Dear Friends of the Mission,
Christ be with us all! I feel greatly honored to contact the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity in order to express my sincere gratitude for the support you have given to our new Diocese, which actually promotes the spirit of brotherhood and Orthodoxy that exists between us.
The Lord continues to work wonders in our new diocese. Not at the fast rate one would expect of course, but we have already gone a long way. I will mention some of our achievements. We have completed 90% of our office construction. Fortunately, we no longer have to pay rents as we have already moved into our new offices.
With the blessings of our Patriarch, we have got a monastery dedicated to St. Cleopatra, and soon Saint Anthony’s monastery is going to be completed. We already have five nuns.
Finally, we managed to get a car to visit the far reaches of our diocese. This enabled us to perform several baptisms and church inaugurations. As regards drillings, we have purchased a good drilling rig.
We are currently building the St. Athanasius Middle School at Nandi, which has about 140 students. It is a building that belongs to the Sts. Paul and Dionysius parish, the first Orthodox Church in the Busia district. In our schools we were running a feeding program for poor children, but for the time being we have stopped it due to lack of funds. Unfortunately, our education support program is not going well as we have many children and young people whose education has been discontinued due to lack of funding. We also made a lot of ecclesiastical gatherings, in which we taught them about Orthodoxy.
Unfortunately, we still have many more problems to deal with and we need your prayers as well as any other form of assistance. Nevertheless, it gives us a great joy to know that there are many people who still pray in the province and that the number of our parish communities is growing! Now we have about 300 parishes, half of which have permanent buildings. We need about 10,000 euro for a simple, plain Orthodox church that holds 50 people and about 5,000 euro for the completion of each incomplete church.
Then, we have the Saint Tabitha Orphanage, for which I have a dream: to see it growing, to see all the children there have food, clothing and uninterrupted education. The amount of money required for each child is about €1 a day.
Another challenge that we have to face is the stipend of our priests. We would like to be able to pay them with at least € 190 monthly, but so far we haven’t got the luxury to give them even € 50. Bear in mind that we have 110 clerics in our diocese.
This year, I hope, God willing, to have the construction of the classrooms at St. Athanasius School completed so that next year we can go on with the construction of the next school. We need three classrooms, which will cost 1,800 euro each.
I also want to share with you, my beloved brethren, the miracles that our Orthodoxy works in our continent. In our diocese the people are flocking into our churches. To my great surprise, many people have embraced monasticism.
This good news is partly due to your own help, this is why I share some of our anxieties with you, since I know that with your wisdom, guidance and prayer we will overcome the difficulties in the years to come, and thus, the light of Orthodoxy will shine in all the corners of the world, especially in Kisumu.
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart, brethren, for your unconditional love and support. I particularly want to express my sincere gratitude to all the Greeks who help spread our honored faith in Africa. We all thank you wholeheartedly because you have changed our lives here in Africa, despite all the difficulties you have to face in your own country. Thank you for standing by our side, not only by providing us with material assistance but also through prayer and companionship.
Please remember us in your prayers, especially me, the unworthy Shepherd of the Holy Diocese of Kisumu and all Western Kenya. May the blessings of our Lord be with you.
† Bishop Athanasios of Kisumu