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OCMC News - Christmas Newsletter

by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale,M.Div. (Posted 12/30/2011)

Gëzuar Krishtlindjet!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Glory to God for His great goodness and love! The year has been filled with so many blessings it is difficult to know how to begin to share even some of the love and joy with you. The summer was so full of activities for children that it seems like ages ago since classes ended last semester at the Theological Academy. Fr. Luke Veronis’ mission team, summer camps, day camps, the OCMC Family camp, and a visit from Metropolitan Kallistos Ware filled the summer. In September the Academy students and I hosted four day camps with the theme: “Saints Alive.” It was our first activity organized with the new materials and equipment from our Resource Center. Fr. Luke Veronis and Panagiotis and Shannon Sakellariou were very generous in transporting materials for us from America. My prayer partners in the states will be delighted to know that the materials they donated were put to good use in the Day Camps at Shen Vlash and Rrushkull villages, and Durres and Kavajes. Over 177 children and 14 student teachers and volunteers participated in the camps. How my heart soared as the little village children delighted in the beautiful puzzles, blocks and materials you donated. Or the joy they expressed at making bracelets with the saint medallions I was able to buy in craft stores in Athens. My students were delighted to have such wonderful materials to work with. Normally these village camps are conducted with shoestring budgets. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you again and again for your support, help and prayers!!!

Classes began at the Seminary in October, as well as my English Bible Study at the Campus Ministry Center which has become very popular. We have been using the book, Who is God? Who Am I? Who Are You? and are looking forward to the publication of the book in Albanian in early December. I have added teaching English to my other duties and every day another person asks to study with me.

The Children of the Home of Hope: Most recently, I have been blessed with the responsibility of overseeing the catechism classes and coordinating short-term teams that come to work with the children of the Home of Hope. There will be a short-term OCMC Mission Team coming in June of 2012. Please consider joining us in Albania on a short-term team. See the OCMC webpage for additional information. Other news: Fr. Jason Dickey (Mission Institute Team, 2010) has begun a pen pal program with the youth group in his parish and the children. Pamela and Sebastian Filutowski and Carolyn Frangos Mesagno created a beautiful DVD of their team’s visit (2010) which they used to tells others about the children, the Home, and the Hope. Another blessing this summer was the return of OCMC short-term mission team member Joanna Lailios to the Home of Hope for three very special weeks with the children she had come to love during her visit the previous year. This is the type of long-term relationship that we hope to develop with our prayer partners in America. Often the teams come and go, the children remember everyone who comes here in their prayers and ask me often if I have heard from this person or that person.

Home again in January for a Short Tour: God willing, I will return to America to share the story of renewal and mission in Albania as I commit to two more years of ministry. This year I propose to do something a little different. I would like to offer Mission Retreats to the various parishes that have been supporting my ministries and to share the vision and missiology of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios as outlined in his book, Mission in Christ’s Way. If either you or your parish are interested in hosting a Mission Retreat, or would like for me to visit your parish and speak to your community, your youth or women’s group, please contact me as soon as possible. I have already begun to develop the timeline and plan my itinerary. I will arrive in Boston in late January, go to Florida and then to the West Coast. I hope to be in Phoenix and Denver and Oregon also and then work my way back across country. I want to return to Tirana before Palm Sunday in order to celebrate Pascha in the new Resurrection Cathedral.

Please continue to pray for our OCMC missionaries throughout the world. The message of good news, of faith, hope and love, of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ is a message of primary importance that needs to be proclaimed today more than ever! In preparation for my return, I am asking all my Prayer Partners to consider reenlisting with me and renewing their pledge or donation either monthly or annually for an additional two years. If you would like to make a donation or renew a pledge for the coming year, simply click the link on the upper left-hand corner of my webpage to make an online donation/pledge, call 800-GO-FORTH to begin payments over the phone with a credit card, or a check designated "Barksdale" in the memo to OCMC, 220 Mason Manatee Way, St. Augustine, FL 32086.

Wishing you every joy at Christmas and a New Year filled with the love of Christ,

Anastasia Pamela Barksdale, M.Div.

OCMC Missionary Albania

1-877-463-6784
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St. Augustine, FL
United States
32086
Phone:
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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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