full of laughter and tears. In teaching, the children have taught me so much about God's love and forgiveness. I pray God uses my time here in...

by Maggie Downham (Posted 7/2/2009)
Nathan and Gabriela Hoppe Spring 2009 Update
Nathan and Gabriela Hoppe Spring 2009 Update

Following 11 years of ministry in Albania we will be returning to the US in August for one year of home assignment before returning to the field. During this time we will be headquartered in Minnesota, where the children will be attending the same school they went to during Lynette's illness. Our time will be divided between a variety of responsibilities. I will be in regular contact with Albanian coworkers and OCMC missionaries to ensure continuity in our ministries. ...

by Nathan and Gabriela Hoppe (Posted 7/2/2009)
George and Pauline Russell and Melanie Linderman Spring 2009 Update
George and Pauline Russell and Melanie Linderman Spring 2009 Update

This last year has been most eventful for us, the greatest being the long awaited opening of the new Protagonist School building this past May. It is a beautiful facility creating a myriad of possibilities for spreading God's word. We will be working both overtly and covertly to instill character-building themes in daily activities, with after-school "spiritual food" events with the school location adjacent to the cathedral. George is now a...

by Melanie Linderman (Posted 7/2/2009)
First Team of 2009 Departs for the Field
First Team of 2009 Departs for the Field

St. Augustine--On Friday, June 12, the first Orthodox Mission Team of 2009 departed to Albania from the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building. In addition to being the first Team to do its Orientation and Training at the new OCMC building, it is also the first OCMC Team of its kind to travel to Albania. OCMC Teams Director Andy Lekos said of this Team, "What makes this especially exciting is that this first Team was...

by Communications (Posted 6/15/2009)
Meet Mid-Term Missionary Maggie Downham

Growing up, Maggie had always wanted to travel, to see the world and to do it for a reason. She never wanted to 'just be a tourist.' After she became an Orthodox catechumen she participated on her first mission trip. She joined an OCF Real Break Team in March 2005 that visited the Hogar de San Cristobal in San Salvador, El Salvador. "It was my first taste of what joy can fill your soul when your true purpose is only to give of yourself wholly for another in the...

by Maggie Downham (Posted 12/18/2008)
Maggie Downham Accepted as a Mid-Term Missionary Candidate to Albania
Maggie Downham Accepted as a Mid-Term Missionary Candidate to Albania

St. Augustine, FL—The Orthodox Christian Mission Center announces the acceptance of Maggie Downham, from All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Bloomington, Indiana, as a mid-term Missionary Candidate to Albania. Ms. Downham will be teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at the Protagonist Elementary School in Tirana, Albania, during the spring semester. The school is especially grateful for her willingness to serve, because the shortage of ESL...

by Geoff Whiteman (Posted 12/18/2008)
Russell/Linderman 2008 Nativity Newsletter

November 2008

Dear Family, Supporters, and Friends of the Russell/Linderman Mission,

Christ is in our midst!

For those of you who don't know, Pauline had open-heart surgery on August 8th at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. She had been suffering for many years with a condition known as mitral valve prolapse, which essentially means that a valve in her heart was leaking. In July, the condition had deteriorated to the point that she required...

by Russell/Lindermans (Posted 12/8/2008)
Mission Agape - Albania: Sharing the good news of God’s love
Mission Agape - Albania: Sharing the good news of God’s love

Glory to God for His goodness and love! It has been seven months since I arrived in Albania. The days are full and, by God's grace, I am able to contribute something to various ministries here. As we approach the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, I wanted to thank each of you who are supporting me in prayer and, in anticipation of the celebration of the Incarnation, exclaim with heartfelt joy, 'Christ is Born, Glorify Him!' It is...

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 12/2/2008)
Introducing: the Newest (and Cutest) Missionary!
Introducing: the Newest (and Cutest) Missionary!

Our little baby boy, Vasili Thomas Bendo, was born at 5:25 pm on Friday, November 21st, the Feastday of the Entrance of the Theotokos. He was 20 inches (51 cm) and weighed a healthy 8lbs 8oz (3.85 kilos). We are so thankful to God for this beautiful gift! Vasili Thomas Bendo is named after St. Basil the Great, St. Basil of Ostrog (Montenegro), Vasili (Todi's grandfather), Thomas ( Georgia's great-grandfather). Thank you also for all your prayers. Please continue to pray for us as we...

by Georgia Gilman-Bendo (Posted 11/14/2008)
Mission Team Helps Make Summer Camp A Success
Mission Team Helps Make Summer Camp A Success

Our 2008 summer began before our school year even ended, with the arrival of the OCMC short-term Mission Team in June. A small but experienced and energetic group joined us in Tirana to offer an English Camp to Albanian children. After a short planning period by the 5 team members, three missionaries, and a group of Albanian co-workers, the doors of the beautiful Shen Vlash Monastery were opened to about 40 campers. The 5 day, 4 night camp was meant to bring the...

by Georgia Gilman-Bendo (Posted 11/14/2008)
Protagonist School Continues to Grow
Protagonist School Continues to Grow

It's hard to believe the little six-year-olds that were our first students at Protagonist School are already in 7th grade this year, and the original twelve students have grown to nearly two hundred! We continue to grow and look forward to some positive changes this year.
There was plenty to do before I took maternity leave at the end of October. I interviewed and hired a new English teacher, set up the English curriculum, and taught four hours of classes...

by Georgia Gilman-Bendo (Posted 11/14/2008)
OCMC Spiritual Odyssey Team Visits Albania

This September, a small group of Orthodox Christians from around the country traveled with OCMC Executive Director, Fr. Martin Ritsi, to Albania as part of an OCMC Spiritual Odyssey (a new opportunity sponsored by the Teams Department of the Mission Center). This excursion brought participants to the capital city of Albania, Tirana, and surrounding regions to experience the mission renewal that has occurred in this country since the fall of communism. Participants were exposed to the history...

by OCMC Mission News (Posted 10/16/2008)
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Prayer for Missions

God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.