Subject: Supporting Missions and Present Locations
Age: 11+ years
Liturgical Time: Any
Doctrinal Content: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." Matthew 28:19-20
Key Themes and Aims:
The Great Commission of Christ
How to Support a Missionary
The Locations of Present Day Missions
Sources:www.ocmc.org – this website has a wealth of information about missions.
www.goarch.org – the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Lives of the saints can be found on this website.
www.oca.org – the website of the Orthodox Church in America has information about missions.
Golder, F.A., Father Herman, Alaska's Saint
Poulos, George, Orthodox Saints (four volumes)
Ware, Timothy, The Orthodox Church
Ritsi, Renee, Mwangi: A Young African Boy's Journey of Faith (children's book)
Papademetriou, Dorrie, North Star: St. Herman of Alaska (children's book)
Khoury, Christina's Favorite Saints (children's book)
Coniaris, Anthony M., Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home
Garrett, Paul D., St. Innocent: Apostle to America
Van Remortel & Chang, ed.,St. Nikolai Kasatkin and the Orthodox Mission of Japan
Veronis, Luke Missionaries, Monks, and Martyrs: Making Disciples of All Nations
Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) magazine
Icons of missionary saints such as the Samaritan woman at the well (St. Photini)
Videos of saints such as St. Peter and St. Paul
Music of the Kenyan Orthodox Church (CD)
DVD from the OCMC about missions and missionaries today (approx. 25 minutes)
Information for activities on the following pages can be found at the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, P.O. Box 4319, St. Augustine, FL 32085-4319. The website is www.ocmc.org, e-mail address is [email protected], telephone number is 904-829-5132 and FAX number is 904-829-1635.
Lesson 1: The Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…" (Matthew 28:19-20a).
Jesus' command for his disciples and followers to share our Christian witness and to establish missions is called the Great Commission. It calls us to bring the hope and Good News of Christ to those who do not know Him. St. Photini, the Samaritan woman at the well, told of her experience of meeting Christ to the townspeople (John 4). She and members of her family spent the rest of their lives evangelizing and converting many people to Christ. St. Philip, the deacon, guided the eunuch in the understanding of scripture and baptized him (Acts 8:26-40). On Pentecost in 33 A.D., the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ's disciples, and this same gift is given to each of us through baptism. From that day, Christ's disciples proclaimed the gospel and everyone was able to understand it despite language differences. About 3,000 people were baptized and became followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 2). Immediately following this activity, St. Paul and the other apostles spread Christianity throughout the remainder of their lives. Saints Cyril and Methodios were known for translating scripture into the language of the Slavic people so that they could understand it and come to know the love of Jesus Christ. Efforts for missionary activity are hampered at times such as when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in the 15th century and the communists curtailed religious activity in Russia in the 20th century. Despite obstacles, Christian missionary work has continued from the time of Jesus through today. All of us are called to be missionaries and to bring to others the hope and salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. We can do this in our schools, at our jobs, and with our friends through our words and behavior. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." (1 Peter 3:15)
Take turns with your family or with friends reading passages from scripture that are related to mission work such as Mt. 9:35-38, Mt. 10:32, Acts 4:31, Eph. 6:18-20, 1 Tim 4:12-15, 2 Tim. 2:24-26, Heb.10:24, James 5:19-20
List ways how you can be a missionary in your school, to your friends, at your job and discuss with your family or friends.
Read one chapter of the Book of Acts, especially chapters 9, 22, and 26, and discuss with your family, friends, or journal about it.
List the names of everyone you and your family know who don't follow Christ and pray for them every day to open their hearts to Him.
Lesson 2: Supporting a Missionary
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)
In countries around the world, local Orthodox priests, deacons, and teachers are provided with monthly support through the Support a Mission Priest (SAMP) program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). Many of the clergy work in new parishes and in poverty-stricken areas; therefore, the parish is unable to financially support the clergy. The support from SAMP helps maintain the current parishes and allows the local church to ordain new priests and create new parishes. A related program of the OCMC is the Agape Canister Program. Canisters are taken to restaurants and other businesses to collect money. This money is used to help people around the world, for example, to build or sustain medical clinics in Albania, Guatemala, Kenya and Uganda, and orphanages in Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Slovakia. The OCMC provides scholarships for mission students from around the world to study at Orthodox seminaries in the United States. The students then return to their homelands as teachers and as priests who are adequately trained in the teachings and theology of our Faith. The OCMC Missionaries rely on donations to sustain them in their mission work and receive funds through the OCMC. Driko and Christine Pappas are examples of long-term missionaries from our area who have spoken at St. Catherine who serve in Albania and rely on our support. While we all are not called to be long-term missionaries, the OCMC provides opportunities for short-term mission service (about one week to one month) in all parts of the world. St. Catherine members participated in Project Mexico as missionaries.
Learn about a missionary saint (see Resources on page 1) and then get together as a family or with friends to discuss what you have learned about the missionaries.
Learn about current missionaries and share with your family or friends. Look on the OCMC website under "Our Missionaries" or on the Second Sunday link at www.stcatherinechurch.org for biographies of current missionaries.
Go with your family or with friends to a restaurant or other business and tell them about the Agape Canister Program. Ask if the business will participate in the program and then follow up by collecting the money and giving it to OCMC.
Discuss and pray with your family or friends about supporting a mission priest for a year. Donation forms are available on the OCMC website under "S.A.M.P."
Support missionary families and individuals through prayers, and by sending cards or e-mails letting them know of your appreciation, support, and prayers.
Click on "Mission Teams" on the OCMC website to learn about short-term missions
Lesson 3: Locations of Missions
"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matt. 9:35-38)
The Prayer for Missions of the OCMC…
"God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness – full of love, full of strength, and full of faith – for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of St. Paul, St. Photini, Ss. Cyril and Methodios, St. Kosmas Aitolos, St. Innocent of Alaska, St. Nicholas of Japan, and all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen."
Fascinating accounts of current missionaries' service can be found at the OCMC website under "Our Missionaries." For example, Melissa Koltos serves at the Girls' Orphanage in Bakeswar, India. John Burnett writes of the challenge of operating schools in Uganda with minimal resources. And the Goodwin family established a children's home, helped run a free medical clinic, then a program for school drop-outs, and are now currently running a center for abandoned infants in Romania.
Orthodox missions are found in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and in North and South America, currently in the following countries or locations: Alaska, Albania, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Chad, China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.
And missions are found in our towns, our churches and our homes because we are all missionaries to those around us.
Click onto individual countries listed under "Missions Worldwide" on the OCMC website to see a map and to learn more about the missions in that country or location.Include praying for the missionaries when you are at church and during your individual or family prayer times. General areas in need of prayer are listed under "Get Involved" on the OCMC website in addition to specific prayer requests of the missionaries listed.Send an e-mail or card from your family to the missionaries to show your support (missionaries' addresses can be found on the OCMC website).Pray the Prayer for Missions at the top of the page during your individual or family prayer time.