Saint Barnabas Orphanage & School: Campaign followup

Saint Barnabas Mission: Service to Man is Service to God

The Saint Barnabas Mission in South Kinangop, Kenya was started in 2007 by Father Methodius and his wife Everlyn. They were eating lunch one day, and noticed three young children picking through scraps. They invited them over then to eat with them, and soon, feeding these children became a regular event for them. From this beginning, they began sharing what they had with other people in the area. They started to provide food and shelter for those who needed it, helping with what they could. To this day, they have helped more than 400 children in all. Currently, they have about 175 children who they help as much as they are able, though constant droughts have brought the region’s prices up. In order to meet the needs of the children, Father Methodius and his wife need to expand the Mission.

They have been leasing a property where they are unable to improve the current structure, making it difficult to make more space for their activities. They wish to have a less restricted place to teach the children, a place to worship, and a place for homeless children to live. The land they wish to get is four times larger than the current property and outside of the slums, making it a more suitable place for them to construct a new school, orphanage, and a proper chapel for the mission. There is even a possibility for them to create a kitchen garden for them to defray costs, a place where they may grow what they need.

By expanding the facilities, they hope to become a self-sustainable mission. The goal of the school is not only to provide a good general education to the children, but also to provide them with trade skills that will be in demand in the region. In this way, the children will have a better chance at becoming employed when they reach school-leaving age. The school hopes to be able to place their older students in jobs, a great help in a region where unemployment is high. The knowledge that they are learning not just academic facts, but facts that will ensure they have the skills to earn money and support themselves makes the Mission seem a haven to the children. The stability and comfort it provides make a great contrast to homes that are poor and have the added instability of addictions resulting from hopelessness.

The Saint Barnabas Mission gives comfort to those in need today as it has for others in the past: it will instill in the students a sense of hope for the future, beginning today. These goals can be accomplished with your help, and you can bring them to that brighter future. Service to man is service to God, and what we do for the least of these, we do for Christ Himself. Please be as generous as you can, for His Sake.  Donate here and select St. Barnabas Orphanage.

Saint Barnabas Orphanage & School: A Campaign for a Permanent Lunch Location

Saint Barnabas Orphanage and School give children a healthy start and a reflective journey of life while being nurtured into successful individuals. They are offered an opportunity for education while helping to protect them from unhealthy indulgences and corrosive contamination. By transforming the lives of these children, a stable base upon which they can be lifted to successful heights in life.

Founded in 2007 by Father Methodius and his wife, Everlyn, Saint Barnabas Orphanage started around a lunch table. While eating lunch at their home, Father Methodius observed three orphaned children who were eating scraps of food nearby. Feeling bad for them, they invited them in to have lunch with them. With that lunch, a tradition was born in which these children started to come to their house every day for lunch.

Father Methodius decided to hire a young woman to come and stay with these children in a rented room. There they could spend the day and play outside. Soon afterwards, Father Methodius and Everlyn learned of other needy children and orphans that were living in the area. They began to take in more and more children as they gained support from the Church and other well-wishers.

Today Saint Barnabas’s mission has 13 volunteers that are providing care for 175 children. Currently 12 boys live in a one-room shack. The remainder of children arrive on a daily basis for classes where they learn to read, write and arithmetic.

The Dream
Father Methodius and Everlyn would like to provide a home to 50 orphaned children. The current living situation cannot support that many children.   However, an opportunity has presented itself that can help them move to the first phase of the dream. A local couple can no longer live in the area due to wife’s poor health, which has been negatively affected by the weather conditions. On the recommendation of her doctor, she must move out the area. Knowing Fr. Methodius has been praying and looking for land on which to situate the orphanage and accommodate more children, she offered him the two acre property at far below what it is worth.

The Opportunity
The full market price of two acres of land with a house is $90,000 ($45,000 per acre). The owner is willing to sell the property for a total of:

$25,000

This opportunity is only available for a short time. It would allow them to double the number of children from its current 12 to 24. The home can easily house that many children. Twenty-four children who have no home, can have a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and a place to play and learn.

Won’t you please consider donating to Saint Barnabas Orphanage and School to help them achieve Phase One of their dream – A Campaign for a Permanent Lunch Location?

Watch the video to see the land and the home. Listen to Father Methodius’ speak of the possibilities and join in him furthering the mission of Saint Barnabas Orphanage and School.

To donate to A Campaign for a Permanent Lunch Location click here.

 

Kenya 2017 Update-2

Today at Saint Barnabas Orphanage and School we had the blessed pleasure of baptizing and welcoming eleven new Orthodox warriors into the Orthodox Church.  Of the eleven, two are teachers at the school and nine are students.

The newly illumined were as young as three years of age up to age 30.  Newly illumined Moses and Mercurius, who are twins, were sponsored by Kentigern and Barbara.  Newly illumined Stephen, Matthew and Irene were sponsored by regular supporters of Orthodox Africa.  I was blessed to sponsor newly illumined Isaac, James, Andrew, Joachim, Peter and Stephen.

May God grant these new Orthodox children of God many, many blessed years!

While it was a day full of joy, it was difficult to see the sadness in the eyes of a couple of the boys.  They have been crushed by life here in Kenya.  It is hard to see a child suffer.

I hope that through the prayers of their Godparents, our supporters, and their entrance into the One Holy Orthodox Church they will someday soon experience the joy that Christ offers to all of us despite the difficulties that we often experience.

Father Silouan

Kenya 2017 Update

After fifteen long hours of travelling, Father Silouan arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, May 11.  Met by Father Methodius (St. Barnabas Orthodox Orphanage & School) and Father Constantinos (St. Irene Orthodox Mission Center, Father Silouan was quickly whisked off to see the children who have been waiting and waiting to see him, one of their favorite people.

First stop was St. Barnabas where the children greeted him with smiles and hugs. “We are delighted to have him here,” said Father Methodius. Catechism classes were to be held the next day.

Next stop was St. Irene’s where Father Silouan and Father Constantinos shared serving meals to all the children.

In spite of the long flight, delays and tiredness, Father Silouan was as happy to see everyone as they were to see him, especially the children.

Keep Father Silouan in your prayers as he visits the various mission centers in coming months.

Donations to support any or all of the Orthodox Africa missions, please visit our donation page found by clicking here.

Seven Floors For Seven Classrooms

St. Innocent Academy in Tiriki, Kenya is full of laughter.  146 students between the ages of just two years old to eleven years old fill its seven classrooms, sitting four to a desk.  The temporary school building itself is made of corrugated steel, with dirt floors and no doors, yet for many of the students, this school, one of the poorest in Tiriki, is the closest thing they have to safety and security.  More than 60% of the children are orphans.

These children are among the most at-risk in the area.  They are at risk for disease, hunger, and poverty, and St. Innocent Academy represents their only way out.  Here, they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic.  Here, they are also fed two meals a day.  For many, the meals they get at St. Innocent’s are their only meals each day.  Many are so poor, they have no shoes.  This leads to a great problem with a very easy solution.
The problem is a parasitic disease called tungiasis or “jiggers.”  Tungiasis is caused by burrowing parasites called jigger fleas, which live in the dirt floors of the classrooms.  The barefoot students are the ideal hosts for these jigger fleas, which burrow into the children’s feet to lay their eggs.  This causes a painful infection and ulceration of the foot.  The swelling and the pain of the infection makes it difficult for the children to walk.  Attendance drops, and classroom performance falls.  When the children are not in school, they are at greater risk in the slums around them.  Again, there is an easy solution: Concrete floors.

Concrete floors prevent the fleas from burrowing into the children’s feet.  They are easily washed, preventing other diseases as well.  Each of the seven classrooms needs a concrete floor.  The cost of each floor is $143 USD.  That means for a total of $1,000 USD, the classrooms can be made safer for those children who are in such desperate need.

What can you do to help? Work has already begun.  The baby classroom has a new concrete floor, and, with your help, others will follow, hopefully in the next few weeks.  This is the first BIG fundraising goal for St. Innocent’s!  Donations have been received in the amount of $400 USD, which leaves only $600 USD remaining.  With your help, the students will have a safer school, free of burrowing parasites, and be able to get the education they need to rise out of poverty.  The laughter that is the sound of happy, healthy children will continue to be heard in the classrooms and playground of St. Innocent Academy.

TO DONATE: Please visit our donation page. Please be as generous as you can!  Remember, the solution is easy when people are generous!

 

-Victoria Marckx

St. Anthony’s Orthodox Church and St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church

Sunday, April 30, Father Silouan (Brown), Director of Orthodox Africa attended Divine Liturgy at St. Anthony’s Orthodox Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Following Divine Liturgy, at the invitation of Fr. Paul Coats, Assistant Priest, Father Silouan gave a brief presentation on Orthodox Africa, the mission and purpose, as well as telling the story of several missions.  Hearts were moved to donate approximately $400.

Thank you Fr. Paul and the faithful of St. Anthony’s Orthodox Church for hosting Father Silouan, and for your generous contribution.

Father Silouan’s next stop was St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Father Silouan was joined by OA Team Member Kent.  They met with the Mission Director of the parish ,Tim Klund, who was able to provide a lot of good advice.  They were blessed with several Holy Oil kits which Father Silouan will take with him to Africa during his next trip, which begins on May 9, 2017.

Thank you St. Nektarios for your generosity and time.

Join these parishes and donate to Orthodox Africa. Each dollar helps alleviate the burden on each mission.

Raising Awareness in Georgia

Sunday, April 23, 2017 Father Eugene (Antonov) and the faithful of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Cumming, Georgia hosted Father Silouan (Brown), Director and Maria Powell, Assistant Director of Orthodox Africa.  Following Divine Liturgy, Father Silouan and Maria were welcomed at the parish’s annual picnic at Mary Alice Beach Park.

Father Silouan was blessed to speak to everyone about the Mission of Orthodoxy in Africa which is to aid in connecting the Orthodox Church as one body, through the use of communication and partnering with properly vetted organizations, resulting in sustainable ministry.  Awareness of the Kenyan missions was raised by his presentation.  Though it was a rainy and cold day, a good time was enjoyed by everyone.

Thank you Father Eugene and faithful for welcoming us!  We look forward to another visit!

Photos by Father Deacon. Anton (Kouznetsov) and Barsanuphius Powell.

Together in Christ

It’s so cold! You hurry into your home, a plywood, barn-like structure, and sigh with gratitude that the wind is at least cut off even if you still have to wear your hat and coat. At least it is better than sleeping in the cold, garbage‑strewn streets of Kibera slums outside where some of the others have to find what shelter they can, wherever they can so that they do not freeze to death overnight. You might ruefully smile to yourself if you knew that many people do not know that Kenya gets so cold during the winter. Rumbling. Just your stomach.

You are a growing 9‑year‑old boy. There is no money for more food. They feed you what they can. They have so many kids to take care of but you are glad you have more than you used to, at least. And good friends too. They live with you in the plywood room, sleeping in metal‑framed bunk beds. At least you are together.

“Together” is a word we do not take for granted in the Orthodox Church. In our theology, we recognize the concept of the old Russian saying that we are “Saved together, but damned alone.” Even the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—exist in community undivided! This is an icon and pattern for our own existence. We were never created to be alone, cut off from the community of others – none of us. Taking this concept in hand, Orthodox Africa has partnered with several nascent Orthodox missions near and in Nairobi, Kenya, to assist them in spreading the Gospel of Christ. As we are meant to be the hands and feet of Christ on Earth, we take this responsibility of “together” very seriously. Recently, our own Father Silouan (Brown), a monk in the ROCOR, left for the unknown and followed God’s command to spend a month in Kenya seeing how our Kenyan Orthodox brothers and sisters in these missions live day to day, what their greatest needs are, and how we at Orthodox Africa can be of the greatest service in helping them become self-sustaining groups. One of the greatest delights Father Silouan had not long after his arrival was attending the baptism of eleven people into the Orthodox Church! He was asked to be godfather of six of the children, including Panteli, the infant son of one of the Kenyan priests!

They are singing a song as you walk around the baptismal font. You like to sing in church about Jesus. This is a song you did not know before: “As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ! Alleluia!” You were told that this song is from the Bible: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29, Berean Study Bible).

No matter how far or near we are in distance physically, spiritually, we are all one in Christ. And we are all humans together. There are myriad opportunities to be a part of community in our parishes, neighborhoods, and families. This is an opportunity to extend the concept of community to those who are geographically removed in utterly destitute circumstances. This can be through prayer,  or financial contributions  when team missions are ready (more about that in the near future), sharing the information on your social media, and telling your friends, family, and parishes about the work Orthodox Africa is doing in support of these missions. Please remember, we are all in it together!
With love and gratitude in Christ’s service,
The Team at Orthodox Africa +