Reflections on the Orthodox faith and life in this crazy 21st century world by an Orthodox priest and a few of his friends.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Update from James Hargrave (as he travels stateside)
Furaha na amani! Joy and peace!
Greetings from Oak Ridge, in the Tennessee River Valley. I am visiting St Anne Orthodox Church this weekend, and this morning had the joy of participating in the Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
It's my fifth Sunday on the road. Every week finds me in a different place, participating in the glory of God with a different congregation. I'm getting to see many dear friends, and to witness the work of the Church across North America. It's a good time. I plan to continue for four more Sundays until reaching the Lower Mainland of British Columbia for Holy Week and the Resurrection of our Lord. It has been very good to see many of you in the past weeks, and I look forward to spending time with many more of you in the coming weeks.
Even as I travel, visit, and speak, plans continue to evolve. I intend to return to resume my work with the Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza and Western Tanzania this year, but the dates and logistics of this may change as certain plans are in the works. Once these plans are confirmed, I look forward to telling you more.
Meanwhile, life goes on in Tanzania. We are preparing for another series of rural clinics in October, and two youth seminars- the first in July/ August, the second in December. We need volunteers from North America to participate on OCMC Teams to assist in these events. Pharmacists, physicians' assistants, nurses, physicians, Sunday school teachers, seminarians, clergy, and others who have knowledge of their faith are invited to come help out for two weeks. You can learn more at http://teams.ocmc.org .
Fellow OCMC Missionaries Felice Stewart, Maria Roeber and Michael Pagedas continue in language study as they work with local leadership and government to open a health care facility in Bukoba. I enjoy hearing from them about this work. They are making progress, but there is still much to be done. God willing, this year we may be joined by two more long-term missionaries who are both interested in spending their lives working with the Church in East Africa. I look forward to telling you more about them as things are confirmed.
My health continues to improve. Later this month I'm scheduled for a final round of blood tests to confirm that I have recovered fully. I feel more or less fully recovered, and continue to thank God for restoring my body, my breath, and my very life.
As I meet new people and add them to this mailing list, I'd like to say a bit about who I am and what we do as the Orthodox Church in Western Tanzania. You can read this in a PS to this email.
I am always grateful for your prayers, friendship, encouragement and gifts which make it possible for me to spend my life in service to our Orthodox Church in Mwanza and Western Tanzania. It is a good life, I am being given good work, and I am learning! My financial needs continue to be met by your gifts. Many of you have made a commitment to regular giving as you are able, some as little as $5/ month, and some over $100/ month. God is using all of these gifts together to provide for my needs. If you would like to join in this support team, you can go to http://jhargrave.ocmc.org and click "Support Missionary," call 1-877-GO-FORTH and ask for the Finance Department, or mail a check to the mission center. Checks should be made out to OCMC with "Hargrave" in the memo line, and mailed to Orthodox Christian Mission Center, 220 Mason Manatee Way, St Augustine, FL 32086 .
By your prayers in Christ,
PS If you're new to this email list, welcome! It's been great to meet you in the past weeks, and I look forward to keeping you updated on my work as a long-term missionary with the Orthodox Christian Mission Center in the Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza in Western Tanzania.
The Episcopal Assembly of all canonical Orthodox Churches in North America has given OCMC the task of carrying out on their behalf the overseas missionary work of the Church. This means that I am sent by all Orthodox Christians in North America, no matter their archdiocese or jurisdiction. I live and work in the city of Mwanza on the southern edge of Lake Victoria in East Africa, where I assist His Eminence Archbishop JERONYMOS of Mwanza and Western Tanzania. I am an apprentice, learning the Swahili language and being mentored and trained by local Church leadership.
We are a young and rapidly-growing Church, striving to make disciples of newly baptized Christians in rural and remote parts of East Africa. To this end I have been helping to plan, host and manage youth camps and seminars in various parts of the Archdiocese and to host foreign visitors who assist in teaching at these events. I have also been asked to work to improve communication within the Archdiocese, and to develop a cohesive plan for youth ministry.
As we are called to be the Church in Western Tanzania, our Archdiocese is also striving to live out Christ's commands to care for the hungry, the sick, the poor and the needy. Last year we began receiving medical volunteers from North America who come for two weeks to conduct rural clinics. I was heavily involved in planning and hosting this event, and expect to continue with this role this year and in coming years. We are also working to open a health care facility in the town of Bukoba. My fellow missionaries Felice Stewart, Maria Roeber and Michael Pagedas are directly involved in this effort.
Beyond these efforts to strengthen the existing Church and to serve those around us, we as a Church are called to go to all nations to baptize and make disciples. There are many parts of Western Tanzania where people have not yet responded to the good news of the Resurrection and the life of the age to come. Our growth as a Church compels us to use our resources not merely to maintain our own structures, but to reach out to those who are hungry and thirsty for the truth. There is much work ahead, and as I grow up in my role with the Archdiocese, I look forward to participating in these evangelistic efforts.
This is the work of the Church- the same work that God has given you in your own place and your own community. Because of your prayers, encouragement, friendship and generosity, I get to join in the work of the Church in another part of the world. It's a privilege, and I'm grateful. By your efforts on my behalf, this work becomes your work as well. Thank you.
James Hargrave Orthodox Church in Tanzania Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza PO Box 1113 Mwanza, Tanzania