Furaha na amani! Joy and peace!
And happy New Year! I pray that you will find yours filled with joy.
I have a doctor's appointment later this week and anticipate a clean bill of health. The past month has been difficult and good. Since mid-December I've convalesced and recovered from pneumonia in Bukoba under the good care of my fellow missionaries Felice Stewart, Maria Roeber, and Michael Pagedas. Along with their guests, we had a delightful Christmas and Theophany together. For quite some time I was too weak to work, and the enforced vacation has been very restful and refreshing. It was also an opportunity for us four missionaries to deepen our relationships and have great fun together. Now I'm itching to get back to my regular routine in Mwanza.
... For a few weeks, at least. And then, on January 27th, I'm scheduled to arrive in Orlando!
I sure hope to see as many of you as possible. I'll be on the road almost nonstop for three months, catching up with everyone I can. I'll be stopping in at many of your parishes to report on your work with the Orthodox Church in the Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza and Western Tanzania. This is your work, work that you are doing through your prayers, friendship, encouragement and support.
At the end of this email you will find an itinerary of my confirmed travel schedule. Most of the dates still open are fairly firmed up but await final confirmation. I'm sure grateful for the many invitations and offers from both friends and total strangers! If I will be in your neck of the woods, get in touch with me and we'll find a way to catch up. My number will be (239) 410-0765. If I won't be in your neck of the woods... wish I could be! But we can try again in 2014 or 2015?
It looks like I will have a vehicle for the bulk of my long-distance road travel in February and March. Thank you very much for your offers and prayers in this regard. When I'm back in Florida during the last few weeks of April, I believe I'll be able to rely on my old 1988 Corolla for local travel. But if it's not in good enough shape, then I may need a vehicle at that time.
It's hard for me to realize that my first term of missionary service in Western Tanzania is nearly complete. I look forward to beginning a second term in May of this year, God willing. My Archbishop +JERONYMOS has warmly welcomed me to return. There is much work ahead.
Visiting North America is part of this work. It is not vacation. During this time I hope to fulfill my responsibility to report to you about how your prayers and gifts are being used to God's glory in Western Tanzania. And, I will be appealing for new people to join in this work. I am asking God to raise up about twenty new parishes, families, groups or individuals each able to pledge an average of $50/ month. Some supporters are giving more than this, and many are only able to give quite a bit less. God is using them all. If you would like to make a pledge of financial support, you can do so online at http://jhargrave.ocmc.org (click on "Support Missionary") or by calling 1-877-GO-FORTH. (Ask for the Finance Department.) Much more importantly, I will ask for your continued prayers which are the source of my sustenance and joy.
Your prayers, emails, Facebook posts and well-wishes during my illness were frankly overwhelming. I am awed and humbled. No wonder God's taking such good care of me, with such an army of prayer and love advocating for me. Thank you. May the love that you give be returned a hundredfold. And may you NEVER catch pneumonia!!
By your prayers in Christ,
PS Here is my confirmed itinerary for my time in North America. At all locations I will be speaking at the end of the service. A calendar will continue to be updated at http://jhargrave.ocmc.org
Sunday, 29th January - Arrival. Worshiping (but not speaking) at the Orthodox Church of St Stephen the Protomartyr in Longwood, Florida.
Sunday, 5th February - Orthodox Church of St Stephen the Protomartyr in Longwood (Orlando), Florida. 1895 Lake Emma Road. Divine Liturgy begins at 9:30 am.
Sunday, 12th February - St Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida. 5129 NW 53rd Ave. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am.
Sunday, 19th February - St Justin the Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, Florida. 12460 Old Saint Augustine Road. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am.
Saturday, 25th February - Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Mount Pleasant (Charleston), South Carolina. 265 N Shelmore Blvd. Great Vespers begins at 6:00 pm.
Sunday, 4th March - Carolinas or Appalachians, details not yet confirmed.
Sunday, 11th March - Central Kentucky, details not yet confirmed.
Sunday, 18th March - Christ the Savior ~ Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Norwood (Cincinnati), Ohio. 4285 Ashland Ave. Divine Liturgy begins at 9:30 am.
Sunday, 25th March (Feast of the Annunciation) - St Matthew Orthodox Church in Torrance (Los Angeles County), California. 2368 Sonoma St. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am.
Sunday, 1st April - British Columbia, details not yet confirmed.
Sunday, 8th April (Palm Sunday) - British Columbia, details not yet confirmed.
Sunday of Pascha (Easter), 15th April - Worshiping (but not speaking) back home at St Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida.
Sunday, 22nd April - details not yet confirmed.
Sunday, 29th April - Vacation! Worshiping (but not speaking) back home at St Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida.