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 +

Drought crisis continues – Impact is high

In its 27 February, 2017 Press Release, the Kenya Meteorological Department of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources indicated that the outlook for the seasonable long rains in March-April-May is not good and depressed rainfall will continue.  This is expected over the most of the country and especially the eastern regions.

The impact on agriculture will continue to be severe.  The press release said, “Food security is expected to deteriorate over most parts of the country and more so the northern areas of Kenya.”  Increased malnutrition, cholera, and malaria are possible.  A fourteen year old girl died and “115 hunger stricken villagers” (Daily Nation) were taken ill after a meal of dead camel meat after not having eaten in several weeks.

How is this impacting our Missions?

“By God’s grace and mercy, our missions are not experiencing starvation,” said Fr. Silouan (Brown), Director and Chairman of the Board of Orthodox Africa.  However, “with inflation hitting an 11-month high at 6.9%” (Daily Nation) the cost of food is astronomical.

How can you help?

First of all, pray.  Prayer is key to all help from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  During this Lenten period, as you fast and give alms, consider donating to Orthodox Africa.  Every dollar helps alleviate the burden of each mission.

-Athanasia Ellmore


Sources: 

Republic of Kenya-Min. of Environment & Natural Resources-State Dept. of Environment-Kenya Meteorological Dept., Reference # KMD/FCST/5-2017/SO/01.  13 February 2017.

Andae, Gerald. Expect Less Rain This Year, Met warns.  Daily Nation, 24, February 2017, p 11.

How Can You Be A Missionary?

Have you ever wondered how you can help the poor and the needy, even when you are so busy with everyday life?
At Orthodox Africa we have answered this question by identifying Orthodox Missions in Africa that are even today serving some of the poorest of the poor people in the world. In July our director, Father Silouan, had the privilege of visiting all of the missions that are now featured on our website. We have independently verified the good work that they are doing, and today we are inviting you to help us help build the Church in Kenya. The donation that you make today will go directly to fulfilling Christ’s command to “clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit widows”. – Matthew 25:31-46

Saint John Chrysostom on Caring for the Orphans and Widows

“If you ever wish to associate with someone, make sure that you do not give your attention to those who enjoy health and wealth and fame as the world sees it, but take care of those in affliction, in critical circumstances, who are utterly deserted and enjoy no consolation. Put a high value on associating with these, for from them you shall receive much profit, and you will do all for the glory of God. God himself has said: I am the father of orphans and the protector of widows” (Psalm 67:6).
~St. John Chrysostom

What Orthodox Africa Is All About in Video

On October 16th 2016,

Father Silouan, Metropolitan Jonah, Andrea and a few of our local supporters conducted our first Orthodox Africa Parish Presentation at Saint John the Baptist ROCOR Cathedral in Washington DC. We are very grateful to the parishioners of Saint John’s especially their rector Father Victor for their hospitality prayers and support of the Orthodox Church in Kenya.

You can watch the presentation here

 

Saint Basil the Great On Those Who Are Destitute

When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.
+St Basil the Great


Support our mission here.