Community & Parents Rejoice in Sending Their Young Adults on Orthodox Mission Teams

Monday, October 16, 2006

Community & Parents Rejoice in Sending Their Young Adults on Orthodox Mission Teams

September 29, 2006


Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), St. Augustine , FL – The Mission Center commends the dedication of the Church of the Annunciation community in Buffalo , New York , as it rejoices in its efforts to support Orthodox missions throughout the years.   As Fr. James Doukas writes:

“Our Church, the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, has been truly blessed to watch the fruits of our efforts.   For the past three consecutive years we have had three young adults participate on mission trips with Mission Center .

The Mellas girls, Elizabeth, Rachel and Theresa have learned so much from their experiences.   Along with parental guidance, their mission trips have helped them grow and mature into the fine Orthodox Christians they are today.   I pray that others are blessed to participate in an OCMC “trip” and find the enrichment that these girls have received.

Their enthusiasm is evident and we have tried to capture and project it to the parish!

Although the efforts to raise funds for those wishing to participate on trips can be difficult at best, it is another means of exposing others to missions and raising awareness among the Orthodox as well as non-Orthodox.   

A booth was set up at our yearly Hellenic Heritage Festival with posters from OCMC to create awareness.   Also, here in the western NY area, our Council of Orthodox Churches on the Niagara Frontier holds a Walk for Missions every year, with the proceeds earmarked to assist and encourage participants from our area to participate in a mission trip.   As a result, this common cause not only brought in the needed funds, but exposed Buffalo to the work of Orthodoxy and continued to build a bond among the Orthodox Churches of our area.   

Our Parish has always had a Foreign Mission Drive and has enjoyed visits and presentations from numerous missionaries. For many years, the OCMC’s Agape canisters have been throughout the Buffalo area businesses and monies are sent to OCMC on a regular basis.

 
The “seeds” have been planted and watered with the hope that roots would take hold and grow.”

 
About sending their children on OCMC Mission Teams, the parents of the Mellas girls, Constantine and Beth share:


“As parents, we always ask God to guide our children. Throughout their lives we expose them to the faith in our church community, our family, our neighbors, and in their education. Sometimes, however, they’ll see someone’s strong faith from unexpected experiences.

Our three daughters’ interest in missions began a few years ago while at church camp. A guest speaker, who had recently returned from a mission trip to Africa , told the campers about her experiences. They realized mission work is not a vacation, yet they hoped one day to have a similar opportunity.

The opportunity came this past summer. Our 18-year-old twin daughters, Rachel and Theresa, participated on two separate missions. Rachel spent 2 ½ weeks in Albania where she worked with children, while Theresa spent 4 weeks in Kenya where she helped to construct a new church. Their older sister, Elizabeth, has also participated in Mission Teams to Alaska and Guatemala .

The parishioners gave tremendous encouragement and support to my daughters and for missions in general. We are also fortunate to have a very active Pan-Orthodox community which sponsors the Walk for Missions and other fund-raisers throughout the year.

With their missions completed, my daughters are now preparing presentations for our community about their experiences. Through this effort I hope more people will realize the need for the continued support of missions. Mission Teams not only reach out to the people in those foreign countries, but also at home and within our own communities: their experiences become our awareness.”

Please continue to prayerfully support our Missionaries, Orthodox Mission Team members and mission priests. Funds to help support OCMC programs can be sent to OCMC, P.O. Box 4319 , St. Augustine , FL 32085-4319 .   To find out more about the Mission Center , visit www.ocmc.org , or contact us at missions@ocmc.org .

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News Worthy:

OCMC’s Mission Team Chicago, will be holding a memorial service for Lynette Hoppe on the 1st of October at Holy Apsotles in Westchester , Illinois located at 2501 South Wolf Road , (708) 562-2744 .   Lynette, a missionary in Albania , died of breast cancer in August. This memorial event coincides with the beginning of breast cancer awareness week.

Everyone who would like to attend is welcome.

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The Orthodox Christian Mission Center: Helping Orthodox Christians respond to Christ's call to preach, teach, baptize, minister to the poor and make disciples of all nations as the official international mission agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).

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