I have just returned from a wonderful evening together with a fellow Orthodox Christian. Yesterday I received an email from Alexandros Lordos. Alexandros is from Cyprus and is in Nepal for only 1 week on a short work project here in Kathmandu (he teaches at one of the universities in Cyprus) . I had been referred to him by the fathers of the Machairas monastery in Cyprus. Some years ago I was in Cyprus to give talks on evangelism and mission work and visited the monastery. For those of you who have read the book “The Mountain Silence” you will be familiar with Metropolitan Athanasios (in the book he is called “Maximos”). Metropolitan Athanasios is responsible for having renewed the Machairas monastery when he returned to Cyprus from Mt. Athos. The fathers gave me such a warm reception and after speaking with them for a time, as one they all walked me and Presbytera Marilyn and my sister Xenia to our car. We were so blessed by their love and hospitality that we didn’t want to part from them and I have longed to return to them for a longer visit.
So through their kindness, Alexander was able to contact me here and we arranged to meet this evening at Cheenos Cafe. I typically eat at Cheenos about once a month as a treat. I have always gone in the afternoon to Cheenos so this was the first time to eat dinner there. After being seated at our table outdoors and talking for a bit, I glanced around and saw that sitting at a nearby table was my fellow American, Fr. Cap Miller. Fr. Cap is a Jesuit priest here in KTM and has lived here for over 50 years. He is in his 80’s now yet amazingly energetic. I went to the table to greet him (he had just returned from a visit to the USA) and he introduced me to his two companions, Fr. Lawrence, a priest from India, and Charles, a layman from the West. When I returned to our table, Alexandros jokingly said “so you’re meeting people you know here. You’re part of the local scene!” Ha.
Words can’t express what a blessing it was to have a couple of hours with my fellow Orthodox believer. Even though we were meeting for the first time, and although we come from different countries, nevertheless we immediately felt our unity in Faith and the love of Christ. The time with Alexandros made clear to me just how starved I am for Orthodox Christian fellowship. I realize as well that for this mission to be established and survive, there has to be a team of Orthodox here even if only on a short term revolving basis.
So both Alexandros and I are determined to try to help others catch the vision of participating in mission work here in Nepal. We would like people to think about the amazing opportunity of being a part of establishing the first Orthodox church in a Hindu nation. It is not often that one can be a part of establishing the Orthodox Church for the first time in a country. Fr. Daniel Byantoro has accomplished such a work in Indonesia. More recently the first Orthodox churches have been established in Pakistan. We now have the opportunity to do the same here in Nepal. It is not something I can do alone. As our Lord Jesus exhorted his Apostles, “Pray the Lord of the harvest that he would send workers into the harvest.” – Fr. S.