April 24, 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen::
I spoke at one of your (OCL) conferences in 2002 about Project Mexico and your membership supported the orphanage with a $10,000 donation to buy property to provide housing for the Mexican boys who reside at the orphanage. I know how much OCL supports anything to with enhancing the Orthodox youth spiritual experiences.
This spring, Over 100 Orthodox and some non-Orthodox adults and youth from the Northeast Ohio region and Pennsylvania will have the privilege to participate in a weeklong service project to aid Native Americans on the Navajo Reservation. We have been asked by the Navajo Indians to help them build a daycare center.
Last year, our group also had the opportunity to go to New Mexico. We built self-composting outhouses, provided medical care and delivered food baskets for these proud people. Our hearts cried out at the poor conditions existing on the reservation, which is bigger than the state of West Virginia. It was unbelievable to us that we were in the United States, and not some third world country. The Navajo were very appreciative of the mission group’s efforts, and we promised ourselves we would return to do more. Despite their poverty, they always greeted us with a smile and a kind word. After 20 years of having a drought, it rained for 3 weeks after we left. The Navajo attributed the rain to us, but we know better. We thank God for the chance he has given us to work on the reservation.
This year, we plan to build a 2500 square foot “shell” that will eventually become a Day Care Center. The Navajo that are able to find employment do not find reliable, safe childcare easily. This Day Care Center would be a place where their children can be cared for and nurtured. We will also again have medical personnel providing care and we will deliver food baskets. All students attending this Mission trip will have the opportunity to help with all the services we will provide. As Orthodox Missionaries, we do not proselytize, but teach by example.
The cost of the trip for each participant is $650, which includes room and board, food, airfare and transportation to and from the Indian Reservation. I would like to include a group of 10 college students to help run the program for a week and help with the numerous teenagers on the trip. Many of the college students who would like to attend are just returning home from school and are looking for jobs for the summer or post-graduation full-time work. They have not had the opportunity to do much fundraising because of their schoolwork, etc. I would like to raise $4000 to pay for 10 college students’ airfare and then each student would then be responsible to pay $350 for room and board and food. A few college students who have participated with me on various mission trips have made it a habit to attend church on Sunday post-graduation.
We leave for New Mexico on June 16th, 2007and will return June 23rd. I truly thank you for your prayers and for any financial help, which you can offer. When I return, I'll be sure to tell you all about my experience! All donations are due by May 15th.
With much love and gratitude,
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Navajo Mission Trip 2007 Support Form
YES, I wish to support the Navajo Mission trip with my enclosed donation of:
City:______________________________ State: ________ Zip:___________
Please make your tax-deductible donation, payable to “Navajo Mission Trip“ and earmarked with the participant’s name. Mail to:
Navajo Mission Trip
c/o Ann Salvator
2998 Connotton Ave
Twinsburg, Ohio 44087
Thank you for your support and love!
Note from Lee Kopulos (former president, OCL): Here is a marvelous opportunity to sponsor a group of college students who will supervise the building of a daycare center for the Navajo Indians on their New Mexico Reservation. My good friend Ann Salvator of SS. Constantine and Helen Church in Cleveland is running this program for her diocese. You all heard Ann and her youth describe their positve experiences at Project Mexico at our Detroit OCL Meeting highlighting Youth in 2002.. Ann has led many teams out there and now has gone on to develope an American Project in New Mexico with the Native American Navajo Indians. Her vision is for this to be another National Orthodox Program for Young Adults. She is without a doubt one of , if not the very best, youth and college aged program directors I know.