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OCMC News - Miracles and Milestones: Missions in 2015

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 12/28/2015)

OCMC News - Miracles and Milestones: Missions in 2015
2015 was another great year for Orthodox missions that saw missionaries, mission teams, and mission priests share the Orthodox Faith with people around the world. None of it would have been possible without your prayers and support. 2016 is shaping up to be an even better year! We are looking forward to continuing to answer the call to make disciples of all nations with you in the coming year.

2015 has been an amazing year for Orthodox missions and the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). None of it would have been possible without your prayers, support, and service. What follows are some highlights from the Mission Center programs that have shared Christ with a wanting world.

Following a wonderful term in Mongolia, the Moore family returned to the United States so that Chris could pursue a seminary education. They plan to return to Mongolia, but while they are away OCMC Missionary Kurt Bringerud will continue their growing “studies in the Faith” group. The Ritsi family gave birth to their son Moses while in Albania. Both Dcn. Stephanos and Dkn. Alexandria were able to continue serving the youth of Albania while hosting mission teams that worked to share the Faith with young people. Dkn. Alexandria taught at the Protagonist school directed by OCMC Missionary Presbytera Georgia Bendo. The Hoppe family advocated for strong Albanian families. Nathan Hoppe, the Macdonald family, and Anastasia Barksdale continued training future Church leaders at the seminary. Kenya welcomed Dr. William Black who began teaching at the Makarios III Seminary in Nairobi where Meagan Engelbach is also working on translating Church texts. In Romania, Floyd Frantz expanded the reach of the Church’s substance abuse initiatives while his wife Ancuta continued to direct the Protection of the Theotokos Day Center for unwed mothers. The Chakos family, along with Jesse Brandow, saw the opening of a new clinic and further catechism of the Mayan people in Guatemala. And, The Ruckers returned to Alaska where Fr. David teaches at St. Herman seminary while Blake DiLullo continued construction and restoration projects throughout diocese.

Sixteen, Orthodox mission teams served around the world in 2015 including the first OCMC mission team to Indonesia and the first OCMC healthcare team to Guatemala. Teams also helped build a school in the Turkana village of Loupwala in northern Kenya. A second OCMC team spent time with the people of San Esteban and Pisaflores, Mexico, where they taught the Faith to the Aztec people that call these villages home.

Two long-time priests who have been supported through the Support a Mission Priest Program (SAMP) were elevated to the episcopacy in Kenya in the past year. At the end of 2014, Fr. Neophytos Kongai was enthroned Bishop of Nyeri and later in 2015 Fr. Athanasius Akunda was ordained bishop of Kisumu. In all, the SAMP program helped enable the pastoral ministries of 376 clergy in sixteen countries.

The OCMC was also able to direct thousands of dollars to help fund various church projects as initiatives around the world aimed at building up the Church and encouraging self-sustainability around the world.

2016 is shaping up to be an even more impactful year. Registration for mission teams is currently open and more long-term missionaries are slated to deploy to the field. Your continued prayers and support are needed now more than ever! Thank you for you steadfast dedication to this incredible work. The staff, board, and missionaries of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center pray that you have a blessed new year!

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Prayer for Missions

God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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