“Are we there yet?”
Yes, I’ve heard this question many times before over the years. It usually comes from the back seat of the family van, and is in reference to some place we are headed to. Up until this past year, our destinations have been the homes of distant family and friends or some other place we’ve chosen for a weekend vacation.
Now it’s all about our next parish visit as we bounce across Florida, down the coast, or up into Georgia. For Blake and I, it has been a great honor and even greater blessing to be able to step foot into the various Orthodox churches within the region in order to promote missions awareness and invite our brothers and sisters in Christ to join our support team. It is these individuals and their parishes as a collective whole who are sending us to do the Lord’s work in His Alaskan vineyard.
“Are we there yet?”
I hear this question not only from my own children, but from several of our Alaskan brothers and sisters as they anticipate our family’s return. They want to know when we’ll be in Kodiak and what village we will head to next. They’ve worked by our side to rebuild their own churches. They’ve participated in youth catechetical activities with us, learning to teach their own youth about the Christian Orthodox faith. We’ve shared conversations, life stories, and meals. From the Facebook messages, e-mails, and phone calls, it appears that they want us back “home” almost as much as we want to be there with them.
“Are we there yet?”
And I hear this from some of our supporters, asking where we are with our fund raising and when will we be able to head out into the field. We tell them we would like to be there early in the summer in time to prepare for the long Alaskan winter and begin to acquire the skills we will need to minister to the people of Alaska. We know that it is truly in God’s time and we will not depart a minute before. There are a few things we have to accomplish before we leave our home here in Florida. Dillon has to graduate in June, we need to complete our pre-field training, and we have to finish raising our support. It takes a lot to send a family of five, and we’ve got quite a way to go. Until then we will continue to pray, visit you in your parishes, and prepare for the journey ahead of us. But in order for us to get there we need your participation in sending us. Many have already committed to supporting us through prayers and monthly contributions, and we are grateful for their generosity.
Your monthly contribution to the ministry we are undertaking can change lives. With Blake’s more than twenty years of experience in residential and commercial construction and the arctic building practices he will quickly add to his knowledge, he will not only be able to repair existing church structures and build new ones, but he will also be able to teach these valuable skills to others within the villages. These work skills will afford many the opportunities to better their own financial situations. And the techniques in alcohol and substance abuse counseling he will be learning at St Herman’s Seminary will help him reach those afflicted by these addictions; addictions which many times have deadly consequences. While Blake will be working to rebuild churches and broken lives, I will be using my experience as a home school mom, a Sunday Church School teacher and youth advisor to focus on strengthening the faith of youth throughout Alaska, beginning with children on Kodiak Island. Along with staff members from St. Herman’s Seminary and church school teachers within the villages, we will teach the young what it means to be Orthodox, to have the love of Christ within their lives, and to be witnesses of the faith to their families and others within their communities. Dillon, Serena, and Cecelia will be working alongside of us, mentoring a life of faith to their Alaskan peers and participating in ministry projects .
You can be a part of this life changing ministry. You can help us answer the question “Are we there yet?” with a triumphant “Yes!” by joining our support team as monthly contributors. Your tax-deductible gift of $10, 20, 50, or more each month will help get us into the field and keep us there, focused on the Lord’s work before us. Pray for us, support us, and get the word out to others about us.
Visit ocmc.org for information on donating online or mail your check made out to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), with DILULLO in the memo portion to the following address: OCMC 220 Mason Manatee Way St Augustine, FL 32086
Thank you for your continued prayers, not only for our family, but for those whom we will serve in Alaska.
With the Love of Christ,
Tamara Pamela DiLullo, for the DiLullo family