Alex Goodwin serves as the Communications Director at the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) in St. Augustine, Florida, where he lives with his wife and two children. Alex has participated on multiple mission teams to Africa. His duties at the Mission Center include broadening awareness of, and participation in, Orthodox missions among the faithful of North America.
Nairobi, Kenya is home to more than 3 million people and has a vibrant atmosphere where the Orthodox Church is growing. Located in Nairobi is the Makarios III Patriarchal Orthodox Seminary which trains future priests to lead the ever-growing Orthodox Church in Kenya and the surrounding area. The students who attend are from all over Africa, not just Kenya. There are around 250-300 Orthodox parishes in Kenya alone, and the need for catechesis is great.
Dr. Black, OCMC long-term missionary in Kenya, teaches full time at the seminary and also at St. Paul’s University in Limuru. He is helping to train the future leaders of the churches of Kenya and all Africa so that they can bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their people.
Dr. Black has experienced firsthand the immense needs of the people of Kenya both physically and spiritually. On his way to work at the seminary, or during his frequent running excursions, he passes through the slums of Nairobi. It is eye-opening for him to see the state in which people live so packed together and in such dire poverty. The needs of the poor and the needs of the Church become apparent to him during his jogs through this area so affected by hardship.
There is a local priest he knows, we’ll call him Fr. ‘Andrew,’ who lives in a one bedroom shack with his wife and 4 children. The priest works as a gardener at the compound at the seminary because the parish he serves cannot pay him. Dr. Black and Fr. ‘Andrew’ have made a connection and run together every Saturday. Dr. Black gave him a pair of running shorts that he wears frequently. This man has taught Dr. Black a lot about being in Kenya – how difficult it is for people to survive and how important it is that people help one another.
Orthodoxy has grown quickly in this region, and Dr. Black is the only missionary educator serving the growing Orthodox community. As the church and the seminary grow, the need for teachers and other specialists grows. The people in the surrounding area also cry, if silently, for refuge from the present living conditions. As Orthodox Christians, we know that the only answer to the needs for education and relief of the people of Nairobi and beyond is through Christ’s Holy Church. There is a great need for the call to missions in Kenya to be answered long-term. Dr. Black and his ministry through education is impacting the Kenyan people through God’s grace, and there is a great need for more long-term assistance in this endeavor. The seminary in Nairobi is the only Orthodox institution offering theological training for priests, deacons and catechist in all of sub-Saharan Africa. The strategic opportunity to have a lasting impact on the growth of Orthodoxy in Africa is immense.
If God has placed on your heart the possibility of serving the Orthodox Church by becoming a financial partner with Dr. Black in his ministry or through long-term missionary service, please prayerfully consider the opportunity of serving in Kenya. For more information, please contact the OCMC Missionary Department by phone at 904-829-5132 ext. 121, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our missionary inquiry page online at ocmc.org.
Photo: Dr. Bill Black standing with His Grace Bishop Athanasios Akunda of Kisumu and Western Kenya.
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