It was truly a blessed day. After a long distance catechumenate that lasted over a year and a half, Leah Tindell entered the holy Orthodox Church as Mary (Magdalene). In the kind of wonderful (apparent) coincidence that I’m finding comes with being Orthodox, the parish and people that really brought Mary to this point were less than an hour’s drive from the home and parish we left in Oregon.
Fr. Stephen and Matushka Mona Soot from St. Anne’s in Corvallis loved and nurtured her into the Faith. Imagine trying to study, absorb, and become Orthodox 3.5 hrs. from Oklahoma City and the nearest Orthodox parish and Orthodox Christian. Her journey is more than impressive – it’s inspiring. And not just her tenacity and love for the Church, but the faithfulness of those who were (and remain) there to answer her questions, reassure her and demonstrate the Orthodox phronoma in the only way it can be – through an open and transparent life and love. Talking even briefly with Mary about her Orthodox journey you’ll learn she would not have arrived here today without her relationship with Mat. Mona in particular.
The other wonderful “coincidence” in this story is the baptismal gown. I had sent her some ideas and sources for baptismal gowns some weeks ago but it turned out someone at St. Anne’s had volunteered to make her one. I can’t hardly express how much this moved her. It completely reinforced the love only an Orthodox parish can demonstrate. It turns out the seamstress is an old friend of ours (Linda-Elizabeth Martin) from Holy Apostles in Oregon.
Why do these things still amaze me? A mission in Western Oklahoma with about nine people and one of them has a baptismal gown made by an old friend of ours, (neither of us knowing the other’s connection to Mary), from the maybe 50 member mission in Oregon we were all part of several years ago…It seems to be just part of being Orthodox for a while.
The other great blessing of the day was the sacrifice and service offered to us by Fr. Michael and his parishioners Thomas and Brigid. Driving 4.5 hrs. from the Sherman-Denison area of TX (near Dallas) and dedicating two days of time to be with us and serve…It made it even more special.
A wonderful day at the end of a wonderful summer. Other than Bev the only one who can appreciate this summer as much as me is Joel Wilson – the one who worked with me to establish the mission…Without he and Bev this summer wouldn’t have ended with the western half of the state of Oklahoma now having an Orthodox presence – and worship – where none existed.