2017 United States Outreach Team
Traveling From: 7/7/2017 to 7/17/2017
KUSKOKWIN DEANERY, ALASKA – The 2017 Alaska-III Mission Team will participate in teaching and outreach projects in the villages surrounding Napaskiak, Alaska. This Team is a joint effort of the OCMC and the Orthodox Youth Mission Team (OYMT). OYMT is an organization of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Danbury, CT whose purpose is to give high school youth and adult leaders the opportunity to put their faith to work by serving others. This Team is comprised of 20 youth and 6 adult leaders from 6 parishes in 3 jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church.
The Team will participate in the annual Kuskokwim Deanery youth conference, offer a VBS and work alongside people from the villages to assist with needed renovations and maintenance projects cleaning up. The Team will work with local clergy and lay leaders in Napaskiak to reach out to youth and adults from the small village of Oscarville (population 68) and other small villages surrounding Napaskiak. The project will focus on children and teens and the unique challenges that they face as Orthodox Christians growing up in isolated communities in Alaska, and offer witness to help strengthen the faith and deepen the understanding of the Church.
Native Alaskans often find themselves walking in two worlds - one with grandparents, ancient languages, fishing, hunting and close-knit subsistence villages and the other with an emphasis on formal education, internet technology and an evolving world economy. Teams bring a sense of family and connection as they share their faith with those whose home land is the ‘holy land’ of North America.
Historically, the Kuskokwim area was evangelized by men like St. Yakov Netsvetov in the 1800s, and is religious to this day. Alaska is considered America’s “Holy Land.” Many Alaska Native cultures place Russian Orthodoxy as central to their self-definition. These villages have populations of between 500 and 800 people; they are 98% Yup’ik Eskimo; and over half of their populations are under 18 years of age. These villages are unique in that they are one of few places in the world where a Native American language (Yup’ik) is still being taught in the home as a first language, and Yup’ik remains the main language of commerce in the villages. The economy is still primarily subsistence-based. Church life remains extremely central to village life; for example, in Napaskiak, the public school year began with the Orthodox priest blessing the classrooms and students and a ‘Moliben’ was offered.
The Church in Alaska faces many challenges as she continues to maintain an Orthodox witness and proclaim Christ while equipping a new generation of future believers and leaders to know and live their faith. OCMC Mission Teams work in partnership with the OCA Diocese of Alaska to provide catechism to the faithful, and offer youth ministry to foster growth and involvement in the Church.
Dates: July 7 – July 17, 2017
Cost: TBD (+ airfares)
Travel – Members will fly (round-trip) to Bethel, Alaska: on Friday, July 7 and return July 16 (return home July 17). Airfares are not included in participation cost.
Fund raising – Each Team member is responsible for the participant cost and airfares. Members. Participants are encouraged to let others know that they will be sharing in the work of missions through their tax-deductible donations, and invite others to participate through prayer and financial support. The cost includes room and board, local transportation, orientation costs, ministry expenses, excursion and materials. Support on-line, or visit http://oymt.info/.
OCMC relies solely on gifts and offerings from churches and individuals for support. If you would like to contribute to this ministry mission project, we welcome you to do so and are grateful for your support. This is optional and for that reason it is not included in the participant cost.
Share in a journey of faith… Orthodox Mission Team members are challenged to view the world with God's eyes and seek how He wants to use them to fulfill His plans. This cross-cultural experience, combined with outreach, offers participants a life-changing learning experience. This experience is about people, culture and missions. It is also about prayer, for you and others; it is about God, those you serve, and about yourself, as you serve Him.