OCMC Mission Teams to Uganda and Mongolia
Emily Walker (5/30/2012)
To kick off the 2012 summer season of missions, OCMC short-term teams to Uganda and Mongolia will soon be departing. The Uganda health care team (June 2nd to June 16th) will offer health care services to people in the eastern and northern regions of Uganda, where there is limited access to medical care. Team members will serve the spiritual and physical needs of the people from both the established Holy Cross Hospital in Kampala and from temporary health clinics that will be set up in neighboring Orthodox communities. Many of these patients will travel long distances in order to receive care for malaria, pneumonia, ulcers, tuberculosis, and many other medical issues.
OCMC is very excited about sending our first-ever mission team to Mongolia (June 5th to June 20th). Team members will be proclaiming the gospel and sharing the Orthodox faith with Mongolians. This historic first team is heading to Ulaanbaatar to help plant the seeds of Christianity in a nation that is over 98% non-Christian. The country's only Orthodox church, Holy Trinity parish, will host the team. To help strengthen the Church there, team members will assist to implement effective discipleship and develop Mongolian church leaders.
The mission team to Mongolia will offer what they are calling an evangelism event, where, through focus groups, they will be spreading the word of Christ. The focus groups will include lessons on the English language, Byzantine chant, discussion of life after death from a Christian perspective (different from the Buddhist mindset), and family issues, including gender roles. All discussions will be translated into Mongolian.
Thomaida Hudanish, one of the members of the mission team to Mongolia, says, "In preparing for this experience, I am learning that the most important thing I can do is be in the moment now
my goal is simple: to go see, to learn from Fr. Aleksei, and to take in the beauty of the Mongolian culture." One of her tasks is to prepare a short lesson about the Resurrection icon. Of this she says, "When I look at the icon, I notice that Adam is a recipient of God's mercy and strength. Keeping focused on this helps me remember both why we are going on this trip and Who is providing."
The OCMC mission team in Mongolia will be challenged by numerous hurdles. While Mongolia is one of the most open countries in Asia, with limited interference from the government when it comes to Christian work, the challenges will be arduous. There is a void left from 70 years of Soviet rule, secular influences, and widespread social upheaval. There has been a breakdown of traditional values that will need to be built back up again.
The goals of the Church are to ordain indigenous clergy, establish parishes outside of Ulaanbaatar, and minister to those in need. Mongolia is an important area for OCMC to begin evangelizing and assisting in providing a witness to Christ. We are excited about the opportunity to help the church grow and to fill the spiritual void that is currently present within Mongolia.
We request that you keep the members of these teams in your prayers as they travel and take on these challenging yet rewarding journeys of faith.
2012 Mongolia Teaching
Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Dates: 6/5/2012 - 6/20/2012
Size: 10 Members
Cost: $1,530.00 (from Jacksonville, Florida)
Airfare not included. Team members must travel on scheduled dates; air travel to be coordinated with Team leader and OCMC; ground transportation will be provided. Team members are encouraged to raise the additional funds to cover the cost of domestic and international travel.
Proclaim the Gospel and share the Orthodox Faith with Mongolian catechumens and inquirers as part of a historic first Team to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Help plant the seeds of Christianity by teaching and evangelizing those who have begun to respond to the Gospel. Be a witness of the Faith in a country that is over 98% non-Christian.
The 2012 OCMC Mission Team to Mongolia will participate in evangelism and teaching Mongolians about the Faith. The Team will travel to the capital, Ulaanbaatar and serve at the Holy Trinity Parish, the only Orthodox church in the country. Team members also help attract new members, and organize catechisms in the parish community center. Activities will include religious education, Bible studies, music, and sharing the Gospel through drama, teaching and testimonies.
Christianity in Mongolia is a reality for the first time in modern history. Effective discipleship and developing Mongolian church leaders is a strategic need and the key to strengthening the Church. Participants must be sensitive to cross-cultural ministry and willing to help in the contextualization of Biblical truths to fit Mongolian culture. Individuals who are well grounded in teaching the Faith, have a gift for evangelism, and able to demonstrate Christ's compassionate love are encouraged to apply.
Mongolia is a landlocked country between Russia and China. It is a traditionally pastoral and agricultural economy, with an increasing mining sector. Mongolia was unified as a nation in 1206, which, under Genghis Khan, became the greatest land empire ever known. A Russian-supported revolution in 1921 installed a Marxist revolutionary government. The traditional religions were Buddhism and Shamanism. However, during the Soviet era, those traditions were greatly weakened. In 1990, the country obtained its independence and changed peacefully to a multiparty democracy that embraced capitalism, and restored the legality of religion. Mongolia is effectively one of the most open countries in Asia, with limited government interference in Christian work. Buddhism, Shamanism and Islam are recognized as the country's main religions. Christianity has also begun to spread in the country. Due to the void left from the 70 years of Soviet rule, fast paced secular influences have engulfed this society into a focus on materialism, widespread social upheaval, exploitation and the breakdown of traditional values.
The Holy Trinity Orthodox parish in Ulaanbaatar was founded in 1998 by Russians living in Mongolia. The first priest was appointed by the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and the focus was primarily on the Russian community in Mongolia. Since that time, Fr. Alexy Trubach has served the community and has focused increasingly on bringing non-Christians to the Faith.
The Church in Mongolia has translated the Liturgy, prayer books, and Orthodox newspapers into Mongolian; catechism classes have been conducted; in the past few years, over 40 Mongolians have been baptized; and two students have been sent to seminary in Moscow. The Holy Trinity Church was completed and consecrated in 2009. The compound includes the church, parish building, sport court and a small park. The parish has a Children's Center with painting, ceramics, and sports activities throughout the school year, with 150 children participating in these programs.
The Church in Ulaanbaatar needs assistance in reaching out to the Mongolian community at large. Fr. Alexy hopes the Orthodox Church is seen not just for Russians, but as the True Faith for all nationalities. He continues to teach the Faith and hopes to begin offering English language courses on the Bible. The goal is to ordain indigenous clergy and establish parish(es) outside of Ulaanbaatar. The Church is also interested in administering to the social needs of those less well off.
Mongolia's vastness and need for evangelism, makes this a strategically important area to proclaim the Gospel and assist the Church in providing a witness to bring people to Christ.