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OCMC News - Returning to Albania as a Long-term Missionary!

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (Posted 9/5/2018)

OCMC News - Returning to Albania as a Long-term Missionary!
After completing her short-term assignments Anastasia Pamela Barksdale (center left) has returned to Albania as a long-term missionary where she will serve as Executive Director of the Spirit of Love Foundation with the blessing of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios.

When I arrived back in Albania, His Beatitude asked if I could take over as the Executive Director of the Spirit of Love Foundation. of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. As I completed my short-term mission assignments over the next weeks and three months, I discussed this idea with my spiritual father and my family, and with their blessings I decided to accept the appointment after completing the three months of my mission specialist assignment.

OCMC reappointed me as a missionary, and I will continue to oversee my special projects, the Albanian Catechism Program and Albanian Christian Children's Literature and Curriculum Project. As Executive Director of "Fryma e Dashurise," the Spirit of Love Foundation, I will still be involved in the education field, overseeing 20 preschools, three elementary schools, four high schools, a vocational high school, and a two-year professional school. Each of our private schools offer catechism programs as an elective after school, and we will be working to develop resources and curriculum materials for the teachers and catechists. We are also active in the field of development and social care through the Church's charitable organization, Diakonia Agapes (Service of Love).

This first month has been challenging, and yet I am so excited for all the possibilities that are opening to accomplish good works and share the spirit of God's love with those inside and outside the Church. I ask once again for your prayers and support. The job title here is very big, but I will need to fundraise to cover the cost of travel, additional insurance, and an automobile. The schools, programs, and projects are located throughout the entire country of Albania. I need a reliable car that can handle the rough terrain and bad roads of Albania. The Foundation does not have a vehicle, and we currently use the chief economist's car, which has begun to have mechanical problems.

Please remember our work: building up the Church, and, at the same time, building up the society in which we live, has been the way the Orthodox Church has seen its mission since the golden age of Byzantium. It expresses our understanding of what it means to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

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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.
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