The Triodion and a Mission

We’re half way through the Triodion, a three week liturgical cycle that announces the coming of Great Lent. Last week was the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, and the week before that the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. We’re coming up on Judgement Sunday, followed by Forgiveness Sunday, which marks the beginning of Great Lent, which lasts for five weeks.  Those are the facts; I should try to consider why this is important with greater thought in the future.

In other news, I have reached the conclusion, based upon observation, that it is simply not true of me that I always, or perhaps even usually, “gain energy through solitude and lose it in social interaction,” because there are certain kinds of energy that can only be had from other people, so far as I can tell, and I suspect that’s true for most people, not only extroverts.

Also, I found a blog of a young man who’s going on an OCMC (Orthodox Christian Mission Center; the most active mission organization in America) mission to Tanzania this summer, which reminded me that I hope to go to Moldova, and that OCMC sent me an information packet, which, among other things, asked us to sort of advocate for the cause our mission is supporting, in this case instructing and encouraging the Moldovan youth. I believe that this is good, but am uncertain how to go about it, because my writing style is always “behind the scenes,” as it were, and that doesn’t naturally lend itself to advocacy. At this point I don’t know much about Moldova, and don’t know how to learn what I would need to know to articulate (or even know myself) why God might want me to go and participate in what’s happening there. And then I’m abashed. Please support this mission, because we believe that God is behind it, and that it will make people glad, and increase love of God and one another. Is that what I’d say?

There’s a man who begs on the side of the road in Gori, between Stalin Ave and the market. I’ve seen him there several times; he’s there most every day, I think, in the same place, even in the cold, and I thought that it was very unfortunate, but not much past that. Yesterday I was walking with a friend, and she gave him some money, and said that he’s her neighbor in her parents’ village. She said that before “he was very brave,” and that some other young men hated him, somehow for that, though she didn’t know what they had done to each other to inspire such hate. One day the other men beat him up and tied him to the roof of his house in the middle of winter, so that he’s disabled from frostbite, and had to have his extremities amputated (I think that’s what she said). So now he still lives in the village, but doesn’t have any family who cares about him, and comes in to beg, even in the cold, and has to sit on the edge of the street on cardboard, because he’s too crippled to stand.

That’s not necessarily related to our mission to Moldova. Indeed, it’s not related at all. We’re supposed to have some kind of youth camp. I can’t imagine any of the youth I’ve seen at camps hating anyone so much. I can’t imagine anyone I’ve ever met hating someone so much. Still, somehow people do hate each other that much, even in little Christian villages in hospitable Georgia. And perhaps we want to have youth camps in part so that young people can learn faith, hope, and love, which leave no room for hate, and would never think to willingly harm their neighbor, even if he did them some wrong. The youth in Nikozi have Bishop Isaiah, who has helped the village to build a school, find teachers, and invite interesting and loving teachers and guests; they’re, among other things learning animation, shadow theater, chant, drawing, traditional Georgian crafts there, and are delightful children — I usually visit their English classes once a week. Although they’re in a war zone, were invaded only three years ago (and had houses, their animation studio, and their church damaged), are mostly poor, and many of them know someone who died or was injured in the war, they are learning not to hate, but to persevere creatively.

If you like, you can support the mission to Moldova. Or the school in Nikozi. And, as they are always reminding us, please pray for both. I will need $1,400, not including transportation. Moldova is quite poor, so I imagine we have to offset costs of whatever materials we will be using with the youth, in addition to our own living costs for two weeks and an orientation and training. You can donate on the OCMC website, or by sending a check to:

OCMC
220 Mason Manatee Way
St Augustine, Florida
32086

Please designate it for “Molly Dodd — Moldova.” The website doesn’t have this year’s teams on their donations page yet, but should sometime soon.

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