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.
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.
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.
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.