In July 1985, OCMC sent its first missionaries to East Africa, and thirty-nine years later, the collaboration between OCMC and the Orthodox churches in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda remains strong and flourishing. “What most excited me on our recent visit was traveling to Turkana, Kenya, where we have been working with the local church for over a decade and targeting new areas to bring the Gospel to places it has not been preached!” reflected Fr. Martin Ritsi, OCMC Executive Director.
OCMC recently supported sending some local priests and catechists to explore five villages in Kenya and other villages in Uganda that had reportedly never heard the Gospel to see if they might be receptive to a visit. Fr. Martin, who began his missionary service in Kenya in 1987, continued, “The priests had done an excellent job. The villages in Kenya were truly remote and untouched, and the people had been prepared and enthusiastically received us. In each village, as in the tradition of Turkana, meetings began under a designated tree with song and dance, followed by teaching and discussions with the elders. We provided a small amount of food for the people, and it was amazing to see how much excitement was generated over receiving just a kilo of cornflower. In each area (not even villages yet), the elders committed to providing land where we can build a simple structure to establish the Church.” OCMC will pursue evangelizing those villages and try to identify other villages in the Karamoja region of Uganda, just over the Kenyan border, that are also in need of evangelization.
Fr. Martin was joined on the journey to East Africa by OCMC Projects & Grants Manager Santhe Loizos. In addition to the journey to Turkana and Karamoja, they also finalized plans: to complete the building of a Theological School in Mwanza, Tanzania, and to offer a small grant to help expand an orphanage in Bukoba, Tanzania; to fund the first phase of a dormitory project at the Makarios Seminary in Nairobi, Kenya, that will be built on the seminary property and rented to the adjacent State-run technological school for income generation in support of the seminary; and to fund the first phase construction of an income-generation project outside of Kampala for the Metropolis of Uganda. These three projects total $700,000 in OCMC grants and will be instrumental in helping sustain the work in East Africa through Theological education and income generation.
Finishing the Theological School in Mwanza, Tanzania, is one of many projects that will receive support from OCMC in 2024.
The work begun thirty-nine years ago by OCMC in East Africa of bringing people to Christ, building up the Church, and sharing Christ’s love is continuing and thriving. Click below to learn more about these efforts and how you can support them.