The seminary community experienced a taste of Africa this month—literally! Three seminarians at St. Vladimir’s Seminary—two from Nigeria and one from Uganda—cooked up an African meal March 7 to help raise funds for an upcoming mission trip to Uganda.
Nine students from St Vladimir's will be participating in a mission trip to that country May 21 to June 3, 2018. The trip is sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).
Third-year seminarian Deacon Simon Menya, who helped cook up the African meal, will be joining the team traveling to his home country.
“We brought Africa closer to everyone here, and it was a special food during Lent for many who got to eat it,” he said. “I got a lot of good comments saying, ‘Dn. Simon, those beans were really good, and you should be cooking them every day during Lent here at the seminary!’”
While the special Lenten meal was an occasion to celebrate the St. Vladimir’s African seminarians, it also brought to mind the need for continued Orthodox Christian outreach to Uganda and many other countries.
“This will be life-changing in many ways for both the seminarians and the people of Uganda,” added Dn. Simon. “[Uganda is] a place that suffered from twenty-four years of civil war, and people have all sorts of wounds inside them. These wounds needs spiritual words and words of comfort, love, and care to heal, and already priests and parishioners [in Uganda] are so happy and waiting to learn more about God from their brothers and sisters from another part of the world.”
“We hope to be bearers of Christ's love in all our interactions, and hope to learn more about missions and evangelism on this trip,” explained Priest Christopher Moore, another third-year seminarian, who is helping to organize the trip as leader of the student-run St. Innocent Mission Society.
Fr. Christopher, Dn. Simon, and the other members of the mission team plan to offer teaching sessions in six different locations, both in the capital city of Kampala and in northern Uganda, on topics including prayer, the sacraments, evangelism, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Donations received from the African Meal Fundraiser will help offset costs for the mission trip, and will also be used for gifts the team hopes to offer to parish communities in Uganda.