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OCMC Missions in Guatemala

Active Missionaries
Mr. Jesse Brandow
Mr. Jesse Brandow
Active/In-field
The Chakos Family
The Chakos Family
Active/In-field
Archimandrite Juvenal Repass
Archimandrite Juvenal Repass
Active/In-field
Ms. Jennifer Rice
Ms. Jennifer Rice
Active/In-field
 
Current Team Opportunities
4/27/2018 to 5/6/2018
Healthcare
Aguacate – Are you interested in providing health care and education in a rural village of Guatemala this spring? In an isolated part of the country which is home to many Mayans, a rural Orthodox clinic is making a difference in the health of thousands of individuals.
6/18/2018 to 6/30/2018
Teaching
Tajumuco – Have you ever wondered why the Orthodox Church is growing so quickly in Central America? Be a part of this Team and experience the fervor and joy that the faithful in Guatemala have for Orthodoxy.
11/9/2018 to 11/18/2018
Healthcare
Aguacate – Are you interested in providing health care and education in a rural village of Guatemala this fall? In an isolated part of the country, a rural Orthodox clinic is making a difference in the health of thousands of individuals.
 
News from the Field
There are Still Opportunities to Grow Orthodox Missions and Change Lives in 2017!
There are Still Opportunities to Grow Orthodox Missions and Change Lives in 2017!

As the year draws to a close, we would like to share with you some impactful ways to help further the Orthodox Church's mission witness around the world through the Orthodox Christian Mission Center.Challenge GrantsOCMC has been awarded $46,500 in challenge grants from numerous stewards of the OCMC. The impact of your gift to the Mission Center by year's end can be doubled! Simply visit
by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 12/6/2017)
Let My Prayer Be Set Forth Before You As Incense
Let My Prayer Be Set Forth Before You As Incense

The doors to our parish in Aguacate remain open throughout the day, waiting to offer its embrace and a place of refuge from the world to pray. Young and old, men and women from the village release from their hearts what weighs heavily upon them before Christ, the saints, and the heavenly powers in seeking their intercessions.One recent evening was no exception. Before Vespers, I entered through the doors to notice that, during the day, someone lovingly added several delicate white...

by Jennifer Rice (Posted 11/7/2017)
Support Orthodox Missionaries and Transform the Lives of Many this Thanksgiving!
Support Orthodox Missionaries and Transform the Lives of Many this Thanksgiving!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Exhausted, but joyful. These are the feelings often felt by long-term missionaries.For OCMC Missionary Fr. John Chakos, Sundays often involve Divine Liturgy, multiple baptisms, confessions, and a wedding or two for good measure. He offers these sacraments to Orthodox Christian communities in the rural mountainous regions in northern Guatemala. Getting to these villages can take days. Despite their tireless efforts, Fr. John and the...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 10/16/2017)
First Eventful Months in Guatemala
First Eventful Months in Guatemala

Greetings from Guatemala!"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." ~Psalm 117:24Nestled in the western highlands of Guatemala, I awake to the sounds of roosters announcing the coming day. I rise to join the seminarians and fellow long-term missionaries to offer our daily morning prayers with Matins. It is here in Aguacate that I draw on my seminary education and love of singing the hymns of the Church to mentor the parish choir...

by Jennifer Rice (Posted 9/19/2017)
CORRECTED: Palm Sunday in Guatemala!
CORRECTED: Palm Sunday in Guatemala!

The following update was just sent to us from OCMC Missionary to Guatemala, Fr. John Chakos. Palm Sunday was a new and very moving experience for me among the Mayan faithful. Of course, the church was packed as usual, but they raise the celebration to a new level with their love of processions and the enormous sizes of the palm crosses, which they wave joyously to the accompaniment of their music. Hundreds processed with us through the whole village singing the festal hymn as we...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 4/10/2017)
Medical Education in Guatemala
Medical Education in Guatemala

Located in the remote Guatemalan town of Aguacate is the Fr. Andres Giron Clinic. The clinic was completed in 2015 under the Omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico, and it was inspired by the vision of Fr. Andres Giron of blessed memory. It is now managed by local leadership under guidance from the project director, Bob Kirschner, and OCMC long-term missionary Fr. John Chakos. The clinic provides basic healthcare to people in the surrounding Mayan villages. The people...

by Sara Staff (Posted 2/16/2017)
Please Help Send More Orthodox Missionaries into the World with a Gift to the OCMC this Lent
Please Help Send More Orthodox Missionaries into the World with a Gift to the OCMC this Lent

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,It was a busy day at the clinic. Among the people seeking relief from their fevers, aches, and pains sat a young girl. She was quiet and scared. The doctor who examined her could find nothing wrong with her physically. Why had she come? What was wrong?An OCMC missionary serving at the clinic took her by the hand and started talking with her. It turned out that she had been attacked. She fled her village and sought refuge in the only place she...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 2/7/2017)
A Word from OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi on Mission Sunday
A Word from OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi on Mission Sunday

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,We pray that the new year has already been full of blessings.This year Mission Sunday falls on March 13th. As the official foreign missions agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, we invite you to join us in growing an awareness of Orthodox Missions while helping to share the Faith with people around the world this Lenten season.Many people still do not know...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 3/9/2016)
Part of a Growing Movement: Jennifer Rice, OCMC
Part of a Growing Movement: Jennifer Rice, OCMC's Newest Missionary Candidate to Guatemala

Please join us in offering prayers of thanks for OCMC's newest missionary candidate, Jennifer Rice. Jennifer is a veteran of OCMC Mission Teams that served in Guatemala and Albania. She is currently finishing her Master of Theological Studies at Holy Cross Orthodox Seminary, and she is a very gifted teacher and musician.We are excited and blessed that Jennifer has answered her call to serve as a long-term missionary to Guatemala, where she will teach liturgical music and offer...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 2/29/2016)
Faith and Healing for the Mayan People of Aguacate, Guatemala
Faith and Healing for the Mayan People of Aguacate, Guatemala

We had been forewarned that, in the highlands of Huehuetenango (one of many departamentos—like states—in the northwest region of Guatemala), it was often rainy. Yet, as we continued to drive further north up to these high mountains, the sky began to clear, temperatures moderated to the 70's, and remained this way for almost the entire visit. The joy of our arrival in Aguacate seemed to melt away the difficulties of this long and arduous journey, as we saw the smiles of...

by Susan Washinsky (Posted 11/9/2015)
You Are Needed as Part of a Mission Team in 2016!
You Are Needed as Part of a Mission Team in 2016!

Around the world there are adults and children longing to learn more about the Faith. There are women who want to offer their time and talents to the Church, but need guidance on how best to serve. There are people desperate for healthcare. In 2016, Orthodox Mission Teams from the OCMC will do these things and more. Your service on one of these teams is needed!Mission teams will be serving in seven countries this year including Alaska (USA), Albania, Guatemala,...

by Orthodox Christian Mission Center (Posted 10/14/2015)
The New Face of Mayan Christianity
The New Face of Mayan Christianity

Christianity among the Mayan Indians is undergoing a dramatic change in places like Guatemala and southern Mexico. This shifting of religious identity is part of a larger trend that is enveloping much of Latin America. According to the Pew Research Center report published in November of 2014, "Historical data suggests that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960's, at least 90% of Latin America's population was Catholic." Remarkably, however, in just...

by Fr. John Chakos (Posted 5/13/2015)
OCMC Missionary Jesse Brandow Departs for Guatemala!
OCMC Missionary Jesse Brandow Departs for Guatemala!

This week, OCMC's newest missionary, Jesse Brandow, begins his term of service in Guatemala. From his home in Nueva Concepcion, Jesse will begin an intensive language and culture learning process. He will spend a great deal of time with Fr. Mihail as he visits the many new communities in the country. Jesse is looking forward to teaching as he is able to, while documenting the continued growth of the Church and sharing the journeys of the Mayan people in the Faith through the website
by Alex Goodwin (Posted 4/21/2015)
Mission Update: Guatemala
Mission Update: Guatemala

Last November, priests from Guatemala met with Metropolitan Athenagoras in Mexico City. They developed a strategic plan for Guatemala, including three goals: (1) enable Fr. Mihail (Fernando Castellanos) to succeed Fr. Andrés as leader in Guatemala by sending him abroad to study theology, (2) identify potential deacons and priests in the Guatemalan villages and train them on-site, (3) complete the medical clinic in Aguacate and develop a strategy for ongoing healthcare.In...

by Jesse Brandow (Posted 2/18/2015)
Help New Orthodox Communities Around the World Grow and Thrive!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Nestled in the lush green hills of Guatemala, thousands of Mayan people celebrated Pascha as Orthodox Christians for the first time this year. Most of the priests had never celebrated the Holy Week and Pascha services, and the choirs had never before sung the hymns. They, however, were not alone. They were guided and helped by Orthodox missionaries from the United States that you sent through the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC)....

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 7/25/2014)
The Falling Asleep of Fr. Andres Giron of Guatemala - May His Memory Be Eternal!
The Falling Asleep of Fr. Andres Giron of Guatemala - May His Memory Be Eternal!

On the morning of Sunday, February 16, 2014, two days after his 67th birthday, Fr. Andres Giron, a pioneering leader of the Guatemalan Orthodox Church, fell asleep in the Lord following a long battle with diabetes. Sadly, he was unable to overcome the serious infection that had developed after numerous surgeries to prolong his life.Fr. Andres dedicated his life to seeking justice and finding a spiritual home for tens of thousands of Mayan people in Guatemala, an endeavor that led them...

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 2/18/2014)
Help the growing ministries in Guatemala through the 2014 Lesson Plan & Coin Box Program!
Help the growing ministries in Guatemala through the 2014 Lesson Plan & Coin Box Program!

As you read this, the Holy Spirit is moving in the hearts of thousands in northern Guatemala and southern Mexico and drawing them into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through the Orthodox Church. OCMC, in service to His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras in Mexico City, is working to develop a new seminary in the village of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, to train up and prepare local clergy that will shepherd this flock. Two long-term missionary families, Fr. John and Presbytera Sandy...

by Kenneth D. Kidd (Posted 1/15/2014)
Share the Gift of Faith in Christ This Nativity Season
Share the Gift of Faith in Christ This Nativity Season

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." John 1:14Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.The church was filled to overflowing. When it came time for Holy Communion, the line seemed endless! Hundreds of people kept coming forward.This is how Fr. John Chakos, OCMC Missionary to Guatemala, describes one beautiful morning he spent in the village of Aguacate. He and the local priest, Fr. Evangelos, refilled the chalices...

by Markella Balasis (Posted 11/8/2013)
What is God Doing in Guatemala?
What is God Doing in Guatemala?

I was recently reading about St. Nicholas of Japan, one of the great Orthodox missionary saints of recent times. By the time he reposed, the Japanese Orthodox Church numbered 30,000 faithful. What an astounding figure! Of all the Orthodox missionary efforts around the world today, what could even come close to that?Well…It turns out that in 2010, a group of 150,000 Guatemalans were received into canonical Orthodoxy by the Greek Archdiocese of Mexico and Central America....

by Fr. Peter Jackson (Posted 8/7/2013)
The Bliss of Paradise in Guatemala
The Bliss of Paradise in Guatemala

"In the least likely of places, the bliss of paradise opens itself up to the humble of heart", observes OCMC Missionary Fr. John Chakos. Over the past few years, a great change has been taking place for Orthodoxy right here in the West. Guatemala now holds astounding promise in becoming very fertile ground for the growth of the Orthodox Christian Church.Guatemala is a nation in Central America made up of approximately 13 million people, 36% of whom are indigenous Mayan. It...

by Emily Walker (Posted 5/9/2013)
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)
Did Not Our Hearts Burn

After spending nearly two weeks in Guatemala, I arrived back in the United States exhausted and inspired. I hoped to write sooner to share my experience, but I needed time to readjust to life here in the States. It has been nearly three months since I arrived home, and only now am I beginning to understand my trip to the Hogar Rafael Ayau (Hogar means "home" or "orphanage"). My time at the Hogar was so packed with sights, sounds, faces, and prayers that I have a difficult time truly...

by Jesse Brandow (Posted 11/5/2009)
The 2009 OCMC Mission Team to Guatemala: A Mission of Love (Part 1)
The 2009 OCMC Mission Team to Guatemala: A Mission of Love (Part 1)

I am surrounded by love. It's not the kind of love you see on TV or in the movies, but love in its most true and simple form. It is the love that can only come from God. I have only been here at the Hogar for about a day, but I have already found that love in abundance everywhere I look. These were the opening words from the journal I kept during my trip to the Hogar Rafael Ayau orphanage in Guatemala this July. I was joined by 9 other Orthodox Christians from around the...

by Steven Shippy  (Posted 9/15/2009)
How the Hogar Changed Our Lives
How the Hogar Changed Our Lives

When we volunteered for our first mission trip to Guatemala this year, it was something we had thought about many times in the past, but the timing in our busy lives was never right. As it turned out, the timing couldn't have been worse. As the mission trip approached in July 2009, our house was still on the market to sell, and three of our four rental properties were not rented. We chose Guatemala because I speak Spanish and my husband is very handy..he can fix...

by Betty McDonald (Posted 8/27/2009)
Where Angels Walk - Greetings from Guatemala
Where Angels Walk - Greetings from Guatemala

Jesuchristo esta con nosótros
Christ is in our midst Si esta y estará siémpre
He is and always shall be I especially bring you greetings from the children of the Hogar Raphael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala City, a special place cared for by the pious nuns of the beautiful Holy Trinity Orthodox Monastery, along with their dynamic and dedicated staff. Together with my daughter Chrysa, I joined an OCMC Mission Team of 10 going to...

by Fr. Nicholas Jonas (Posted 8/27/2009)
OCMC Associate Director and Family Celebrate Pascha with Hogar Raphael Ayau
OCMC Associate Director and Family Celebrate Pascha with Hogar Raphael Ayau

OCMC Associate Director Fr. David Rucker and his family celebrated Holy Week and Pascha with the children and nuns of the Hogar Raphael Ayau. Although this orphanage has been open to children since 1857, it is only since 1996 that the Orthodox nuns of the Monasterio Ortodoxo Lavra Mambré have run this vital ministry of the Church in Guatemala. Every year since 1998 OCMC Mission Teams have come to minister to these precious youngsters, who range in age from infancy to their...

by Communications and Fr. David (Posted 5/6/2009)
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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.