Focusing on What Matters
Our primary goal at the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is to share the truth of Orthodoxy with the world. Our secondary goal is to generate fruitful conversations that strengthen us in our own faith and increase our ability to share it in meaningful ways with our fellow human beings. This is why OCN has collected a group of various teachers, philosophers, priests, artists, parents, and writers to post articles on our blog, The Sounding. Enjoy the following post and feel free to comment below.
What Does FOCUS Mean to You?
Day in and day out, Orthodox Christians of all ages and walks of life give to FOCUS as an expression of their love for Christ and their love for their neighbor. Some roll up their sleeves and work hands-on, others faithfully give of their finances. Santhe Loizos spoke with three loyal FOCUS supporters share what FOCUS means to them.
Reflection #1 Giving Back
For Dr. Rocco Adams, FOCUS was an answer to prayer. The year was 2011 and Dr. Adams was looking to donate his time, talent and financial support to a worthy organization. A few weeks after asking God to guide him, he felt his prayer answered one Sunday in church when he heard an announcement about the FOCUS Center in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. He attended a meeting at the center and soon joined its board of advisors. Not long after, he and other volunteers began spearheading an effort to develop FOCUS’ first free medical clinic.
Over a period of several years, Dr. Adams and other dedicated professionals met weekly to lay the groundwork for the clinic. Giving countless hours of their time, they built relationships with local hospitals and established medical malpractice insurance coverage for the clinic’s volunteer health care providers. The process was long and laborious, but it paid off: the clinic opened its doors in 2014. Now Dr. Adams serves as its medical director, overseeing policies and procedures, quality assurance, and interviewing and credentialing all of the medical volunteers. He also dedicates five hours every other week to seeing patients. All of this on top of maintaining his own full-time practice as a physician.
When asked why he volunteers for FOCUS, Dr. Adams says it’s an opportunity to give back. “I think it’s the least I can do. It’s a way of expressing my gratitude to God for what he has given me. There’s no greater joy than serving others. No greater comfort, no greater peace than from serving people. We really don’t have peace unless we are in a servant’s mode,” he says. When asked if he ever imagined what a labor of love it would become he says, “I never worried about where it was going to take me. The door was open to me and I was going to walk through it and just take it as it comes.”
Reflection #2 Love One Another
Sylvia began volunteering at the Orange County FOCUS Center not long after it was established in 2009. She began by preparing and serving dinner at a local motel on Sunday nights. As the Center grew, so did the opportunities to serve. In the years since, she’s helped serve through many kinds of activities, including sorting shoes at the warehouse for Operation Lace Up (literally tens of thousands of pairs of shoes!), shopping at the local food bank, distributing backpacks to local youth, sorting canned food, and organizing fundraisers. She continues to cook and serve a weekly meal, and pitches in as needed. “I volunteer with FOCUS to fulfill Christ’s commandment to love one another as He loves us,” says Sylvia. “FOCUS gives me an opportunity to do that on a consistent basis. The meal I serve is a vehicle to reach my brothers and sisters. After the meal, we take a couple of hours to share our struggles, pain, and joys. We are not much different than each other. I found that it doesn’t take much for God’s love to flow through us to ‘one of the least of these’. This love restores the humanity of us both.”
Reflection #3 It Exceeds My Expectations
Unlike Sylvia and Dr. Adams, Cameron doesn’t live in close proximity to a FOCUS Center. He supports FOCUS’ mission with a monthly contribution, which is matched by his employer. How did he choose FOCUS? He writes, “Although there are many needs in this world, FOCUS North America addresses many of the concerns that are close my heart…I must emphasize that I am personally enthusiastic about the FOCUS outreach method in that it addresses community needs through Christian inspiration, rather than taking advantage of people’s misfortune in an effort to push a specific dogma upon them…When I read the updates on the recent FOCUS endeavors, it exceeds my expectations.”
FOCUS North America is a national movement of Orthodox Christians, united in faith and joined by a desire to provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty in communities across America. FOCUS has operations and youth volunteer experiences in more than 50 cities in the United States.
Contact FOCUS via phone (toll-free 1-866-267-3083) or email ( email@example.com ) for more information on how to get involved with this important program to help end hunger in the United States.
(Photo of Dr. Rocco Adams and volunteers.)
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