In the podcast, Kevin interviews two members of St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, California. The faithful at St. Paul's are very involved with the work of the Orthodox Church in Tanzania (click here to read more about what they are doing). Recently, they raised enough funds to build a beautiful church building, construct a home for the priest and his family, and to dig a clean, pure well (finding clean drinking water is a big problem in Tanzania, as in all of Africa). The cost of all this? Less than $70,000 for all. I find this simply amazing, considering how expensive it would be to do something similar in the United States.
The iconostasis and altar area, as seen from the nave.
St. Paul's is not the only American Orthodox parish that is doing mission work in Tanzania. Other parishes are doing similar things. Also exciting is that the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is in the process of sending a team of missionaries to Tanzania to help the Church there. They will following up on the work of former OCMC missionary Edwin Pier, who recently returned to the United States. They will also be working with Metropolitan JERONYMOS, Bishop of Bukoba and Kenya (pictured below).
Following is some information about the OCMC Tanzania team, all of whom are currently raising funds to support themselves (the information is from an email that I recently received from the OCMC).
Recently, five potential missionaries who are preparing for long-term service in Tanzania have just completed new candidate orientation (NCO) here at the Mission Center. During this orientation these prospective missionaries learned about the work they will be doing and received in depth training on serving in the field, cross-cultural ministries, working amongst themselves, communications, and how to build their support teams. Typically a missionary will try to raise enough support to sustain their ministry for an entire year before they depart for their field of service. This is where your help as an OCMC Ambassador is greatly needed. These missionary candidates have been made aware of the Ambassadors that have volunteered to serve as advocates for missions around the country, and they may be reaching out to you for help in scheduling a presentation before your community. Please work with your parish priest in helping these men and women who have answered the call to dedicate their lives to sharing Christ with the world. Prayerfully consider proactively inviting them to speak as well. They would be most grateful your assistance in this vital aspect of their ministry.
Contact information for these missionary candidates is as follows:
Phone: (239) 543-8355
Phone: (512) 565-8467
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Phone: (414) 899-5897
Phone: (520) 617-0719
You can also invite these missionary candidates to speak using the website by visiting, http://www.ocmc.org/missionaries/missionaries.aspx and clicking the INVITE TO SPEAK button next to their names. [Fr. James' note: Katie Wilcoxson will soon be speaking at St. Joseph's]
I encourage you to not only pray for these future missionaries and for the work of the OCMC and the Orthodox Church of Tanzania, but if at all possible, speak to your priest about the possibility of inviting one of them to speak at your parish. And, of course, if you can donate anything at all, please do so. Even if it just a small amount, it will go far. Consider doing a fundraiser at your parish for the work of OCMC. For, as St. Paul writes, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:14-15).
Let us join God in what he is doing in Tanzania!