Hearing the gratitude and joy expressed as someone describes their journey to find and enter the Orthodox Faith opens your eyes to the tremendous miracle of each conversion. During Missions Possible this year, we’ve shared a new household’s story every Wednesday on our Ministry’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
As we read these stories, we marvel over the synergy of God working in the lives of each person–inside the parish to prepare us to receive newcomers, and outside the parish among those who are praying to Christ for direction. Our Ministry is here to help you remove the obstacles and cooperate with the beautiful work that is unfolding. We rely on your support during this annual Missions Possible campaign in order to do this life-saving work.
Jason and Jennifer were reading about Roman Catholicism with a mind to convert when they ran across a reference to Eastern Orthodoxy. They’d never heard of it before, so they Googled it. As a result, they discovered their Faith and their home parish…the rest is history. Our Ministry exists to help parishes become increasingly visible and accessible to seekers like Jason & Jennifer.
Thomas and Melissa met at a large Protestant church where they were both active in ministry. As they prepared for marriage, Melissa longed for a deeper sense of community. Meanwhile Thomas‘ study of Scripture led him to search for an English translation of the Septuagint. Without knowing anything about the Orthodox Church, he bought an Orthodox Study Bible. As he read, Thomas encountered the Church in the explanations and icons, and soon thereafter reached out to the nearest parish. Thomas and Melissa began attending every week and immediately were overwhelmed by the warm embrace of people in their new church. After becoming Orthodox, this creative couple started a company that brings the devotion of the Saints to the expression of jewelry—SaintsofChristJewelry.com.
John and Rebecca. Thirty-four years ago when Rebecca’s cousin, Cheryl, and her husband converted to Orthodoxy and went to seminary, Rebecca and John were surprised, but supportive and thoughtful. Over the years, as Cheryl’s husband was ordained a priest and assigned a parish, the two cousins’ friendship was constant—full of love, laughter, and honesty. In 2017 they had an opportunity to spend a week together. Rebecca knew she could ask Cheryl any question, and their conversations lasted well into the night. When Rebecca and John returned home, they listened to live audio broadcasts of the liturgy on Ancient Faith Radio. Then they decided to find the nearest church, assuming that it would be over an hour away in either Portland or Corvallis; they were unsure if they could be regular attendees at a community so far away. To their surprise, they found a Greek Orthodox mission in Salem, just 25 minutes from their front door. From the first Sunday they felt a connection with the warm people of the parish and knew this was a place where they could grow. Even though Matushka Cheryl says, “I didn’t do anything!,” John and Rebecca say that she planted seeds and morsels over 30 years of friendship. “She lived a life of faithfulness to Christ” and that is what made the difference. Our Ministry works to establish new parishes and make the Church both visible and accessible for seekers like John and Rebecca.
Mark. “There was never a time that I didn’t believe,” says Mark of his faith in Christ. Growing up in Anchorage, Mark attended church on Sundays and participated in Campus Life in high school. While he had fun, he felt that something was missing. When he met his wife, he learned that although she had been baptized Orthodox as an infant, she was raised as a non-believer in Soviet Russia. After attending school in the lower 48, Mark and his family returned to Anchorage and moved into a home next door to John and Elena. Their families instantly got along and recognized a distinctive similarity: John was also an American-born husband with a Russian-born wife. One day, while working together on sealing their common driveway, John casually invited Mark to attend church with him, saying “Mark, if I didn’t go to this church for any other reason, it would be for the food.” Mark was intrigued and this friendly invitation made it easy for him to visit—even if just for the food! “I didn’t know where I needed to be,” said Mark, “but I knew when I walked through that door.” He was immediately drawn in by stimulating homilies, beautiful chanting, and intimate weekday services. Mark and his youngest son were brought into the Church together at Pascha in 2016.
Please support Missions Possible 2020 and help us reach our goal to raise $40,000 across this Metropolis and Grow Orthodoxy in America!