In Spite of Terrorists

“Apostolicity requires that the Church–and I stress the whole Church–not limit herself to pastoral care of those within; to cultivating what comes easily, what is beautiful and spiritually inspiring for the benefit of those who are ‘within the Church.’ The Church is called constantly to dare to make an exodus, to reach out.

“We are called to go out from the confines of our closed, entrenched communities, to transcend our prejudices, misgivings, and fears and to bear witness together–to the best of our abilities–to the risen Lord. We are called to meet our contemporaries where they are grappling with the most pressing problems. We must do this ‘not to be conformed to this world’ (Rom 12:2) but to help in its orientation towards the sacramental grace of the Church and the power of her truth. We must do this with earnest respect for the distinctiveness of every people and culture, for the freedom and dignity of each human being and with unfeigned love for the whole person. It is a matter of personal spiritual concern and not a political matter.”

–Archbishop ANASTASIOS of Albania, Rediscovering Our Apostolic Identity in the 21st Century
Dear friends,

I’ve started work on inputting the Kiswahili liturgical texts into the AGES database that will eventually contain all known liturgical materials in all the languages of the world. This job is helping me understand how the program works so I can teach it to the translators I work with. I’m doing this from home, because although I was and am ready to deploy, recent events show that it is unwise to do so just yet.

On September 23 armed Somali terrorists attacked shoppers in Nairobi’s upscale Westgate mall. They murdered a number of people and held hostages for several days as they attempted to fight off Kenyan police. We ask your prayers for the people of Kenya and for a resolution to these security threats.

I was planning to set out for Nairobi in October. For security reasons–not knowing what the terrorists will do next, and not knowing how the Kenyan government will respond to keep its people safe–OCMC and I have decided to delay my deployment until early this coming year. Please keep the peoples of Kenya and Somalia in your prayers, especially during the Divine Liturgy when we pray “for the peace of the whole world”.

It is a bit disappointing to have to wait after putting in all the work to get ready to go, but I’m glad to have this season to spend with my family and my church family at St. Nicholas, enjoy the autumn, learn the AGES system, and begin laying the groundwork for my participation in the translation program. Also, it’s a chance to let my emotions rest from the anticipation of moving soon. Will this be the month? Will this be the week? No, and now I don’t have to wonder for a couple of months.

I want to affirm that I’m completely committed to the missionary work I’m to undertake in East Africa. I dream and pray about the day my feet touch African soil again, and, although I feel very inadequate to the task, I trust the archbishop and his capable officials to teach me how to serve our Church. Soon enough I’ll be on the way to work with the translation project so that every language group in the area will have access to the prayers of the Church and the truths of God in their own language. Keep all of us in your prayers, because I hope to leave winter behind and get to Nairobi!

I would love to hear how you are doing this fall season. Your support throughout this long, long waiting period means and has meant the world to me.

With love in Christ,
Meg Photini Engelbach

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Meg is a long-term missionary with the Orthodox Christian Mission…
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