OCMC News – Miracles and Milestones: Missions in 2015

OCMC News – Miracles and Milestones: Missions in 2015

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by Alex Goodwin (Posted 12/28/2015)18876633979_b031e3fab8

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!

The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, and supports our sister ministries under the Assembly. The Orthodox Christian Missions Center (OCMC) is the official missions agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States it is OCMC’s mission to make disciples of all nations by bringing people to Christ and His Church.

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Alex Goodwin

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.