Prayer is the light of the soul

“There is nothing more worthwhile than to pray to God and to converse with him, for prayer unites us with God as His companions. As our bodily eyes are illuminated by seeing the light, so in contemplating God our soul is illuminated by Him. Of course, the prayer I have in mind is no matter of routine, it is deliberate and earnest. It is not tied down to a fixed timetable; rather it is a state which endures by night and day.”

By the grace of God Saturday, 22 July, 2017, we received two cartons full of textbooks.  This was a donation from a local private school which is 300 km away from St. Barnabas.  Join us in a thanksgiving prayer to God for them.

On 28 July 2017, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, Metropolitan of Kenya visited our orphanage and education center.  The joy and love of Christ he brings with him blesses us all.  In his message he spoke about the good work being done in educating the children not only with regular classes but, more so, with the spiritual teachings and food given by the Grace of God.  Further, His Eminence made a special request to all supporters to please share the good news of the work being done at St. Barnabas with friends and relatives so that it may continue.  The food situation is dire in the area due to lack of rain for the crops.  Calling the teachers “heroes” Archbishop Makarios commended them for their dedication and diligence to the work of the mission.  “The children are happy,” he said.  A good sign of the work being accomplished at St. Barnabas Orphanage and Education Center.

View the full video below:

The children at St Barnabas Orphanage and School depend upon your generosity. Please don’t forget them. Any donation you are able to make helps. To donate click here or here.

 

Back in the Boat on Bukasa Island

Fr. Christopher Walusimbi, Rector of Annunciation Orthodox Church operates a boating transportation service from Bukasa Island, Lake Victoria to the mainland city of Kampala.  This service is a main source of income and provides some economic stability for his family and mission.  For the last several months, the boat engine has been inoperable.  Repairing it was impossible.

We are very happy to share the joyous news that Fr. Christopher was able to purchase a new engine for the boat.  Along with new wood to do additional repairs, he anticipates having a water-worthy vessel shortly.

Because of your generous support, he was able to buy the engine and wood.

Please continue your generous support of Annunciation Orthodox Church, Orthodox Africa and all our missions.  Donate Now!

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A dream – a working life

What began as a dream to build a school, clinic, and church on Lake Victoria’s Bukasa Island, has turned into a lifetime of hard work for Father Christopher Walusimbi, the builder of the stone Annunciation Orthodox Church.
“My brother,” he told me, three years ago at my youngest daughter’s wedding, “ you have put me in prison,” he said referring to his commitment to build an Orthodox community on the most pagan island in Lake Victoria.
With prayer, his community grows. Yet despite his serious efforts at being self-sustaining by growing oranges and running a small store, as well as operating a transport service which includes emergency trips across forty miles of fierce water to a hospital on Uganda’s mainland, despite all this, he needs our help. The boat needs repairs and the 40 horsepower outboard motor needs replacing with a new one. “Now I am borrowing someone’s engine, but they are not happy with it.”
Only recently with Father Silouan’s trip to Bukasa Island has Father Christopher obtained a smart phone, so now communication will be a lot easier.
In the thirty years since I started that mission, Father Christopher has done a hundred times more work than I ever did—you can read all about this at my website,”tearsontheequator.com”. If you are so moved by the sample chapters, you may purchase an e-book or paper copy of Tears On the Equator.

Orthodox Africa has committed to helping Annunciation Orthodox Church. In addition to reading about it in the book mentioned above, more information can be found here.

Prayer and financial support will allow him to preach the Gospel and continue his works of mercy across the Lake. Keep Father Christopher and Annunciation Bukasa in your serious heartfelt prayers.
Plan a pilgrimage to Bukasa Island. The Church needs skilled workers such as carpenters, masons, and iconographers. Most of all, such a pilgrimage requires humility so that you, the pilgrim, can acquire all the benefits of the spiritual life. You will learn much more by visiting the house which faith has built.
To donate to Annunciation Orthodox Church, visit our Donate Now! page or click here. Clearly mark your donation “Annunciation O.C.”
~Gerasimos Kambites
The video below will give you a first hand view of this beautifully built church and Fr. Christopher.

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Students Entertain Visitors

During Orthodox Africa Director, Father Silouan’s visit to Bishop Athanasios Secondary School this past June, the students provided entertainment for him and other esteemed guests of whom His Grace, Bp. Athanasios Akunda, Bishop of Kisumu and all of Western Kenya was one.

 

The group was introduced by school principal, Mr. Stanley Kirui.

 

Student Body Grows; Another Classroom Needed

Mr. Julius Kiprotich

This week’s feature post is a short interview with Julius Kiprotich, one of the teachers at Bishop Athanasius Secondary School of Mugen. The school is located in Nandi county, Aldai region, Mugen Zone in Mugen Village. It is ten kilometers from the main road of Kisumu –Eldoret.

We understand that Bishop Athanasius Secondary School needs another classroom. Would you please tell our readers why there is that need?

By the Grace of God, the school has been a conducive environment for learning. There is an increase enrollment of students due to the good results posted by the students in the last term examination. This has pleased many guardians, so they wish to enroll their students in this school. The number has increased so much the students have been in a temporary classroom. That is not conducive to learning and attentiveness because whenever it rains students and their work gets splashed with water because windows and door s are open. The dirt floor requires students to clean and sweep to prevent jiggers. It is a waste of study time as they are supposed to be taught and not concentrating on sweeping.

This classroom will be constructed alongside the other classroom as preferred by the architecture to ease the movement of teachers and students.

The school is for both boys and girls?

Yes, the school is for both boys and girls. The aim and objective of establishing the school was to make sure that there is an enlightenment in the society. This will only be fulfilled through education for both genders. Education has underpinned civilization and there is a need for accepting it in the society. The Board considers the school as the best place for nurturing the talents of the students and realization of the dreams, through good morals and spiritual growth.

How many graduates, if any, go on to university?

The school is privileged to have candidates this year 2017 as their first students to sit for the placement test to tertiary education. The statistics carried out recently by the teachers report that according to the performance based on the continuous assessment tests they have been doing monthly, there is probability that 80% will be able to join tertiary education through colleges and universities and the remaining 20% will join vocational/technical schools for further studies.

The competition between boys and girls is equal as both students were placed by the similar rank of class during admission.

Thank you, Mr. Kiprotich, for taking time to tell us about Bp. Athanasius Secondary School.  To read further details about the school go here .

Progress at St. Innocent Academy

St. Innocent Academy has seen much progress in the last few weeks! Glory to God!

Through the hard work of many people, the concrete floors in the classrooms are complete.  Now the staffroom is under construction with concrete floors being laid also.

Our school students are studying hard.

From ages 2 to 5 years, children are taught the very basics; what their name is, writing numbers, how to correctly hold a pencil, learning the alphabet and the sounds associated with each letter and singing.

Children in lower elementary school, Standard 1 to 3, follow a curriculum called Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE).  They are taught the basics of how to read, write, memorize and dictation.

The Standard 4 and 5 students study the same subjects according to the Kenyan elementary schools, which includes English, Mathematics, Religious Studies, Social Studies and Kiswahili (also known as Swahili, the Bantu language, the first language of the Swahili people).

The Standard 4 and 5 students recently took their mid-term examinations, of which there were two.  Despite numerous challenges, they emerged among the best pupils in the zone.  Overall, they ranked 4th among the best schools. Everyone is very proud of them and their achievement. The teachers are happy for the good grades their pupils are getting because of their sacrifice and dedication to their studies.  They are pledging that at the end-of-term examination they will emerge the best through the prayers of the Patron Saint of our academy, Saint Innocent.

Please join us in that prayer!

 

Rainforest

“Quick! Bukasa Island! What comes to mind?”

Rain forest

The sound of blessed silence. Monkeys quietly chittering. Parrots cawing somewhere in a far away tree. The wind as it rustles through the trees. Holy silence. This monastic silence was quite welcome.

It gives one a deep joy to float to the middle of Lake Victoria to see, out of seemingly impenetrable rainforest, a Russian onion dome appear over the top of the trees. In this unforgiving land where there are no modern conveniences, for the last 32 years Orthodox faithful have built a church, one rock at a time. Even at times carrying those rocks on their – several kilometers – one rock at a time. This church has truly been built on the Rock of Christ as evidenced by the slow, painful obedience and faith that these Orthodox people and priest have shown as together they raise a great Light to dispell the dark cloud of animistic paganism.

This joy permeated my heart through my fever ridden time due to malaria. Though difficult, it is good to have the pride of body broken. Thanks be to God for the doctor from another island who confirmed everyone’s suspicions and recommend treatment. Thanks be to God for those who helped care for me during the time of illness. By everyone’s prayers I managed my way through Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

My time with Fr. Christopher and Matushka Maria Walusimbi, and the faithful of Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church comes to an end. It has been a blessed time. Fr. Christopher was in tears when I told him of the support and love from all of the faithful supporters of Orthodox Africa.

Let’s join these faithful people, letting them know they are not alone in their prayer and ministry on Bukasa Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda. Join me and put your hands on the lighthouse that shines a spiritual light to many generations of people who have been born under the demonic cloud of pagan darkness.

Read about Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church here. Donate to Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church here.

~Fr. Silouan

Concrete Flooring Being Installed

St. Innocent Academy’s plea for help has been answered.  Glory to God!

In the May 9, 2017 article Seven Floors for Seven Classrooms, readers learned of the need for concrete floors to prevent jigger infections in the feet of students and responded to the call.  Enough donations have been received so that concrete has been purchased and two of seven floors have been installed.

The remaining classrooms are in process of receiving concrete floors.  The anticipated completion date is the end of June.

In the mean time, students are meeting outside of the classroom while the floors are being laid.

Thank you to each person who donated to this project.  It is much appreciated!