Friday, January 27, 2012

Update from Floyd and Ancuta Frantz in Romania



Greetings!
Greetings, and I hope that this finds you well today, and in good spirits on this most beautiful and blessed of days.
First of all, I would like to thank you for looking over this newsletter for the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center. It is my wife Ancuta's project here in Cluj, which is for the prevention of abandonment of children. Currently she has about 30 families in her program. Many of you already know about it and have asked for her newsletter. I hope that you will not mind having it in your mailbox from time to time.


Andreea, Stefania, and Maria
"The First Steps of a Dream"

Twenty one year old Andreea was only 6 years old when because of the poverty in her village her parents moved from the village into the city to find a better life.

Unfortunately, life in the city became even worse for the family, and eventually the father abandoned the family. The situation became overwhelming for the mother and children. Andreea left the house in her early teens and began life on the streets of Romania. At age 17 she got into a relationship and soon found herself pregnant. When her boyfriend found out, he abandoned her to her fate. Andreea tried renting a place with a group of friends but found that she could not cope financially and asked for help from a maternal center. This was when her case was first brought to our attention, through our caring for little Stefania, her newborn child.

The young mother needed much more than financial help. We quickly saw her need for affection, acceptance, and help in organizing her personal objectives. But we also began to see that she was not taking her role as a mother very seriously, and that she was taking little responsibility for her families' future. When we encouraged her to continue her studies or to get a job, she seemed unmotivated. In her quest to find a healthy nurturing home life she was instead becoming a slave to short term relationships and one night stands. We soon discovered another reason that her attention was not on her little girl. She was hiding the fact that she was pregnant again, and was secretly planning to give the baby up for adoption. But God seemed to have other plans for her. It was only after she gave birth to Maria, her second daughter, that she allowed The Protection of the Theotokos Family Center to become actively involved in helping her to change her life.

Because she was pregnant, they were admitted into a maternity center until Marie was born, and then we took her also into our program. We found a sponsor that paid a few months rent for family, till Andreea could find a job. Then, she went back and finished her high school. Today she is living independently, and taking care of her family. Andreea has finally found the acceptance she craved through our PTFC 'family'. She not only changed her mind about keeping her baby but started to take responsibility to learn how to make a good home life. In a time when Andreea was lacking any resources, the spiritual and material support that she received through the Protection Center was a strong motivation factor in her decision to keep her second baby rather than to abort, or give it up to the state for adoption. Now, little Stefania and Maria have a chance at the real home life that Andreea dreamed of.

Their life is not easy, especially since most of her salary goes toward paying the rent, and she still struggles with the fear that she will not have money for food or for other daily expenses. But she knows she has a real chance thanks to PTFC and people like you who give sacrificially to help her learn how to achieve her dream of a happy, healthy home life.
Adreeana, Stephiana and Marie


I will close for now by wishing you a most blessed day, and with the hope that our most gracious Lord will fill your heart with every good thing from His heavenly treasures.

Thank you for your interest in our work, please do keep us in your prayers, we all need them.

In His Love,
One Day at a Time,
Floyd & Ancuta Frantz, OCMC Missionaries to Romania

As as a final note, please remember that as OCMC missionaries we are 100 % reliant upon your financial support to continue our ministries in Romania and Alaska. Please consider a small gift through OCMC so that we can spend our time doing the Lord's work.

If you can make such a donation, send it to:

OCMC
220 Mason Manatee Way
St. Augustine, Fl. 32086,

Please mark the donation "Frantz/Romania" so that we can have full use the funds.

Online and credit card donations are possible also. Thank you.

And please feel free to pass along our email to others who you believe might be interested in our work here in Romania.

If you would like to contact us through email, please use: Stdimitrie@yahoo.com for myself and the St. Dimitrie Program, or Ancutafrantz@yahoo.com for Anca and the Protection Center.

I am also shedding my dinosaur skin, and Twittering. If you too do Twit, just hit the link and it will put you over to my page.

Twitter Link

Please also go to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center web site at www.ocmc.org to read online about our missionary activities here in Romania.

Monday, January 16, 2012

James Hargrave's Spring Schedule


Dear friends,

Furaha na amani! Joy and peace!

And happy new year! I pray that you will find yours filled with joy.

I have a doctor's appointment early next week and anticipate a clean bill of health. The past month has been difficult and good. Since mid December I've convalesced and recovered in Bukoba under the good care of my fellow missionaries Felice Stewart, Maria Roeber, and Michael Pagedas. Along with their guests, we had a delightful Christmas and Theophany together. For quite some time I was too weak to work, and the enforced vacation has been restful and refreshing. It was also an opportunity for us four missionaries to deepen our relationships and have great fun together. Now I'm itching to get back to my regular routine in Mwanza.

... For a few weeks, at least. And then, on January 27th, I'm scheduled to arrive in Orlando!

I sure hope to see as many of you as possible. I'll be on the road almost nonstop for three months, catching up with everyone I can. I'll be stopping in at many of your parishes to report on your work with the Orthodox Church in the Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza and Western Tanzania. This is your work, which you are doing through your prayers, friendship, encouragement and support.

At the end of this email you will find an itinerary of my confirmed travel schedule. Most of the dates still open are fairly firmed up but await final confirmation. I'm sure grateful for the many invitations and offers from both friends and total strangers! If I will be in your neck of the woods, get in touch with me and we'll find a way to catch up. My number will be (239) 410-0765. If I won't be in your neck of the woods... wish I could be! But we can try again in 2014 or 2015?

It looks like I will have a vehicle for the bulk of my long-distance road travel in February and March. Thank you very much for your offers and prayers in this regard. When I'm back in Florida during the last few weeks of April I believe I'll be able to rely on my old 1988 Corolla for local travel. But if it's not in good enough shape, then I may need a vehicle at that time.

It's surprising to think that my first term of missionary service in Western Tanzania is nearly complete. I look forward to beginning a second term in May of this year, God willing. My Archbishop +JERONYMOS has warmly welcomed me to return. There is much work ahead.

Visiting North America is part of this work. During this time I hope to fulfill my responsibility to report to you about how your prayers and gifts are being used to God's glory in Western Tanzania. And, I will be appealing for new people to join in this work. I am asking God to raise up about twenty new parishes, families, groups or individuals each able to pledge an average of $50/ month. Some supporters are giving more than this, and many are only able to give quite a bit less. God is using them all. If you would like to make a pledge of financial support, you can do so online at http://jhargrave.ocmc.org (click on "Support Missionary") or by calling 1-877-GO-FORTH. (Ask for the Finance Department.) Much more importantly, I will be asking for your continued prayers which are the source of my sustenance and joy.

Your prayers, emails, facebook posts and well-wishes during my illness were frankly overwhelming. I am awed and humbled. No wonder God's taking such good care of me, with such an army of prayer and love advocating for me. Thank you. May the love that you give be returned a hundredfold. And may you NEVER catch pneumonia!!

By your prayers in Christ,

James Hargrave



PS Here is my confirmed itinerary for my time in North America. At all locations I will be speaking at the end of the service. A calendar will continue to be updated at http://jhargrave.ocmc.org . (Click on "Events.")

Sunday, 29th January - Arrival. Worshiping (but not speaking) at the Orthodox Church of St Stephen the Protomartyr in Longwood, Florida.

Sunday, 5th February - Orthodox Church of St Stephen the Protomartyr in Longwood (Orlando), Florida. 1895 Lake Emma Road. Divine Liturgy begins at 9:30 am.

Sunday, 12th February - St Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida. 5129 NW 53rd Ave. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am.

Sunday, 19th February - St Justin the Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, Florida. 12460 Old Saint Augustine Road. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am.

Saturday, 25th February - Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Mount Pleasant (Charleston), South Carolina. 265 N Shelmore Blvd. Great Vespers begins at 6:00 pm.

Sunday, 4th March - Carolinas or Appalachians, details not yet confirmed.

Sunday, 11th March - Central Kentucky, details not yet confirmed.

Sunday, 18th March - Christ the Savior ~ Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Norwood (Cincinnati), Ohio. 4285 Ashland Ave. Divine Liturgy begins at 9:30 am.

Sunday, 25th March (Feast of the Annunciation) - St Matthew Orthodox Church in Torrance (Los Angeles County), California. 2368 Sonoma St. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am.

Sunday, 1st April - British Columbia, details not yet confirmed.

Sunday, 8th April (Palm Sunday) - British Columbia, details not yet confirmed.

Sunday of Pascha (Easter), 15th April - Worshiping (but not speaking) back home at St Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida.

Sunday, 22nd April - details not yet confirmed.

Sunday, 29th April - Vacation! Worshiping (but not speaking) back home at St Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church in Gainesville, Florida.



James Hargrave
Orthodox Church in Tanzania
Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza
PO Box 1113
Mwanza, Tanzania

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blessed Theophany!

Theophany Celebrations on the Island of Sviyazhsk in Tatarstan
(Photo courtesy of Bishop BASIL)


May you have a blessed celebration of the Baptism our Lord.  On this day, "worship of the Trinity was made manifest."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Behind-the-scenes Travelogue to Mt. Athos


Simonopetra Monastery on Mt. Athos


I recently became aware of a brief video about a Greek Orthodox "60 Minutes" producer's trip to Mt. Athos.  It's only seven minutes long and well worth the watch.  Enjoy.