Land!

Every child in the world has a dream, a secret wish – to have something special, maybe a pony or a race car. Perhaps a child dreams of going to see the ocean or the desert. Many children dream of having a permanent home where food is readily available on a daily basis, where they are dry and warm, where there is someone to kiss them goodnight as they tuck them into bed. Even adults have dreams – to be successful, to be free of pain or hurt, to have no debt or to give their child their secret wish. This week a dream came true for Father Methodios, the Director of Saint Barnabas Orphanage and Education Center.

He has long dreamed of a permanent home for the orphans of Saint Barnabas. A piece of property large enough to house the orphans, one with water and electricity, enough land so the children have room to run and play, a place to build more dormitories and classrooms to house and teach more children.

This week that dream came true. Because of the generosity of Orthodox Africa donors, Father Methodios put a down payment on one (1) acre of land with one-half acre also available immediately. It has everything he dreamed of; buildings that are included in the purchase (but are temporary). The condition is not bad in comparison with the current living conditions. Minor repairs are required. A major drainage trench needs to be dug. A borehole (well)

for water (cost: $20,000) will need to be drilled before moving the children to the property.

“Enlarging the Land” Benefits All*

The benefits of owning land far outweigh the benefits of not.  Currently, St. Irene’s Orthodox Mission Center pays rent for the small portion of land they use.  The structures in which the children learn and live are constructed for temporary usage.  Water must be brought in.

It would allow the Mission Center to put a solid roof on each building rather than the current tin.  When it rains, the sound of it hitting the tin is quite loud.  That kind of atmosphere is not conducive to a good learning environment and is quite distracting.  Teachers must raise their voices to be heard, if they can be heard at all.  Children cannot think clearly for the pounding above their heads.  As Fr. Silouan said, “A solid roof would immensely improve the learning environment.”

Dormitories can be built for the children to live in and a residential area for guests are included in the plans.  A well can be dug to provide water!

Most importantly, it will bring about the sense of permanency, something these children do not have in their lives now.  With joint ownership between the Archdiocese and Orthodox Africa, the parish would remain intact should the priest be transferred to serve another parish.  This ensures the children a permanent home and education center until adulthood.

Donate to this worthy cause and may God multiply your gift.  Mark your donation “St. Irene Enlarging the Land.”

*This article first appeared on Orthodox Africa June 4, 2017

The Sun and the Rain

The Book of Proverbs chapter 22 says, “Rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the Maker of them all.” The sun shines and rain pours equally on our heads. We breathe the same air. These blessings are freely given to us by god and we share them without really giving much thought to it. However, do we do the same with the things that we do not equally share, such as food, money, clothing, housing and other tangible things?

St. John Chrysostom says, “…if money were common and available to all, there would be no opportunity for generosity on the part of the rich and gratitude on the part of the poor.” One could suggest his thought is based solidly on St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians where he wrote, “Generosity inspires gratitude, and gratitude inspires generosity. God is generous to us and our generosity, as St. Paul tells us, gives proof of our gratitude towards God” (9:11).

Generosity is defined as “liberality in giving or willingness to give.” God created us in His Image, a very generous gift to each person. How have we expressed our gratitude? Have we given of ourselves and of the blessings He has bestowed on us?

Remember Saint Barnabas Orphanage and Education Center. Donate towards their long term goals here, or to their immediate needs on their website. Be generous and teach the virtue of gratitude to another.

Encouragement, Engagement, Outcome: St. John Maximovitch Secondary School

One of the long term goals of Orthodox Africa is to foster engagement in our missions, their children, families and staff so they are inspired and encouraged to get involved in the building up Our most Holy Orthodox Faith and develop a hope for a future beyond even Our own lifetimes.

To the end the priests of the Nairboi Board of Directors are not solely interested in seeing individual missions developed, but to build mission programs that will have a larger impact on the Diocese and the country. The goal for Orthodox Africa is to instruct the missions to become self-sustaining. How do we see this unfolding? By establishing the St. John Maximovitch Secondary School so they will begin to establish their self-sufficiency.

In his June 2, 2015 article Education in Kenya Nick Clark, Editor, of World Education News & Reviews said,

In 2008, the government of Kenya instituted a free secondary education for all programs. Between 2003 and 2012, the secondary gross enrollment ratio increased from 43 percent to 67 percent, as graduates from the new free primary program moved their way through the system.

Nonetheless, much progress in educational quality and access remains to be made in Kenya. In 2010, one million children were still out of school, and while this was almost half the number in 1999, it is still the ninth highest of any country in the world.

Orthodox primary schools for children from age 3 to 11 establishes a good foundation of learning for a child. The child learns to read, write and do arithmetic; as well as, learns self-discipline, how to work hard towards a goal and to manage their time. They are also given the opportunity to learn about the Orthodox Christian Faith, again, establishing a foundation on which they can stand as they encounter what the winds of life bring them. St. Barnabas Orphanage and Education Center and St. Irene Mission Center provides this foundational education.

As adolescents, children will encounter messages that are opposite of the Orthodox Faith, messages that seek to draw them away from the One True Church. Building up their most Holy Faith is very important. The nurturing of the St. John Maximovitch Secondary School will continue to solidify the foundation on which they stand and will give them a firm footing to resist that which will try to pull them away. This secondary school will give the children ages 12 to 18 from St. Barnabas, St. Irene and other children, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox from all over the Diocese and Kenya, more educational knowledge to further encourage them in life.

We can give to many worthy things in life.  As we endeavor to build up Orthodox Africa by establishing the St. John Maximovitch Secondary School in Kenya, we ask you to consider this worthy project with your support.  Please donate to Orthodox Africa by clicking here and mark your donation “St. John Maximovitch Secondary School.”

Every Penny Counts

When I see a child whose pants don’t cover thin legs & ankles, whose toes have worn through their shoes, or whose skin is chapped and dry from the cold, my heart aches. My mind turns towards a way to help.

There are many charitable organizations to which a person can donate. A good question to ask is “How much of my donation goes to administrative costs?”  It is said less than 25% spent on administrative costs is a good goal.

How much of your dollar donated to St. Barnabas Orphanage & Education Center goes towards providing for the need of a child?

Director, Father Methodius Kariuki, assures his donors that more than 94 percent of every dollar raised fully benefits the child.

  • 94% – Food, clothing, educational resourcess and salaries for caretakers
  • 6% – PayPal & Bank transaction fees

As much as they are able, local community services help with maintenance or construction needs.  Their local neighbors help where they can, sharing food stuffs, fuel, wood, etc.

Father Methodios assures every donor, “We do not have any irrelevant costs. We have no hidden agenda. We are Orthodox Christians and are fully Pro-Life.” Transparency and honesty are of utmost importance. This builds trust in our relationship with, not only our donors, but with our caretakers and teachers. It models the Christian virtues for our children.

What more can a donor ask for in an age that does not value these things? Donate now to St. Barnabas Orphanage and Education Center. Every penny really does count.

On Helping a Mission

People ask, “how can we help Father Christopher on Bukasa Island?” The easy answer is to send money so that the great work he started can be completed. But that is not the only way. Do you have skills in building? Carpentry? Icon painting? Anything which can be used to finish the external work of the Annunciation Orthodox Church. Can you volunteer? Set aside a few weeks and after having made contact with Father Christopher, go and visit him. When you stand there in front of the temple he has been building since 1984, your heart will soften, tears will come to you, and you will pray so deeply.


Hold a fundraiser, show photographs from Orthodox Africa and TearsontheEquator.com. Look at your own luxury and pray that Father and his Holy flock have the basics of life. Everything is needed—especially prayer. Ask yourself what can I sacrifice for my brothers in Africa?
“Father, I don’t know how to build walls,” then Christopher told me in 1984. I answered, “but God knows and He will show you.” In obedience and Faith he began to build walls, and arches, and make blocks out of termite poo—yes termite poo. You can learn more about how you can step out in faith just as Father Christopher did many years ago and yourself become an integral part of the Orthodox Mission in Uganda.

Bishop Athanasius (Akunda) and Father Silouan visit Bishop Athanasius Secondary School

On June 8th, in a whirlwind visit, Fr. Silouan and His Grace Bishop Athanasius visited the students and teachers of the Bishop Athanasius Secondary School of Mugen, located in the Nandi Region of Western Kenya. Teachers and students welcomed His Grace and Father with traditional African songs and dances, communicating their commitment to educating their people. As Julius Kiprotich, seminarian and Teacher shared, “Education is the key to our success.”

The teachers and students were delighted to take His Grace and Father around the school compound and to show them their classrooms, as well as the water tank that was recently gifted to the school by Orthodox Africa and their generous donors. This water tank allows them to collect and store rainwater for domestic use, including drinking water and water for cooking.

This resource allows them to manage when they experience African dry spells.

Later, Father Silouan sat with the students and teachers, encouraging them in their studies and in their faith. Julius Kiprotich, reported that since Father’s visit the school has had an increase in enrollment. When asked what it was that was so inspiring to students, Julius shared, “It’s rare here to see a white person with whiskers.”  Perhaps it was his “whiskers” and smile, or maybe it was his inspiring words.  However, by the Grace of God, the school is in need of additional classrooms including a science and computer lab, in order to accommodate the increase in students and the educational aspirations of this beautiful community.

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Thank You, for your support of Orthodox Africa.  Being in partnership with faithful partners like yourself makes an eternal difference in the lives of many people that will last for many generations after we are all gone.