“…if You are real, then not much else matters.”

This last line of a poem written by a non-believing young man over 50 years ago is the leaping off point of the book Tears on the Equator: Muzungu.  Written by Gerasimos Kambites, this book chronicles this Greek-Canadian man through his life and eventual time on Bukasa Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda and the establishment of Annunciation Orthodox Church.

As a muzungu (white man) married to a native Bukasa Island woman named Sarah, whom he met while at Brookline Massachusetts’ Hellenic College, Gerasimos began a journey of “discovering the amazing treasure of Orthodoxy, which had always been at [his] very feet” and serving God as a mission priest and medical doctor on the other side of the world.

Each chapter unfolds a story of frustration, joy, anger, laughter, sorrow, gladness, fear, calm, a struggle of faith and the dawn of renewed faith.  A medical clinic was established, a school built, and stone by stone an Orthodox temple grew, all in the midst of the AIDS crisis, civil war and racial intolerance.

Gerasimos’ brother-in-law, Father Christopher Walusimbi, eventually finished building Annunciation Orthodox Church stone by stone; however, not before caring for the many AIDS orphans for 17 years.  The temple exterior is complete with the familiar flame of the Holy Spirit atop the building. The roof leaks.  The interior is incomplete.

Repairs to the boat that Father Christopher uses for his transportation service are nearly done.  Read about that here .   Life vests need to be purchased for the boat for safety.  Most importantly, to continue the mission work at Annunciation Orthodox Church, several young men are thinking about attending Seminary with an eye towards ordination, God willing.

Help him continue this vital mission work by marking your Orthodox Africa donation “Annunciation O.C.”

You can also purchase a copy of Tears on the Equator: Muzungu through Amazon Smile and choose Orthodox Africa as your supported charity.  Not only will 100% of proceeds go to Annunciation Orthodox Church, Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Orthodox Africa!  A double gift!

Bishop Athanasius Secondary School is Growing

With a growing student body, and even more new students registered to begin next term, Bishop Athanasius Secondary School continues to grow, feeding the children who are thirsty for knowledge. Such growth is truly a blessing from God, though requires tremendous labor. During the past month, the construction of a new classroom has begun, giving hope to the school that they will have the space to accommodate their students.

This construction project requires commitment and hard work. Tractors transport the concrete, bricks, and sand while donkeys endure the weight. With the materials available, all have been working tirelessly, and are eager to complete the project which is currently half-way there. While the school waits for the replenishment of materials, they give thanks for their progress and pray for the support, love and prayers of their brothers and sisters in Christ in order to carry on. It is through the funds raised by Orthodox Africa that they have been able to take on such a project.

Building this additional classroom will give the students the environment they need in which to learn, an environment that will allow them the flourish in all areas of the curriculum; sciences, humanities, languages and religious studies.

He adds, “The school is a garden and the teacher is a Gardner and a student is a tender plant, therefore the teacher provides manure and water to the tender plant for the plant to does work of growing if the land is already there. The classroom is one of the learning tools as it provides the necessary environment for the learner.”

Julius and the teachers are making such sacrifices, and request your help to ensure that they have a classroom in order for the new students to begin school.

Saint Innocent Academy: Enlightening the Nandi youth with the light of Truth.

Christ the Redeemer, the Lover of mankind, the Giver of Life continues to prevail at Saint Innocent’s Academy.

St. Innocent is clearly with the people and makes his presence known to us through the many blessings our people are experiencing and in particular, the growing number of students attending classes at the Academy. Our dedicated teachers work tirelessly, ensuring that each student is challenged and provided with a rigorous education; one that is competitive with the many surrounding schools in the area.

As we finish the fifth week of the academic school year, students have started exams and continue to show evidence of success in their studies. This success is the promise of a better life, and provides the hope for the many teachers and families making sacrifices on behalf of the students at St. Innocent’s Academy.

The director of the school however, continues to feel the great burden that comes with the responsibility of paying his teachers a salary when there isn’t any money to do so. Due to limited resources and funds, salaries have been delayed several weeks, and teachers are suffering. Such a burden calls us to ask you for your support.

Our teachers cannot be overlooked. Not only do they deserve their wages, but they must receive them in order for them to meet their own basic needs and in order for St. Innocent’s Academy to continue educating the growing student population.

We urge you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to give what you can in order for us to continue this God inspired work and in order to serve the Nandi people. We pray that your prayers and donations will bring many blessings from our Savior.  Donate here.

For the Sake of a Big Mac or Tall Latte

The director of St. Irene Orthodox Mission and Orphanage, Father Constantinos, was the youngest of eight children. By the time he was 12 years old his father had died leaving his widowed mother to raise her eight children alone. She was, and is, a loving Orthodox mother, who did her utmost to raise her children in the One True Faith. These circumstances brought about hardship and poverty. By the Grace of God Father Constantinos completed his secondary and tertiary education, studied at Makarios III Seminary was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. The love and passion Father Constantinos has for the children of St. Irene Orthodox Mission and Orphanage was forged in the fire of his harsh childhood.

The children of St. Irene live a life that is as harsh as Father Constantinos’ was. One quarter of the children are orphans who depend on him for everything.

Currently Father Constantinos is running the One-Dollar-A-Day-Program, which is a way to provide food, medical care, clothing and education for one child for one day. If you gave up one Starbucks Tall Café Latte (cost $3.45) one child would have all needs covered for three days! If you gave up one McDonald’s Big Mac Hamburger (cost $4.67) one child would have all needs covered for four days! The average cell phone bill is $144 per month. Imagine how many children could be cared for with that amount donated to St. Irene’s!

Please consider supporting the One-Dollar-A-Day-Program at St. Irene Orthodox Mission Mission and Orphanage.

This child says “Thank you!”

 

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.

A Letter From A Student At Saint Innocents Academy 08/05/2017

This month, Orthodox Africa is proud to present a look at Saint Innocent’s Academy written by one of the primary school students that directly benefits from your continual support. Now with very little grammatical editing we present to you….. Note: All Edits will appear in (brackets)

A Letter From A Student:

St Innocents Chajo Academy 08/05/2017

I love st innocent so much. Because our teachers teach us very good. Then we do their work that teachers gives us and we do in hardworking and we are very displeen (disciplined)

In st innocent the environment is very clean and there is a small field that pupils go to play there games. The school chajo was start in 2011. In 2011 the school was very far because you cross a small stream. We learn that school up to 2012 we came to house of our director: That house was two rooms only. The old director build one room only then the school has three classes it was baby, middle and pre-unit.

After one year our director built standard one then pupils work very hard. Then in end of term one we do zonal (finals). Then our results came we were number four out of twenty-six schools. Then after one year director built standard two then a visitor from America came to our school he bring us pictures of Jesus. I thank Father Johna (Jonah) because he brought has frome small school to big school of hardworking pupils and improve as frome one room to many rooms that is more than five rooms. I thank my teacher who is called Miss Nelly. She is a good teacher. Because she teaches me from top class to standard four. I love that teacher very  much. We shall never forget her. Another teacher teache as from standard two up to now. He is a games teacher because he teach as then we go up to Serem. Our pupils run from Chepkuny to Serem. They fail in Serem. We love our school because (our) teachers teach us very good and in our classes everybody sit very comfortable and every class have blackboard and desks.

In teaching teachers teach pupils very hardwork and when it is zonals (finals) we are number four and lazy pupils in school teaches us to pull up our socks. I thank our teachers because they call our neighbor to cook some food at school. I want to say one idea it about breakfast. My school wants breakfast in ten oclock we want to drink tea and bread everyday. I want to tell father silvanoes (Father Silouan) to give us some money to buy milk, sugar and bread.

You can help us make this child’s wish come true, with your help we can buy some milk sugar and bread so that the kids do not have to go hungry during their school day. By going to this page www.orthodoxafrica.org /st-innocent-academy/ you will learn more about Saint Innocents Academy and will be able to make a donation that will got directly to nurturing these children both physically and spiritually.

Robinson Cheruiyot , is a 10 year old Orphan and is exceedingly bright in academics.

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!

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