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Mission Annual Report January 2012

Michaelyn Sloan

Looking for an alternative program here in the United States – for both economic as well as safety purposes, Lee Kopulos proposed that we consider the Young Orthodox Christian Mission Adventures (YOCAMA) program. On February 20th, Ann Salvator, Founder and Director of YOCAMA, visited our parish and presented an informational program on opportunities for involvement through summer trips to two different Indian reservations. Eight adults and seven teens committed to the program with two participants traveling to the Navajo Indian tribe in New Mexico in June and the other 13 going to the Blackfeet Indian Tribe in Montana in July. Prior to the summer trips team members assisted the previous year’s Project Mexico mission group members with a bake sale to benefit the boys’ orphanage at the Project Mexico compound in Mexico, and hosted a May 15 ?Hoe-Down? Dinner after the Liturgy to raise funds and awareness for YOCAMA. Once again, St. Luke parishioners generously gave not only monetary donations but also brand new school supplies, and both new and used winter clothing for team members to distribute to the two Indian tribes. Several team members also solicited donations outside the parish community to supplement the trips that our Church Board was in large part funding. On June 26 Father Andrew commissioned and blessed the missionaries after Liturgy in anticipation of their summer work. On July 15, the Hansen family hosted a pizza party at their home during which time the New Mexico participants – having just returned – shared their experiences and prepared the Montana participants for what lay ahead. In November Ann Salvator returned to our parish for a YOCAMA reunion with the summer missionaries.

The year was capped off with a fund-raiser in December through Equal Exchange – a program that benefits local farmers and nets our mission team funds for the 2012 trips. 2012 Mission options for St. Luke parishioners and their friends include YOCAMA trips to Montana (June), New Mexico (July) and Project Mexico (August) – this later program coordinated by St. Helen and Constantine Greek Orthodox Church.