What if?

Recently Marilyn and I went to Boudhnath, just outside the center of Kathmandu.  Bouddha is the center of Tibetan monasticism in the Kathmandu valley.  Over the decades, more than 50 Buddhist monasteries have been established there.  Many families of Tibetan refugees have settled around the monasteries in order to be close to their guru and to one another.  It is now a large thriving area; a major place of pilgrimage, a popular tourist attraction, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Looking back to the entrance to Boudha.

Looking back to the entrance to Boudha.

We went there to meet up with an acquaintance of mine, named Daxon.  I first met Daxon on the flight from Seoul to Kathmandu last August.  He was sitting behind me and just before take off he introduced himself to me.  Very quickly he told me that he was from Kentucky, had been a Buddhist for nearly 30 years now, but had there been an Orthodox Church in his hometown, he would have become Orthodox and (quoting Daxon) “I would probably be an Orthodox priest today.”  That was quite an introduction!  Later we exchanged email addresses and finally, we met up again at a restaurant in Bodhnath near the great Buddhist stupa (shrine).

The stupa with the "eyes of Buddha."

The stupa with the “eyes of Buddha.”

When we met on the plane, Daxon was on his way to Kathmandu to study at a Buddhist college in one of the major monasteries in Bodhnath.  I had myself once considered doing language studies there.  During our recent visit, Daxon shared more of his interest and positive impression of Orthodoxy and expressed his desire to learn more from me while he is here for the next 2 or 3 years.

With Daxon near the stupa.

With Daxon near the stupa.

Our conversation revealed him to be a serious young man, very bright, very informed about the spiritual nature of man, the delusions, superficiality and secularism of the Western world and of Western Christianity, especially Protestantism.  It seemed clear to me that Daxon would have made a very good Orthodox priest.

What if there had been an Orthodox church in his hometown?  How many hundreds or thousands of others are there like Daxon in America, who but for the want of an Orthodox parish nearby, would have become Orthodox Christians?

It is still true that the fields are white for the harvest, but the laborers are few.  There is a great need for missionaries, for church planters, and not simply in “foreign” countries.  America is still very much a mission field with very few Orthodox parishes available to the average American.

Pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send laborers into His harvest! – Fr.S.

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2 Responses to What if?

  1. fr. silouan says:

    Thank You Father for once again sending a very enlightening and encouraging message. May God grant us holy and committed clergy at every level to serve His holy church. By your prayers, fr. silouan

  2. Xenia Yohannan says:

    Spot On!
    You were the one that first told me, “Eastern Orthodoxy is the best kept secret in America.”
    I didn’t understand what you meant when you said that because I wasn’t Orthodox yet, and in my ignorance all I knew was that my dear brother and his family had decided to convert to some foreign type religion, and I needed to know why.
    Glory to God for all things!

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