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OCMC Announces 2003 Mission Teams

St. Augustine, Fl -- The Orthodox Christian Mission Center announces the largest number of its scheduled short-term mission teams ever. A 25% increase of ten mission teams are planned for the summer of 2003.

In 2003 OCMC Mission Teams will teach, build, baptize, nurture and heal in local Orthodox communities around the world. Groups of 2 to 24 volunteers will donate their time, money and energy to witness the Orthodox Christian faith through a variety of activities. The trips will last from one to three weeks and will take place between mid-July and early October.

Projects range from building a church in Ghana, nurturing infants in Romania, caring for orphaned children in Guatemala and offering Medical assistance in Uganda. While all team volunteers will be witnessing the faith, some teams will focus primarily on teaching. Teaching teams to Alaska, India and Ghana will offer catechism classes, seminars, retreats and bible studies and will visit remote villages.

All short-term mission teams are made up of Orthodox Christian volunteers following in the footsteps of the saints who are ready and willing to share their faith. They are teachers, clergy, seminarians, youth workers, contractors, healthcare professionals, students and anyone willing to offer their skills and love to serve God by serving on a Mission Team in 2003.

The 2003 Mission Teams are:

* 4 teams to Alaska - This was the first land in North America to receive the fullness of the Gospel in the Holy Orthodox Faith. Today, however, the Alaskan Church and our Native American brothers and sisters face many hardships. Three volunteer teaching teams of 10 each will travel to remote villages in Alaska from 4 to 14 August 2003. Teams will focus on the Yukon, Kodiak Island, and Dilligham/Newhalen areas. Additionally a teaching team of six volunteers will go to Fairbanks, 13 to 21 September 2003 to work with University Students in the area.

* 2 to Ghana - At the request of His Grace Bishop PANTELEIMON, at least two teams will go to Ghana to aid in the growth of the Church. This is a wonderful opportunity to help our brothers and sisters in Christ where the Orthodox Church is still in its early stages of growth. There are two kinds of teams - evangelism and construction each composed of 8 ? 10 volunteers. The evangelism team will visit villages from 1 to 22 August where Orthodoxy has already been established as well as areas where the Faith has not yet taken hold. The evangelism team will be composed of 8 volunteers with a firm grasp of the Orthodox Faith but not necessarily catechists. The construction team consisting of 10 volunteers will work closely with local volunteers in the construction of a church and assist in local evangelistic efforts from 1-22 July 2003.

* Guatemala - The Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage, the only Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala, welcomes orphans and lost, abandoned and battered children from the streets of Guatemala City. The mission team to Guatemala, consisting of 24 volunteers, will take place from 12 July to 2 August 2003. Team members will assist in classroom activities and teach the children by sharing the richness of the Holy Orthodox Faith.

* Romania - 8 Volunteers are needed to assist long-term missionaries Craig and Victoria Goodwin at the newly established Protection of the Theotokos Infant and Maternal Center. The purpose of this center is to prevent child abandonment and to nurture the bond between mother and child (infants 0-24 months) discouraging abortion and abandonment while increasing strong family ties for infants. This team will travel 7 to 21 August 2003.

* Uganda - Health care professionals have always been an integral part of the holistic mission of the Orthodox Church. This mission team will consist of physicians, physicians' assistants, and nurses (RN and LPN). There is also need for a surgeon and a dentist at the main hospital, as well as a surgeon for basic medicine in some of the villages. A pharmacist would be useful managing the medications. Volunteers will treat mostly tropical diseases, e.g. malaria, leprosy, TB, as well as secondary infections from AIDS, general aches, pains and infections. Medical volunteers will work in pairs. Due to the heavy schedules of most health care professionals a schedule will be developed to allow for rotating replacement during a six-week period from 13 July to 23 August 2003.

* India - This unique team will travel to India in the footsteps of the Apostle Thomas who first brought the Gospel message to India. Due to local conditions and the nature of this trip, it is limited to members of the clergy who will serve as teachers and catechists alongside local clergy provide the sacraments. The region of India is Calcutta/Bengal, and the trip is from 8 September to 1 October 2003.

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), located in St. Augustine, Florida is the official mission and evangelism agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). OCMC proclaims and practices the evangelical imperative of the Orthodox faith based on the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who commissioned us to go "and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). OCMC recruits, trains and sends missionaries to preach, teach, baptize and to minister to the poor, hungry, sick, suffering and orphaned. The organization, therefore, support the development of indigenous leaders and strengthen the infrastructures of churches, especially in, though not limited to, countries where Christianity is a minority, thus creating vibrant, eucharistic Orthodox Christian communities throughout the world.

For more information contact The Orthodox Christian Mission Center at teams@ocmc.org or (904) 829-5132 or PO Box 4319, St. Augustine, FL, 32085. Team applications are on line at www.ocmc.org/teams/index or upon request by email or regular mail. Please indicate in requests the preference to receive the application by e-mail or regular mail.

By Albert H. Lee
chtoday_editor@chtoday.com