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(OCN - The Sounding) - Breaking through the clouds to see the snow-capped mountains of Juneau, Alaska started this Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) mission trip. There was a team of 9 Orthodox Christian volunteers to help the communities of Juneau and Hoonah, Alaska (both churches are St. Nicholas), along with repairing the Hoonah church building. We ranged in age from 19 to 84, and traveled from Florida, Alabama, Indiana and Illinois.
One team member was on her 11th OCMC mission trip in 12 years. Another member was on her third OCMC trip in three years. For the rest of us, it was our first OCMC trip.
We began our four-day orientation at St. Nicholas in Juneau and then would travel to Hoonah. The orientation was for individual and team preparation, along with culture training about Orthodoxy in Alaska and the indigenous people. The parish priest for both St. Nicholas churches is Fr. Simeon.
As part of the orientation and the team building, we had to prepare a three-minute presentation about ourselves and our orthodoxy. I was unexpectedly nervous and emotional thinking about what I would say. The other team members expressed similar concerns. The Holy Spirit was moving us all to continue to inwardly evaluate ourselves and our mission.
As we presented our stories, there were tears and laughs. Despite the common thread of Orthodoxy, the lifetime of patterns weaved by each of us look so different. Some were filled with straight lines, others in circles and others were zig zags. Nevertheless, here we all sat together with one common goal.
We were blessed to meet Richard and Nora Dauenhauer. They have jointly written eight books, four of which are about the Tlinget, one of the five major groupings of Alaska’s indigenous people, also called Alaska Natives...