Friday, December 15, 2017

Watch out world! The Manuels are coming!

Some of you are asking yourselves, "I want to do something to really get into the spirit of Christmas. You know, do good and help the Church, but I'm not sure what to do. I'm busy and it's hard to find the time to search out this sort of stuff, you know? Have any ideas, Father?"

I do!

Nothing says Christmas spirit like helping grow the Church by funding the efforts of two our our newest missionaries to Guatemala! Please consider donating by clicking here and pulling down "Thomas and Elizabeth Manuel" from the choices available. They are going to do some amazing work down there and you can be a part of it. A blessed Nativity Fast to you all and my sincere thanks in advance for your support both financial and in prayer.

Prayer for our Orthodox Missions

God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

(OCMC) - Thomas Manuel, the son of Fr. John and Presvytera Karen Manuel, grew up at the center of Church life as while his father served first as a Youth Director and later as a Priest. During his first year in college in 2007 he took a OCF REAL BREAK trip to Guatemala City, Guatemala and while there sparked a lifelong desire to serve in the mission field. After graduating from James Madison University with a dual degree in International Politics, Spanish language and a minor in Latin American Politics he went to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He graduated with his Master of Divinity in 2014, and since then he has been serving as a Pastoral Assistant and Youth Director of the Annunciation Cathedral in Norfolk, Virginia.

Elizabeth Manuel, daughter of Stavroula Marshall, is a native of Norfolk, Virginia and grew up going to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2013 with a degree in Psychology, and is currently working as a Special Education Teacher at a local high school. Shortly after graduating college she felt called to the mission field and this was affirmed during a short-term trip to Guatemala in 2015. She is very active in her Church community as she serves as her parish OCMC Ambassador, teaches Sunday School, sings in the choir, works at the local Orthodox Christian Summer Camp as a co-director and generally assists in the many youth ministry programs.

Thomas and Elizabeth met in the summer of 2014 at Annunciation Cathedral in Norfolk. They were engaged in the spring of 2016 and married in January 2017. Serving as long-term missionaries has been a desire of both of them for many years and they are excited to be able to share this ministry together.

Since 2010 several thousand of the Mayan people in Guatemala have been coming into the church through the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico. The Orthodox Church is now facing a challenge on how to serve the thousands of native people. There is only a small handful of priests available to provide for the people as well as a team of OCMC missionaries to aid in training future priests and skilled lay leaders. Thomas and Elizabeth are thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team down in Guatemala.

They have just begun raising support for their mission and hope to depart for the field at the end of the Summer 2018. They will mostly be visiting parishes in and around Virginia, North Carolina, and in the Mid-Atlantic region. To contact them and to see where they will be visiting, email them at Please consider becoming a part of their mission team by supporting them with your prayers and your monthly donations.

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