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.”

St. Irene Orthodox Mission Centre – Kenya “helps families to stand on their own.”

Listen to the video and learn of the plight of this family.  Learn also of their courage and faith and how they have turned to the Orthodox Church for help. Nine year old John goes to school at St Irene’s and hopes to be a Priest one day. He and his older brother Kariuki, are suffering and have difficulty standing because of their disability. Kariuki is 20 years and cannot stand at all on his own. John has trouble walking and gets discouraged. Having barely enough to eat, the weakness in their bodies is made manifest in their legs.

Recently Father Constantinos went to visit this disadvantaged family who was abandoned by their own father after he lost hope in being able to care for his family. This past year has been one of the worst droughts in the history of Kenya. This rather large family, with six children, has a hopeful Mother who goes out to gather firewood every day for other families to provide food for her own family. She hopes for Kariuki to be able to help also by learning some craft, while he sits hoping to overcome this helplessness and despair.

Several of the children, John, George and Kamau, all attend St. Irene’s School and know their help is in the LORD Jesus Christ. John, although very restless, has an infectious smile and loves to help make other people happy. His restlessness seems to come from his not being able to do what he needs to do. There are two other younger children who are too young for school now. St Irene’s Orthodox Mission School serves 110 children with meals and educational instruction, and learning about the original faith of the Apostles.

Fr. Constantinos and his team, who have the blessing of Orthodox Archbishop Makarios, will be visiting the family by the end of this month to offer food, clothing, blankets, shoes, basins, some good beds, a better wheel chair and medical care. Please walk with Fr. Constantinos on this journey of philanthropy by helping him to help these young children and know they are only one of about 25 other families that suffer similar difficulties. Our hope and prayer with Orthodox Africa is that at least 25 families will help another family from Kenya with a gift of any amount. It requires more than $250 a month to provide help for a family like this but with $7,500 we could help most all of the 25 families who are suffering as well.

Matthew 25:40 says: The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Please GIVE to St. Irene’s Orthodox Mission Center here.

If you cannot donate online and need a tax-deductible receipt from our 501(c)3  you can send a check to:

Orthodox Africa
5874 Orchard Hill Court.
Clifton, VA 20124 USA

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.

4 Chains, 12 Bells – What Is It?

Father Constantinos and Presbytera Triza are working towards St. Irene Orthodox Mission Center being self-reliant and self-sustaining; all with the purpose of following Jesus’ command in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, where He said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.  Orphaned and poor children are vulnerable to the evils in the world.  The first step of introducing these children to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is to feed and clothe them, provide them with clean drinking water and warmth, not just of body but of soul.

 

Education is one of the most important ways to raise a person out of poverty and hunger.  St. Irene Mission Center provides a well-rounded education to these vulnerable children infected and affected by HIV/AIDs who are under their care.  Raising them to be strong in the Lord gives the children the tools to be strong in their lives, no matter what happens to them.  In the following video, Fr. Constantinos teaches the children about the censer; its purpose and its symbolism.  Do you know what the four chains symbolize?  Listen and learn with the students.

Being strong in body is just as important as being strong in mind and heart.  In the following video, the children learn song and dance.  Join them in their physical education!

His Eminence, Archbishop Makarios, Metropolitan of Kenya, visited the orphanage and education center.  The joy and love of Christ he brings with him blesses us all.  In his message he spoke about the lack of rain and the food shortage in the area being a great concern of the Director, Father Constantinos.  Further, he commended 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.  His Eminence made a special request to all supporters to please share in the work by speaking with friends and neighbors and continuing with their regular donations.

His Eminence took time to speak to all of the children about God and His Love for them.

Consider being a partner with Father Constantinos and Presbytera Triza, helping them achieve the goals of St. Irene Mission Center by being a regular monthly donor?  Donate Now!

To subscribe to Orthodox Africa’s monthly newsletter, go 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!

To subscribe to Orthodox Africa’s monthly newsletter, go here!

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Stay current! Share the news with your friends and family! Put in your parish bulletin!  And remember….pray for us as we seek to carry out St. Matthew 25!

 

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 .

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.