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Author Topic: Non-Orthodox area in need of a Mission  (Read 2045 times) Average Rating: 0
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blessedbeggar
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« on: November 28, 2010, 10:22:01 PM »

Hello all. I have made several posts here, and any who have read them know that I am not Orthodox, but would very much love to be. The issue is there are no parishes near where I live. In other threads the consensus is always make the 1.5 to 3 hour drives to the closest parishes. That is all well and good for those who can afford the gas to make such treks on a weekly basis, but what about those of us who simply can't? Are we to just go without Orthodoxy? Aside from my family, there are a few others I know first-hand, without making an attempt to see how many indeed may be interested, that would benefit greatly from a local Orthodox congregation. I have a young son, who doesn't great, and a budget which doesn't either. Our friend who also has been checking into Orthodoxy is a single father, and also unable to travel. The only Orthodox in the area is a small Greek family who have either quit church altogether, or moved into one of the many protestant churches nearby. I know folks have said speak to your Priest and Bishop in previous threads, but technically....I don't have either. What we do have is a small Catholic Church...it is as close to the True Faith as we can get, and so we have begun attending there.

My final question is this; regardless of jurisdiction/or archdiocese....am I wasting my time hoping for an Orthodox Mission to come to Southeast, Ky? Is praying the Typika while attending the Catholic Church as close as I will ever get to Orthodoxy?

Please pray for me, as I am just a sinner...
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2010, 10:44:43 PM »

You may have seen this website already, but just in case:

http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/


I do not think you are wasting your time.  Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2010, 11:13:19 PM »

Thank you. I had checked there as well. The closest parish is the Antiochian mission that is 1.5 hours away. While this may be good for visiting when there is the extra travel cash in the budget, it would be very difficult to make this trip on a regular basis (which would be needed if we were to begin the conversion process).
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2010, 11:16:59 PM »

No, you're not wasting your time. Getting in touch with the nearest priest, via phone or email, might be helpful.

Here is the missions department of the OCA: http://www.oca.org/DOdept.asp?SID=5&LID=5

If they know there is interest in your area, they might able to help you.

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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2010, 02:18:17 AM »

Thank you. I had checked there as well. The closest parish is the Antiochian mission that is 1.5 hours away. While this may be good for visiting when there is the extra travel cash in the budget, it would be very difficult to make this trip on a regular basis (which would be needed if we were to begin the conversion process).
I do not remember if I replied specifically to your post, but I have said something similar before. I have certainly felt your frustration.

Economically speaking, I am not in a place where making the drive every week is easy... But I consider it a sacrifice, a part of my personal struggle, and I have given up pet luxuries to save specifically for the 3/4 tank of gas I will need to attend/get home from church.

That said... I do not always get to attend. I have missed church before because I literally did not have the money to both attend church and not bounce a check. The only reason I have internet right now is because it is provided. Our priest is aware of the situation, and has worked with our family as we are more fully integrating our lives into the Church.

If you can't attend every week, at least try to attend every other week, or every three weeks. A somewhat regular participation in the life of the Church is important if you really want to understand it.

Please do not read this as me saying I am more spiritual or dedicated than those who would not make the drive. I am not. My approach toward Orthodoxy has been a hard one, but God has provided ways for me to make it. That is the only reason I have come this far. By God's grace I will complete this race.

Addressing your other question: If you can find a couple of other adults who are interested, it might not be beyond reason to ask the priest (who would have to ask the bishop) about starting a mission station in your area. There is no guarantee this will happen, and most priests in the rural south are already stretched thin, but it's not beyond hope.
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2010, 03:05:48 AM »

I'd like to add that I am very glad you are going to the Catholic parish. I would do the same in an Orthodox parish were I stuck in a place without any Catholic churches nearby. I think going without any public worship at all for weeks at a time is not a good thing.

I hope the folks at the Catholic parish have been welcoming to you and your family, and I pray that you get an Orthodox mission in your next of the woods soon.
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2010, 01:48:36 PM »

@lubeltri Yes! They've been really wonderful actually, and my family and I have begun RCIA to be brought into the Church this Easter. I love Orthodoxy, but I will not stay in protestantism just because they fail to bring it to us here in the mountains. I tend to agree with the statement that the East and West are the lungs of the One, True Church...and I will be where I may be for the glory of God.
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2010, 02:10:38 PM »

@lubeltri Yes! They've been really wonderful actually, and my family and I have begun RCIA to be brought into the Church this Easter. I love Orthodoxy, but I will not stay in protestantism just because they fail to bring it to us here in the mountains. I tend to agree with the statement that the East and West are the lungs of the One, True Church...and I will be where I may be for the glory of God.

If you believe that "east and west lungs" branch theory stuff, then you should continue your RCIA in the Catholic Church and stay there, because the Orthodox Church believes that there is ONLY the ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH.  It cannot be divided.  If you become Catholic, you will not be just one short of Orthodox, but you will still not be Orthodox.
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2010, 02:45:46 PM »

@lubeltri Yes! They've been really wonderful actually, and my family and I have begun RCIA to be brought into the Church this Easter. I love Orthodoxy, but I will not stay in protestantism just because they fail to bring it to us here in the mountains. I tend to agree with the statement that the East and West are the lungs of the One, True Church...and I will be where I may be for the glory of God.

I agree with scamandrius that if you really feel this way, then you should not be Orthodox. I have my love of and sympathies for Roman Catholicism, but at the end of the day I reject the Filioque clause and Papal Infallibility. Most other things I could probably deal with in some way. But I don't want to have to "deal with" things, I want to grow in the faith.

I even hope that the Roman Catholics have "valid" sacraments, and that we are united in some spiritual sense, but I do not see the purity and continuity at present in the RCC with the ancient church, namely ecclesiology, sentimentality in devotions, and the alteration of the Symbol of the Faith.

That being said, I totally get your situation. You live in the real world and you probably need to be around a community to grow and learn. Not everyone can drive for the Eucharist once a month and then live off of Holy Scripture and books. So you have my sympathies, because I don't know if I could have come into Orthodoxy long-distance. Now that I'm in, I'll never go back even if I move to a remote area, but this is different than doing so from the start. We're not all wilderness ascetics. May God guide your steps.

Have you ever actually attended an Orthodox service with your wife, or is this all hypothetical and abstract at this point?
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2010, 02:49:27 PM »

@lubeltri Yes! They've been really wonderful actually, and my family and I have begun RCIA to be brought into the Church this Easter. I love Orthodoxy, but I will not stay in protestantism just because they fail to bring it to us here in the mountains. I tend to agree with the statement that the East and West are the lungs of the One, True Church...and I will be where I may be for the glory of God.

If you believe that "east and west lungs" branch theory stuff, then you should continue your RCIA in the Catholic Church and stay there, because the Orthodox Church believes that there is ONLY the ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH.  It cannot be divided.  If you become Catholic, you will not be just one short of Orthodox, but you will still not be Orthodox.

Sir....to be perfectly honest, I find your response unhelpful, hurtful, and rude. This coming from someone who's own website states that it is "intended to spur discussion, civil discussion, about Orthodoxy and perhaps those inquiring into the faith may find something here." There is nothing "civil" about your response. If you read any of my posts including the above, you would know that I would very much love to join Orthodoxy, but seeing that no Archdiocese has seen fit to bring any form whatsoever of evangelism to us here in the mountains; it seems that we have little choice. Was it not said from the lips of our Lord Jesus,"19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. " (Matthew 28 19-20)
      Nowhere do I see petty jurisdictional squabbles as being a reason to not "Go," nor do I think that the Appalachians are "the end of the world." Therefore, I think its safe to assume that my Lord and Saviour would rather that we here be brought also the fullness of Faith found in the Orthodox Church....and if it is unwilling to come to us, perhaps we will have to worship Him in the "lesser" Church.
       Furthermore, Christ also said at the beginning of His passion that even the rocks would cry out praises if the people did not, and if you aren't willing to speak for Christ's Church in love, then perhaps you should practice silence for His sake. Also, and this is my final quip for you sir....just because Balaam's ass was given a word to speak from God...doesn't mean that you have.
       To all others, thank you for the responses so far, and God bless you.
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2010, 03:01:08 PM »

@lubeltri Yes! They've been really wonderful actually, and my family and I have begun RCIA to be brought into the Church this Easter. I love Orthodoxy, but I will not stay in protestantism just because they fail to bring it to us here in the mountains. I tend to agree with the statement that the East and West are the lungs of the One, True Church...and I will be where I may be for the glory of God.

I agree with scamandrius that if you really feel this way, then you should not be Orthodox. I have my love of and sympathies for Roman Catholicism, but at the end of the day I reject the Filioque clause and Papal Infallibility. Most other things I could probably deal with in some way. But I don't want to have to "deal with" things, I want to grow in the faith.

I even hope that the Roman Catholics have "valid" sacraments, and that we are united in some spiritual sense, but I do not see the purity and continuity at present in the RCC with the ancient church, namely ecclesiology, sentimentality in devotions, and the alteration of the Symbol of the Faith.

That being said, I totally get your situation. You live in the real world and you probably need to be around a community to grow and learn. Not everyone can drive for the Eucharist once a month and then live off of Holy Scripture and books. So you have my sympathies, because I don't know if I could have come into Orthodoxy long-distance. Now that I'm in, I'll never go back even if I move to a remote area, but this is different than doing so from the start. We're not all wilderness ascetics. May God guide your steps.

Have you ever actually attended an Orthodox service with your wife, or is this all hypothetical and abstract at this point?

Thank you for your understanding. The answer is no to having been to an Orthodox service. We have been trying to find both time and money to do so, but this is a busy season for us...what with the holidays, and also our son was born in December...which we separate from Christmas (he deserves his own day). The closest parish is 1.5 hours away, and is a mission that only has an actual Divine Liturgy every other week. Otherwise it has Typika and Reserve Sacrament. We would love to just make it there. The other closest parish is at least 3 hours away, and we have spoken multiple times with the Priest there, but he can't change that distance of course. I believe I could survive with only a monthly or so Eucharist, and Typika at home, but my wife disagrees and we worry about our son have a faith community to grow in with other children to experience it with. I agree with you that I should not have to "deal with" things in the Catholic Church....but with absolutely no Orthodox influence in the area, there is little else one can do. God bless you...
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2010, 03:11:02 PM »


Sir....to be perfectly honest, I find your response unhelpful, hurtful, and rude. This coming from someone who's own website states that it is "intended to spur discussion, civil discussion, about Orthodoxy and perhaps those inquiring into the faith may find something here." There is nothing "civil" about your response. If you read any of my posts including the above, you would know that I would very much love to join Orthodoxy, but seeing that no Archdiocese has seen fit to bring any form whatsoever of evangelism to us here in the mountains; it seems that we have little choice. Was it not said from the lips of our Lord Jesus,"19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. " (Matthew 28 19-20)
      Nowhere do I see petty jurisdictional squabbles as being a reason to not "Go," nor do I think that the Appalachians are "the end of the world." Therefore, I think its safe to assume that my Lord and Saviour would rather that we here be brought also the fullness of Faith found in the Orthodox Church....and if it is unwilling to come to us, perhaps we will have to worship Him in the "lesser" Church.
       Furthermore, Christ also said at the beginning of His passion that even the rocks would cry out praises if the people did not, and if you aren't willing to speak for Christ's Church in love, then perhaps you should practice silence for His sake. Also, and this is my final quip for you sir....just because Balaam's ass was given a word to speak from God...doesn't mean that you have.
       To all others, thank you for the responses so far, and God bless you.

Please don't call me "sir". You can call me by my name on this board which is Scamandrius.  And your little quip doesn't give you much credibility for "civil discussion."

With regard to your comments, you are blaming the Orthodox for not having a mission in your part of the country, wherever that may be.  The Orthodox are planting missions in this country; we just haven't gotten to your corner yet.  But, if your solution to becoming Orthodox with no Orthodox Church in the area is to become Roman Catholic, that's no solution.  You won't be Orthodox if you go through the RCIA.  That is fact, not a statement of condescension.  Alveus Lacuna agreed with what I said but where is that outrage?

Catholic does not equal Orthodox, plain and simple.  The Catholics have much of the truth, but not the fullness.  If you want it all, become Orthodox.  Even if you can only go to an Orthodox Church once a month or even once every six months, the truth is still there.  Good luck.
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2010, 03:32:15 PM »

scamandrius....I apologize. I'm sorry for the short fuse, but this has proven to be a very frustrating journey. I realize the RCC is not the same as Orthodoxy, but surely you must agree that it is a better option for someone looking for the Truth of Ancient Faith than any of the protestant crowd. Also...this is a decision that includes my family as well. A house divided is not a happy home, and my wife is firm that our son should have a local congregation to grow in. Again...I am sorry for the outburst. Prayer for me a sinner.
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2010, 06:54:53 PM »

Southeastern Kentucky?

blessedbeggar, if you don't mind my asking...where are you specifically? I'm from Barbourville originally, in the Corbin-London area of Southeastern Kentucky. I'm in the catechumenate at St. Athanasius Orthodox Church (OCA) In Nicholasville, KY...just outside of Lexington. For months I made the trek weekly to attend Divine Liturgy, and finally was able to move up permanently to the area. I understand your position...we're coming from the same place, quite literally!

There are two other parishes in Lexington, the Antiochian parish mentioned earlier (St. Andrew's) and also a Greek parish (Panagia). We have actually attempted mission work in Eastern Kentucky (Whitesburg, if you know where that is), but it fell through. We gained two members who moved up here, and others lost interest. It was somewhat taxing on our end, as well (we just became a parish ourselves about a year ago, and are still very much like a mission). I know my priest would be excited to hear about an excited group that wants to interact with the Orthodox Church. I have to agree what has been said here, however, that we believe we are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church...if you truly believe that, then you're ready to be catachized, if not, then you would be more like inquirers, but we would still love to interact with you. I'm not established in my own place just yet (I've not even lived back up in this area for a month, and have been taken in by members of the parish for the time being) but I would gladly host you once I do have a living space. I know several others at the parish occasionally have open rooms and such, as well. I'm not saying you should start regularly driving up and attending with us, but I'm sure you'd like to be acquainted...and we'd definitely like that!

I'd love to get more information from you about your situation. My email is benjamin.j.amis (at) gmail.com and our parish website is www.athanasiusoca.org. I'm definitely not an official representative of my parish, so please feel free to contact our priest, Fr. Justin Patterson. There's a place to contact him via email on the website, as well as information for contact by phone. There's also a service schedule listed there. Also, if you're familiar with the Kursk Root icon, our parish will be hosting it before Nativity (I think the week before) and we will be serving a molieben before it for personal intentions as well as for prayer concerning a new temple we hope to build in the near future. This would be a good opportunity for you to visit and offer some intercessions of your own before this ancient, miracle-working icon.

I like to run on and on, so I'll stop myself here and just ask you to get in contact with me. We'd definitely love to see some of you visit us some time, too.

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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2010, 04:23:03 PM »

Thank you Benjamen, I have already been in contact with Father Justin for a short while. To answer your question, I live in Harlan. Just an hour from your home town. The issue is that I am unsure of how many others there are here that would assist with establishing an Orthodox Mission; outside of my family and a few more. I realize now how whiny this thread truly is, but please believe me that it is out of frustration...please pray for me a sinner.
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2010, 06:11:25 PM »

Don't worry, your questions and concerns are legitimate. I don't think your situation is as bad as you may think though. It is not uncommon for far-flung mission parishes to see the priest irregularly. There are Orthodox in China who only learned about Orthodoxy through internet research. They contacted a priest and he now visits them about 3 times a year, keeping in touch with them through email or phone in between. They are spread out so they all have to travel to some agreed upon central point- some of them come a long way. Several of them have been fully received into the Church (baptized or chrismated)- so seeing a priest every week or even every month is not necessary for being a catechumen. Obviously the situation is not ideal, but it's not hopeless either. I've heard a similar situation still exists for some native parishes in Alaska. Now, for you- I don't know what your resources are, but, until a mission is set up nearer to you, do you think you can travel to an Orthodox parish once a month? Once every two months?
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2010, 08:03:30 PM »

Thank you Benjamen, I have already been in contact with Father Justin for a short while. To answer your question, I live in Harlan. Just an hour from your home town. The issue is that I am unsure of how many others there are here that would assist with establishing an Orthodox Mission; outside of my family and a few more. I realize now how whiny this thread truly is, but please believe me that it is out of frustration...please pray for me a sinner.

Have you read "Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works"? There are a few chapters about a family that wanted to convert to Orthodoxy, but the closet parish was several hours away. The family would go once a month to Liturgy, but the rest of the time pray the hours as best they could, did spiritual reading and kept in fairly regular correspondence with a priest for catechism and spiritual health. Eventually they turned their shed into a chapel, which eventually turned into a mission that grew into a parish. Smiley

It is possible to struggle in this way and I do say struggle for a reason, but God's grace will help you. Don't give up on Orthodoxy. Wink

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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2010, 12:36:51 PM »

Thank you all for your encouragement. My wife and I have been in prayer, and we cannot "give up" on Orthodoxy. We have contacted the Father I mentioned and are planning to go to see him as soon as possible. We are not going to continue the RCIA, but will continue attending the Catholic church for the meantime, as a place for our son to develop relationships and a faith foundation that is at least close to Orthodox. I realize it is not Orthodox, and he will be told at home proper information if there are conflicts. Since he is nearly 3, he mostly just needs a local congregation that looks like Orthodoxy to familiarize him to liturgical worship. This is difficult at home, especially since we don't have anything yet to begin a prayer corner. Please pray for us sinners....God bless you all.
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2010, 01:26:32 AM »

Dear Blessed Beggar,

This was my situation. When I first became convinced of Orthodoxy I lived in Micronesia on a small island.  The nearest Orthodox Church was over 1600 miles away...and no transoceanic highways to make a Sunday commute. I had some conversations with a priest back in the states once when I was home on vacation. He was (and is) a very gracious priest. When I asked him if I could convert he had two responses...that's wonderful, and no.  He said Orthodoxy was not like a Baptist church. I couldn't just walk the aisle as it were. I needed parish life, liturgical life, and the spiritual nourishment that gives. He instructed me to be faithful in the situation God had placed me, pray, and be patient....after all think of the long time St. Mary of Egypt had to wait between communions (40 years).  In the meantime his parish would pray for me.  

So I went back to my island and prayed and pestered Bishops and priests over half the globe to see who our islands belonged to jurisdictionally...who would love us out there, start a little mission, help me get in the church, etc.  Many did not answer, several of those who did were sympathetic but had little else to offer just then. Finally I made contact with an English speaking priest in Japan by way of help from a man (now a deacon) in South Africa.  We began a correspondence.  During this time a friend at work became interested in some of my spiritual reading material and went on to develop a serious interest in Orthodoxy as well. I put him in touch with this priest as well, but sort of fell out of that loop for a while bothering people elsewhere.  Then the loop opened again and the Priest received permission to grant my friend an I an economy because of our unusual circumstance. For the next year we were catechized by email and it was as difficult as a college level course I can tell you..and it involved lots of reading.  In the end my friend and I were invited to Tokoyo and were baptized into the Orthodox Church after Pentecost in 1998. We lived as Orthodox isolates in Micronesia from 98 to around 2003. We got to go to Church once a year (usually around Pascha) for a few days, and crammed as much in those days as we could.  Even though we lived on different islands we would try to get together on major feast days and break the fasts together. In time God brought us back to the mainland and today we both live much much closer to a parish than before.  Even here when I first came back the nearest parish to me as almost a 2 hour drive away.  I made it as often as I could...which most of the time was once a week, though it was hard at times.  Now I have a job much closer and it does not involve so much travel at present.

All I can tell you with respect to your journey is keep praying, keep faithful to what has been entrusted to you so far, keep in touch with priests and others of good reputation within Orthodoxy who an offer sound spiritual counsel and trust God.  He will make a way...either moving someone close to you, like a mission, or arranging for you to live nearer a parish.  When...how long....those are in God's hands.  Trust that he knows what struggles you need for the salvation of your soul.  Trust me in this...I do not regret having to wait, it enabled me to learn, grow, and get over my initial wide-eyed fascination...by the time I was let in I knew two things. One the treasures of the faith were sometimes entrusted to very the keeping of very earthen vessels, and that I came as a supplicant to the fountain of immortality, a beggar without even a cup to drink from, without so such as a short rope to draw forth the waters of salvation.  God is faithful. He is merciful. A cup will be provided.

Let me leave you with a final thought.  When that priest first told me no, it made me sad, but it left me determined.  I was convinced Orthodoxy was the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints...and if God did not find me worthy just then to be part of it, then blessed be the name of the Lord.  There is a story in Judges about a man who gave his concubine to a mob of rowdy, murderous Benjaminites when they attacked the home in which he was a guest. In the morning the concubine had died from the abuse she had received from the mob but her hand was outstretched to the threshold of her master.  That was how I began to consider the state of my own soul...ravaged by the passions of the world like the concubine...but if the door was shut against me, then this much I would have...my hand would ever be outstretched to the threshold of my master. When he saw, he would take pity on me, and avenge me on my enemies.  Unlike the master of the concubine, our Master is the very Lord of Life, and He is able to raise up and restore those dead in their sins.  Even though now I am baptized and christmated within the Orthodox Church, my salvation is still in progress, and my hand, my soul ever remains outstretched to my master's threshold.

If Orthodoxy is the truth, is the faith, then do as much as if possible for you to do and trust God to enable all the rest in His own time.  If all you have is an outstretched hand, then so be it. Our Lord knows. He is faithful. He is merciful. He will not tarry forever.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 01:32:26 AM by Seraphim98 » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2010, 01:30:19 AM »

Dear Blessed Beggar,

This was my situation. When I first became convinced of Orthodoxy I lived in Micronesia on a small island.  The nearest Orthodox Church was over 1600 miles away...and no transoceanic highways to make a Sunday commute. I had some conversations with a priest back in the states once when I was home on vacation. He was (and is) a very gracious priest. When I asked him if I could convert he had two responses...that's wonderful, and no.  He said Orthodoxy was not like a Baptist church. I couldn't just walk the aisle as it were. I needed parish life, liturgical life, and the spiritual nourishment that gives. He instructed me to be faithful in the situation God had placed me, pray, and be patient....after all think of the long time St. Mary of Egypt had to wait between communions (40 years).  In the meantime his parish would pray for me. 

So I went back to my island and prayed and pestered Bishops and priests over half the globe to see who our islands belonged to jurisdictionally...who would love us out there, start a little mission, help me get in the church, etc.  Many did not answer, several of those who did were sympathetic but had little else to offer just then. Finally I made contact with an English speaking priest in Japan by way of help from a man (now a deacon) in South Africa.  We began a correspondence.  During this time a friend at work became interested in some of my spiritual reading material and went on to develop a serious interest in Orthodoxy as well. I put him in touch with this priest as well, but sort of fell out of that loop for a while bothering people elsewhere.  Then the loop opened again and the Priest received permission to grant my friend an I an economy because of our unusual circumstance. For the next year we were catechized by email and it was as difficult as a college level course I can tell you..and it involved lots of reading.  In the end my friend and I were invited to Tokoyo and were baptized into the Orthodox Church after Pentecost in 1998. We lived as Orthodox isolates in Micronesia from 98 to around 2003. We got to go to Church once a year (usually around Pascha) for a few days, and crammed as much in those days as we could.  Even though we lived on different islands we would try to get together on major feast days and break the fasts together. In time God brought us back to the mainland and today we both live much much closer to a parish than before.  Even here when I first came back the nearest parish to me as almost a 2 hour drive away.  I made it as often as I could...which most of the time was once a week, though it was hard at times.  Now I have a job much closer and it does not involve so much travel at present.

All I can tell you with respect to your journey is keep praying, keep faithful to what has been entrusted to you so far, keep in touch with priests and others of good reputation within Orthodoxy who an offer sound spiritual counsel and trust God.  He will make a way...either moving someone close to you, like a mission, or arranging for you to live nearer a parish.  When...how long....those are in God's hands.  Trust that he knows what struggles you need for the salvation of your soul.  Trust me in this...I do not regret having to wait, it enabled me to learn, grow, and get over my initial wide-eyed fascination...by the time I was let in I knew two things. One the treasures of the faith were sometimes entrusted to very the keeping of very earthen vessels, and that I came as a supplicant to the fountain of immortality, a beggar without even a cup to drink from, without so such as a short rope to draw forth the waters of salvation.  God is faithful. He is merciful.

Let me leave you with a final thought.  When that priest first told me no, it made me sad, but it left me determined.  I was convinced Orthodoxy was the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints...and if God did not find me worthy just then to be part of it, then blessed be the name of the Lord.  There is a story in Judges about a man who gave his concubine to a mob of rowdy, murderous Benjaminites when they attacked the home in which he was a guest. In the morning the concubine had died from the abuse she had received from the mob but her hand was outstretched to the threshold of her master.  That was how I began to consider the state of my own soul...ravaged by the passions of the world like the concubine...but if the door was shut against me, then this much I would have...my hand would ever be outstretched to the threshold of my master. When he saw, he would take pity on me, and avenge me on my enemies.  Unlike the master of the concubine, our Master is the very Lord of Life, and He is able to raise up and restore those dead in their sins.  Even though now I am baptized and christmated within the Orthodox Church, my salvation is still in progress, and my hand, my soul ever remains outstretched to my master's threshold.

If Orthodoxy is the truth, is the faith, then do as much as if possible for you to do and trust God to enable all the rest in His own time.  If all you have is an outstretched hand, then so be it. Our Lord knows. He is faithful. He is merciful. He will not tarry forever.

Thank you for sharing this story! Glory to God!
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« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2010, 02:40:23 AM »

I wish I could be as honest as some of you to find the edification I need.  I hope God will grant me such encouragement as I expect BlessedBeggar received from OC.net's best.

BlessedBeggar, stay steadfast and the Lord will stay steadfast to you.
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« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2010, 11:50:21 AM »

Seraphim98...thank you so much for such a beautiful and well thought out story. I have shared it with my wife as well, who was moved to tears. This, and the other conversion stories I have read, has shown me the need in my life for prayer to be more understanding with the deliberate-ness of conversion to the Orthodox faith. It truly put things into perspective for my wife and I both. Thank you from both of us and God bless you. Please pray for us sinners....
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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2010, 08:31:13 PM »

Blessed beggar, i totally understand your situation because where i live, there is only 2 Orthodox churches in the area and most people here do not even have a clue what OC is(1 is very small mission and 1 Greek Orthodox larger church). Fortunately, i don't live too far away from Greek Orthodox church so i was able to attend their services. I totally understand your plight because there are TONS of RC in the area so if i wasn't able to find OC, i would have went to RC because i just can't stay in Protestant church any longer. Its a tough choice and noone can understand better than i Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2010, 03:23:37 AM »

Hey guys,

What about car sharing? Let's say your next church is 100 miles away, but a churchmate lives only 10 miles from you. You can just drive to him, and go with him the rest of the way to church, or something like that. Much gas money could be saved that way.

(Oh, and sell your SUV or pick up and get a car that doesn't consume much fuel).
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2010, 05:22:43 PM »

Dear Blessed Beggar,

Thank you for your kind words. May God be merciful to you and your wife on your journey.
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2010, 08:59:47 PM »

Hey guys,

What about car sharing? Let's say your next church is 100 miles away, but a churchmate lives only 10 miles from you. You can just drive to him, and go with him the rest of the way to church, or something like that. Much gas money could be saved that way.

(Oh, and sell your SUV or pick up and get a car that doesn't consume much fuel).

No SUV's here! I tend to be a tree-hugger at times. Car pooling would be great, but here in this neck of the mountains....we have only found a few interested in Orthodoxy, and none that are ready to make a commitment..yet. However, my wife and I have been budgeting and looking at the logistics a bit more, and we think that we can make the trip monthly..perhaps even more frequent that that. We desire your prayers as we begin this journey. May God bless you all!
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2010, 09:19:48 PM »

I am not familiar with the area where you live, but are there any college campuses which may have an Orthodox mission or chapel? Maybe there is a monastery somewhere not too far? Some of them allow visitors to attend services. Huh Just a thought. Continued prayers.  angel
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 09:20:56 PM by biro » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2010, 12:08:20 AM »

I am not familiar with the area where you live, but are there any college campuses which may have an Orthodox mission or chapel? Maybe there is a monastery somewhere not too far? Some of them allow visitors to attend services. Huh Just a thought. Continued prayers.  angel

Biro, thank you for the suggestions, but sadly no. There are only the choices I spoke of. My wife and I have decided to make whatever sacrifices are possible to make at least a monthly Divine Liturgy at the OCA Church that we have been in contact with. The priest there has went above and beyond to help us, and we feel that the hand of God is indeed guiding us there. Praise God and blessings to all who have responded.

In Christ,
Blessed Beggar
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