OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi with Fr. Aleksei Trubach in Mongolia last. This year’s team to Mongolia will help Fr. Aleksei share the Faith with the Mongolian people.
To kick off the 2012 summer season of missions, OCMC short-term teams to Uganda and Mongolia will soon be departing. The Uganda health care team (June 2nd to June 16th) will offer health care services to people in the eastern and northern regions of Uganda, where there is limited access to medical care. Team members will serve the spiritual and physical needs of the people from both the established Holy Cross Hospital in Kampala and from temporary health clinics that will be set up in neighboring Orthodox communities. Many of these patients will travel long distances in order to receive care for malaria, pneumonia, ulcers, tuberculosis, and many other medical issues.
OCMC is very excited about sending our first-ever mission team to Mongolia (June 5th to June 20th). Team members will be proclaiming the gospel and sharing the Orthodox faith with Mongolians. This historic first team is heading to Ulaanbaatar to help plant the seeds of Christianity in a nation that is over 98% non-Christian. The country’s only Orthodox church, Holy Trinity parish, will host the team. To help strengthen the Church there, team members will assist to implement effective discipleship and develop Mongolian church leaders.
The mission team to Mongolia will offer what they are calling an evangelism event, where, through focus groups, they will be spreading the word of Christ. The focus groups will include lessons on the English language, Byzantine chant, discussion of life after death from a Christian perspective (different from the Buddhist mindset), and family issues, including gender roles. All discussions will be translated into Mongolian.
Thomaida Hudanish, one of the members of the mission team to Mongolia, says, “In preparing for this experience, I am learning that the most important thing I can do is be in the moment now…my goal is simple: to go see, to learn from Fr. Aleksei, and to take in the beauty of the Mongolian culture.” One of her tasks is to prepare a short lesson about the Resurrection icon. Of this she says, “When I look at the icon, I notice that Adam is a recipient of God’s mercy and strength. Keeping focused on this helps me remember both why we are going on this trip and Who is providing.”
The OCMC mission team in Mongolia will be challenged by numerous hurdles. While Mongolia is one of the most open countries in Asia, with limited interference from the government when it comes to Christian work, the challenges will be arduous. There is a void left from 70 years of Soviet rule, secular influences, and widespread social upheaval. There has been a breakdown of traditional values that will need to be built back up again.
The goals of the Church are to ordain indigenous clergy, establish parishes outside of Ulaanbaatar, and minister to those in need. Mongolia is an important area for OCMC to begin evangelizing and assisting in providing a witness to Christ. We are excited about the opportunity to help the church grow and to fill the spiritual void that is currently present within Mongolia.
We request that you keep the members of these teams in your prayers as they travel and take on these challenging yet rewarding journeys of faith.