Tuesday, June 17, 2008

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

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