The Orthodox Mission to the islands of the Pacific Ocean that our Church is serving continues with the Grace of God. The harvest is plentiful and the Lord’s workers are only few. But in every case, God’s presence is evident, the miracles never cease to encourage us to carry on.
First, we want to thank all of you for your prayers for the Ierapostole here in the Pacific. Many of you have sent cards and messages, made video calls and found ways to send your greetings through social media. Each time we hear from you it is a breath of fresh air, and we are very grateful.
The last year was very busy and it felt like reopening of the Mission after the long time of lockdowns and restriction to travel. For the new workers in field of the mission the period of previous several months, as they would jokingly call “mission bootcamp”, was challenging because they had so much to learn in such a little time.
“The cultural and personal challenges have been more than we expected, but along with the difficulties come huge blessings. The overarching lesson (the meta-lesson, you could say) is the need to keep a level head when we are stressed or when things seem to be more hectic than we’re used to, and before doing anything, to pray.
We are often reminded that every time we start to feel overwhelmed: “Keep your peace, keep your peace.” If we allow stress, anxiety or anger to influence our decision making – especially in difficult situations – we are not really helping others. In fact we will more likely contribute to the unrest.”
“It is easy to get caught in the cycle of responding to emergencies with brute force and adrenaline – in the world that seems to work. But here (and everywhere, really), the only solution that works consistently is to keep our peace, pray, and watch God intervene with solutions we never could have imagined.
It is really a different way of approaching life – an ecclesiastical way – in which we do everything according to the knowledge and experience of the Church first, and then we rely on our practical knowledge and experience to carry out our work. We are trying to establish the habit of making prayer our first response to each and every issue presented to us, and the more we do it the more peace enters into our community.”
“Our attention thus far has centered on the needs of St. Tabitha Children’s Home and the parish of the Sacred Church of the Holy Trinity where we live. Thankfully, other full-time volunteers have begun to arrive and are finding their places within the mission here, and their presence alone is a great comfort to us, as well as the relief that comes from having others take on some of the duties which have been challenging for us. It also frees us up to consider whether we might be able to assist with the many needs of the other mission sites and projects.”
Indeed, a new page is opened and the Mission continue growing. In Fiji in the last year so many good things happened. Beside the numerus baptisms and ordination of a new priest, two young women were sent to Greece to the Monastery in Tinos, also we extended the orphanage with additional rooms and covered veranda, we have built the two story building with seven rooms, office and archondariki near the church of the Holy Trinity, we have purchased new vehicles for both Islands, and also continue our philanthropic programs among the most poor and sick.
We pray that God will send the much needed people as well as resources to further and support His Apostolic Ministry in the South Pacific. There are so many needs, here are just the immediate:
- in Sabeto, Fiji – Reconstruction of the roof of the mission headquarters. (we need engineers, builders electricians, painters)
- In Saweni, Fiji – Financial support to continue running, the sensitive and to everyone dear part of the mission, the St. Tabitha Orphanage.
- In Fiji – Secure regular financial support for to the local priests.
- In Labasa, Fiji – Building of the new church for the parish on the second island of Fiji (Vanua Levu) which is bursting out of its tiny home chapel. (we need architects, builders, painters)
- In Tonga – Support the priest with his family and completion of the Church of St. George in Nuku’ Alofa. (we need builders, carpenters, painters)
- in New Zealand – A growing mission field in need of catechists, chanters…
It is our daily prayer and our daily request to the Philanthropic God, and we ask you to pray with us, to reveal in the hearts of worthy and humble people, capable of giving, the desire to minister to our newly converted brothers and sisters in New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Help us to spread the word, speak to your collages, your family, friends make your self part of the mission and partake of the joy of growing the Church.
We are continually thankful to all of you who are donating your time and skills, money, supplies and prayers for support of the Orthodox Apostolic Ministry in Oceania. God bless you!