Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Life of St John Maximovitch

The Saint who loved orphans


Gregory Kearns

Hello all, I am Greg. A Student at the Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston (Hellenic College/Holy Cross). I have the same request as Jiena. My wife and I are putting both of our stuff in one carry on and filling the rest with clothes, etc. for the orphans. A lady from our church organized an internal supplies drive within the kohl's that she works for, and the employees have been using their discounts on top of the sales to buy many things for the children, including a few down-alternative comforters. The drive has been going so well though that they expect us to have more than can fit in our suitcases. So if anyone else has extra room please let us know as well. 1st set should go to jiena but we'll take the extras after she is all set. -In Him, Greg

Thomas Crassas

Dear Guatemala team 2008,My name is Thomas Crassas. I have been born and raised in silver spring md and just recently moved to virginia for a job. I went to the University of Maryland for undergrad and graduated from George Washington last January of 07 with a masters in physical therapy. I am in the middle of many transitions right now, but excited with all the blessings that have occurred recently. I moved to virginia to be part of a new clinic that is opening actually this week. I practice in an outpatient physical therapy clinic and sports medicine. I attend St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church but am also transitioning into a new home at St Katherine's Greek Ortho Church in Va. I can't say enough how blessed I am in so many ways and I just hope to share some of these blessings. I look forward to seeing everyone soon and I pray that this email finds everyone well.To be a servant: I have had the opportunity to do many little service projects, but never a mission trip. One of my favorite quotes is "In order to find oneself, you must first lose yourself in the service of others" I strongly believe by losing oneself in the needs of another person, it gives us a better insight and understanding of our own foundational needs. It shows us what truly matters in life and what truly is worth it. I strongly feel that God calls each one of us to utilize our blessings for His will in order to let his light shine through us. We have been blessed with many things in our lives which we have been fortunate to receive. I hope that I can share my blessings with others and humbly be able to help to make other lives better. In Christ,Thomas Crassas

Ryan Stingle

Dear Fr. John and 2008 Guatemala Team members,Christ is Risen!Short biographical sketch: I have lived in Pennsylvania my whole life and I was received into the Orthodox Church on Holy Saturday of 2003 at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, in State College, PA. I am a parishioner at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Media, PA, and I am currently working as a middle school substitute teacher and looking for a permanent teaching position. Before I became Orthodox, I participated in several service projects with my family in North Carolina and Chester, PA, in which we helped to build new homes or renovate existing homes for families in need. Also, when I was a sophomore in college, I went to Shanghai, China, as a part of a missions trip/cultural exchange with my former high school youth group. While in college, I became involved with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) chapter at Penn State, and I participated in a Real Break trip to Project Mexico in 2003. I also worked as a counselor at the Antiochian Village camp for two summers in 2004 and 2005. I still consider myself a "newbie" Orthodox Christian, and I am looking forward to serving and working with all of you! What does it mean to be a servant?: A few years ago I heard a sermon in which the priest made a remark to the effect of, "to be a spiritually mature person you have to be obedient to the needs of others." These words have remained in my mind as a guideline to what I aspire to be as an Orthodox Christian. We can see from the Gospels that Christ ministered to people in uniquely personal ways—to some he met the physical needs of food and drink, to some he performed miracles, to others he preached and taught. If we are to be imitators of Christ, we have to strive to serve in a way that is consistent with the needs of others, even if it might be uncomfortable for us to do so. I'll see everyone in four weeks! God bless your preparation for this trip, and pray for me, a sinner. In Christ,Ryan

More from Jiena Deeb

Christ is Risen to all and bless us Fr. John,

My name is Jiena (Evgenia) Razook Deeb. I was born on Christmas of 1979 in Syria and came to US in 1989 to take care my grandparents. I went to college and received my degree as a Paralegal and worked in a law firm for about 7 years. After taking care of both my grandparents through their illnesses I decided to go back to school to get my nursing degree. So I am currently in school completing my last semester toward a degree as an RN. I live with my sister in a small town in Ocala, FL. I speak fluent Arabic, very minimal Spanish (from high school). I love to crochet, bead and do various crafts. I also love to be involved in the Church serving in any capacity that I can. I live near two monasteries that I regularly attend and cherish.

To answer the discussion: what does it mean to be a servant? A servant is to humbly give oneself to serve others, even those that are less fortunate. Our Christ, who is the King of all, came in a most humble way, to serve us, who are undeserving, yet because of His abundant love, He came to serve us and even wash our feet. So I think as servants we must emulate the humility and love that Christ has done for us.

Joanne Sedor

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!!Hola! Dear Fr. John and Team - from Joanne Sedor

It is wonderful to "meet" you all by mail. At first it seemed like such along time until our mission, and now it seems like our time for meetingand serving is coming as fast as a freight train...that is a "ChocolateTrain!" How to prepare? What to bring? How to serve? so many questionskeep popping up in my mind.I am a wife, mom and "Baba" to 10 grandchildren. Our four adult childrenand their families live in Anchorage AK, Baltimore MD, Minneapolis MN andone in our area --- Bloomfield, MI (a suburb of Detroit). We have achance to travel almost from "sea to shining sea" when we visit the kids.My husband, John, and I are both "cradle" Orthodox. We live in a condonow, and have been joined by my widowed father who has recently had somehealth problems but now seems stable enough for me to participate in themission team! We attend Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church (OCA) inLivonia and are active in parish life and Church School. I am also aretired advanced practice registered nurse but I have continued with parttime work at the County Health Department. Most of my nursing career hasbeen in community mental health and public health nursing, so being "outand about" has been a norm for me. My job now consists of assessing andreferring pregnant mothers and newborns for services. I also am anindependent contractor doing in home geriatric assessments. I have had anopportnity to be a part of OCMC before, and look forward so very much toour experience this summer with anticipation, joy, and a desire to learn.With prayers for you all, Joanne

Zoe Doss

Christo esta resucitado! En verdad, esta resucitado!Fr. Bless!

Hello all- Congratulations Fr. John on the consecration of HolyAscension Church!I am truly looking forward to meeting and serving withall of you this summer. My biographical sketch goessomething like this:My parents converted to Orthodoxy before they hadchildren, so my younger brother and I are both cradleOrthodox. Our home parish is St. Seraphim in SantaRosa, California, but we have moved for the timebeing, since my mother, brother and I are all collegestudents, and need to be within an hour's drive fromour respective schools. At St. Seraphim I had theopportunity to help teach Sunday school and sing intheir magnificent choir. My mother homeschooled mybrother and me since fourth grade until we bothgraduated two years ago. I am currently a junior atCSU East Bay, and this fall I will start the programfor speech pathology and audiology (communicativedisorders). I don't really have a long job history-I've been a tutor (English, math, science, etc for twograde school boys), but I hope to train as an EMT thissummer and start working in the winter. My brotherand I go to the UC Berkeley OCF, which is how we foundout about OCMC. Like a couple of you, this will be myfirst mission team, and I can't wait to hear moreabout all of you.Sincerely,Zoe Doss