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2014 ACM Lenten Newsletter

Dear Friends of Annapolis Pan-Orthodox College Ministry:

OCF Romania RealBreak 2014

Christ is in our midst!  It’s with great joy that I write to you following our 2014 OCF Realbreak mission trip to Romania.  The mission trip and pilgrimage with Orthodox student leaders from around the country took place from March 22-29.  It was a tremendous blessing to minister Christ’s love to “the least of these.”  And Christ gave us so much in return.

After arriving in Romania’s capital, Buchuresti, the ten of us traveled to Valea Scrazii and the Pro Vita (“For Life”) ministry, where we jumped right in encouraging the adults who care for the orphans, abandoned or abused children,  and the women, families, and elderly who have sought refuge in this safe haven of Christ’s holy Church.  

We prayed Evening Prayers with the children and I served Vespers for them, which was a particular blessing since they no longer have a priest serving in the village.  We played with the children and brought many smiles to their faces, we read to them, we held them, we shared the love of Christ and His Church with them.  We became part of their family. 

There were some things that made us sad: one beautiful little girl, three years old (the same age as my daughter) also shared the same name, Anastasia, which means “the resurrection.”  She has a brain tumor and is not expected to live.  We spent time taking turns holding her as she is not able to walk.  God gave us comfort in such situations, seeing that our love and affection was ministering to the children and their care-takers alike.  The children opened their hearts to us and enabled us during those days to love them, pray for them, play with them, and remind them that they are not forgotten by their brothers and sisters in Christ far off upon the seas. 

We came to minister to the 400 plus children of Pro Vita, our little brothers and sisters in Christ, but we found that Christ was using us in far more ways than we could have even anticipated: I was able to hear the life confessions of two of the women who have sought refuge at Pro Vita, fleeing abuse and the girls on the trip ministered to the women of Pro Vita in diverse ways. 

While we came to be a blessing and to minister to others, we found that we were at least equally, if not more, blessed ourselves.  As a priest, I was so greatly blessed and humbled to lead this group of young adults and to see God working in each of their lives through their encounters with the children, adults, and others they ministered Christ’s presence to. 

Click Here to read more (please note that the faces of the children have been blurred for online presentation and for their safety)