Anna Rozes, of Jacksonville, FL, was overcome with emotion and tears of joy when she learned of the impact her presentation had on youth in northern Uganda. She felt called to connect with the youth in Uganda after hearing a sermon given by OCMC Executive Director, Fr. Martin Ritsi, at her home parish last September, and prayed that God would open a door to answer that calling.
Although in-person teams had been suspended due to the pandemic, Anna joined six other team members from Florida and New York to comprise an OCMC virtual mission team for youth and youth leaders in Gulu, Uganda, the first week of December 2020. This area of Uganda has been beset by violence in the recent past and is home to many displaced people, including youth who were child soldiers.
The connection that Anna and her fellow presenters forged with the youth not only spanned continents and miles, but it also formed a bridge of mutual support and love in Jesus Christ. For many of the youth, it was a connection that led to continued healing and hope.
As Anna began preparing for her three presentations, she listened to a podcast by Hank Hanegraaff, the “Bible Answer Man”, who came into the Orthodox faith in 2017. Her decision to include Hank’s story in her teaching was reinforced when James Ssengunda, the coordinator of the team in Uganda, shared his personal connection with Mr. Hanegraaff. In 2018, James had traveled to Greece for a Conference on Digital Media and met Hank there. Hank and James had the opportunity to share their common ministry of sharing Christ through digital means.
During a debrief session following the presentations, the OCMC virtual team members and coordinators on the ground in Gulu were powerfully impacted to see how these connections bound them together as members of the Body of Christ.
The sharing of the Good News strengthened every participant, both in Uganda and here in the US.
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