July Update

This is a copy of the email that was just sent out to my network of friends, family and supporters.  If you’re not on the list and would like to be, please let me know!

Dear friends,

Utukufu kwa Yesu Kristo!  Glory to Jesus Christ!

It’s been great to hear from many of you recently, and I look forward to seeing a lot of y’all in the coming months.  The rest of this year is going to be busy.  For the summer I am teaching reading courses for the Institute of Reading Development throughout southwest Florida.  The first half of the summer I taught on Sundays, but starting today my weekends are free.

All summer I’ve been living in Fort Myers, FL with my parents who run the guest house at ECHO ( http://www.echonet.org ), a non-profit that supports agricultural development around the world.  The community here is wonderful, and we have terribly interesting international visitors as house- or dinner-guests several times a week.  But next month, Mom and Dad move to Kenya and I hit the road.  So the house is a frenzy of packing, and my already-busy life is starting to fill up with goodbyes.  Come August 20th I’ll officially be a nomad.

That nomadic life will take me to a different parish each week through October.  Today I was invited to St. Philip Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.  It’s a fairly young community with a strong missionary vocation in the north Tampa area.  I’ve known St. Philip for a few years, since they provided a great deal of support in organizing the very first pan-Orthodox Florida young adults’ retreat, at which Fr. Joseph was one of our speakers.  It was an honor and an encouragement to be among the faithful of St. Philip as I began the next phase of my assignment.

This phase– raising support– will be gearing up in the next five weeks as I continue to teach full-time and travel to Florida parishes on some weekends.  Come mid-August, support-raising will become full-time in a trek up to Cincinnati and then Southern California.  It’s both a blessing and a curse of the missionary-kid upbringing that my network of dear friends and family are scattered all over the place, rather than concentrated in a single area.  But I’m very, very excited about the coming travels.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  Don’t stop praying– please!  Thank you for your friendship.  It means more than I can say.  And thank you for your financial support.  As of the end of June, my missionary account has 19% of the funds necessary to cover the first year of ministry.  Considering the minimal fundraising I’ve done since April, it’s an encouraging statistic.  But in order for me to start work in Tanzania at the beginning of 2010, my first year needs to be 100% funded by the end of October.  Commitments to regular monthly support are a great blessing– you’d be amazed at how quickly $500, $100, $50, or even $5 given faithfully each month can add up.

Pledges and donations can be made online at http://www.ocmc.org/missionaries/view_missionary.aspx?MissionaryId=10 (click on “Support This Missionary Work”) or via the mail (check made out to OCMC with “Hargrave” in the memo line, sent to Orthodox Christian Mission Center, P.O. Pox 4319, St. Augustine, FL 32085-4319 )

There are other ways that you can help.

The first, and by far the most important, is to continue lifting me up to God in your daily prayers.

Second is to provide hospitality while I’m on the road.  I’m a pretty low-maintenance guy– a patch of floor to sleep on and a cup of coffee in the morning is about all it takes to keep me going.  If you’re able to put me up for a night or two when I’m in your neck of the woods, please let me know.  My itinerary is below.

Third, stay in touch!  I’d love to arrange a time to meet with you when I’m in your area, and please feel free to get me in touch with others you know who would be interested in learning about the work of the Orthodox Church in Tanzania.  Have some friends over for dessert and coffee to hear more.  Or if  your Sunday school, Philoptochos, OCF or other group would like me to speak with them, just let me know.

Finally– God willing in November and December my work will be 100% funded and I’ll spend these last months in America doing full-time prep and training for departure.  I’ll need somewhere to live.  If you have a room to rent or know someone who does, be in touch.  Central or North Central Florida is preferable, but actually anywhere on the continent would work.

Here’s the confirmed itinerary for the coming months:

Thursday, July 23 – OCA Diocese of the South Assembly in Atlanta, GA
Sunday, July 26 – Christ the Savior in Brooksville, FL
Sunday, August 9 – St. Anne in Knoxville, TN
Sunday, August 16 – St. John the Baptist in Tampa, FL
Sunday, August 30 – St. Justin Martyr in Jacksonville, FL
Sunday, Sept 6 – Holy Ascension in Charleston, SC
Sunday, Sept 13 – St. Philothea in Athens, GA
Sunday, Sept 20 – Annunciation in Winston-Salem, NC
Sunday, Sept 27 – St. Athanasius in Lexington, KY
Sunday, Oct 4 – TBD (Louisville – Cincinnati – Indianapolis area)
Sunday, Oct 11 – TBD (Louisville – Cincinnati – Indianapolis area)
Sunday, Oct 18 – TBD (Southern California)
Sunday, Oct 25 – St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Diego, CA
Sunday, Nov 1 – TBD (possibly Southern California or Denver, CO area)

Thank you again for your friendship and support.  I thank God for you every day.  Be in touch!

By your prayers,

James Hargrave

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